FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has announced that he has drafted up a proposal to get rid of Title II Net Neutrality in its current form, and will be revealing the full text for public review on Thursday. Pai called the current rules “heavy handed,” saying that they stifle innovation and competition among broadband providers, and said that his proposal will call for a return to the “light touch” way of regulating telecoms and related providers that was the norm up until the introduction of Net Neutrality. After the full text is revealed, the entire FCC will get to vote on them on May 18th. Should the proposal get past that point, it will be opened up for public comment before the FCC takes a final vote on any modifications and, presumably, enacts the new laws.
Pai and other FCC bigwigs in the current administration had expressed a distaste for the Obama era’s policies and former Commissioner Tom Wheeler’s way of doing things, with Net Neutrality being a particularly often-scorned target. The FCC met up with telecoms, internet companies, cable providers, and other such figures in the past few weeks to discuss how to approach the problems that they saw with the current Net Neutrality rules. Pai’s revelation makes it clear that their favored approach is to get rid of the rules entirely, and likely replace them with something much more favorable for providers. Pai has yet to reveal exactly how the FCC and other government bodies would approach the regulation of telecoms and related entities if Net Neutrality were to be repealed, and has proposed things like voluntary compliance with set rules in the past.
In his speech on the new proposal, Pai said that the current rules were at least partially responsible for a dip in investments in the broadband world shortly after they were enacted, among other things. Pai has caught some flack for his strong stance against Net Neutrality, but has also garnered much support for it. The same can be said of the Republican party at large, especially since the introduction of the Trump administration and the new President’s hand-picked Cabinet, which included Pai.