Ajit Pai, Chairman of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), met with representatives of Facebook, Apple, and several other major companies from the Silicon Valley with the goal of discussing net neutrality and the current rules regulating the open Internet, Recode reports. Pai discussed the topic with former FCC chairman Kevin Martin who's now employed by Facebook, in addition to meeting with Apple's Chief Legal Officer Bruce Sewell and Cisco's Chief Executive Officer Chuck Robbins, sources with knowledge of the meeting told Recode. In a statement provided to the media earlier today, Pai confirmed his recent dealings with representatives of various tech giants in the country and said he's been asking for opinions on net neutrality and related issues from some of the top experts in the field.
The FCC Chairman also confirmed that his stances on net neutrality haven't changed as he still opposes a portion of the agency's current rulebook that defines Internet service providers like utility services, thus regulating them in a manner that forces them to treat all Internet traffic equally. Regardless, Pai once again labeled himself as a proponent of open Internet principles while speaking to reporters on Friday, but implied that the existing rules regulating net neutrality that were adopted by the FCC under the former Obama administration will be revoked in the near future. Pai is currently in the process of considering ways in which those rules could be replaced, the FCC Chairman said today, but didn't provide more details on the matter.
Regardless, the Trump-appointed Commissioner previously revealed one specific alternative to the current net neutrality rules, as industry sources said the FCC Chairman asked the telecom giants in the country to willingly adopt many open Internet principles that are currently being enforced by the federal agency. Pai is reportedly asking Internet providers to adopt most of the same principles in their terms of service, though critics of that approach argue that it's seemingly no different to the existing rules with the exception of not being legally binding and enforceable. On the other hand, Pai is advocating for free market principles and believes that the market will be able to regulate itself, i.e. punish broadband and wireless Internet providers that end up violating open Internet principles.