FCC Chairman Ajit Pai made an appearance at this year's Mobile World Congress and spoke about his repeal of Title II Net Neutrality regulations, among other topics, calling the current state of affairs "dumb pipes" and saying that changes would need to be made in order to support future 5G networks. Pai said that his decision to repeal those regulations was "key" to the building, implementation, and utilization of the 5G networks that carriers and telecoms plan to build and use in the very near future. According to Pai, the "light-touch" regulation style utilized up until the Obama administration put Title II Net Neutrality rules in place will allow the kind of traffic management that network purveyors will need to do in order to allow future 5G networks to be utilized to the fullest possible extent.
It is important to note that Pai indirectly addressed the concept of paid fast lanes and prioiritization, and said that "no one gets a pass," likely referring to allowing that sort of behavior to propagate as a result of Net Neutrality regulations ending. While the law technically states that companies will be free to make moves of that sort once Net Neutrality ends on April 23, Pai is adamant in his assertion that companies simply won't do that because of the implications for competition, and the fact that telecoms will be better served to deliver the best possible networks to customers, rather than placing arbitrary limits on them that could stifle innovation, result in indirect censorship, and most of all, alienate and anger customers.
Ajit Pai defending his decision to repeal Net Neutrality is no surprise, and his stated reasons are not entirely wrong. Previous arguments that Net Neutrality laws stifled network spending and outside investments proved controversial, and the decision itself was largely decried by the public. Pai's trust in the market toregulate itself is arguably misplaced, it stands to reason that when acting greedy or short-changing customers becomes the norm, a single company rebelling against that norm could force other companies' hands by stealing large quantities of business. While this worked in the cellular world to an extent when T-Mobile did it, many broadband customers in America live under a monopoly, or a near-monopoly, with less than 3 or 4 local providers available, leaving the self-regulation angle questionable. Ajit Pai is essentially wagering that companies will see it in their own best interests to continue serving customers to the best of their abilities, and only time will tell if the bet was placed correctly.