FCC Head Ajit Pai Details Pending Net Neutrality Proposal

Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Ajit Pai will be revealing his Notice Of Proposed Rulemaking to dismantle the Title II Net Neutrality rules enacted under the former Chairman Tom Wheeler later today, and in the meantime, the government official released a document that essentially distills the purpose of his proposal and how he wants the landscape of broadband and telecom regulations to look. In this document, Pai calls for a return to the far more lax regulation that the telecom world saw before the introduction of the existing net neutrality rules in 2015. He says that his proposal will help bring competition and innovation back to the field by encouraging investment, which will help create jobs. He also says that this regulatory framework will help protect consumer privacy by giving the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the authority over telecoms that they once held.

Pai's Notice Of Proposed Rulemaking not only looks to roll back Title II regulations but also wants to abolish the Internet Conduct Standard created by the FCC in 2015, which gave the FCC the bulk of the authority to regulate and police ISPs. Pai's proposal does not seem to lay out any regulatory framework in net neutrality's place meant to keep ISPs in line or give the FCC any authority to regulate them. Instead, they will be returned directly to the "light touch" framework present before 2015, with ISPs mostly self-regulating in the name of competition and providing a better product and experience for the customer.

In addition to announcing his intent to lay down a Notice Of Proposed Rulemaking, Pai wrote that Title II regulations were broken and outdated the minute that they were put in place, describing them as the very threats that they were meant to protect against. The Title II regulations that net neutrality rules brought to the telecom world were originally created to manage Ma Bell's monopoly in the telephone world during the 1930s, and according to Pai, they are what caused investment in the telecom world to decline. Pai did some research of his own and spoke to telecoms affected by the rules, including smaller ones, and he found that investment declined to the tune of around $5 billion between 2014 and 2016, which made it hard for many telecoms to secure outside funding, and hurt or completely killed the expansion efforts of many smaller players. Pai's research led him to believe that Title II regulation had effectively cost the U.S. somewhere between 75,000 to 100,000 jobs since being enacted.

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