Pai Reverses Obama Era Internet Power Grab

Ajit Pai
"Internet freedom, yo..." - Ajit Pai

On Thursday, Republican Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Ajit Pai, overturned the Obama Administration’s internet power grab, “Net Neutrality.” The vote to restore internet freedom fell along predictable party lines, in a 3-2 vote.

If allowed to advance, this law would have put the internet under direct regulatory control of the federal bureaucracy – this means sites like Brietbart, Daily Caller, and Independent Citizen might have become subject to bureaucratic control.

“Following detailed legal and economic analysis, as well as an extensive examination of comments from consumers and stakeholders, the Commission reversed the FCC’s 2015 heavy-handed utility-style regulation of broadband internet access service, which imposed substantial costs on the entire internet ecosystem,” FCC had said. “In place of that heavy-handed framework, the FCC is returning to the traditional light-touch framework that was in place until 2015.”

The voting had to be stopped for a security check, and the meeting rooms were re-checked following a security threat. The vote also saw opposition from those in favor of the net neutrality rule, as they engaged in a strong and fiery argument about Pai, ever since he had declared that he would be overturning the Net Neutrality rules.

John Katko, a Republican Congressman, had received a death threat on the net neutrality issue. Similarly, Chairman Pai and his family too received several death threats from Alt-Left groups, and several protests were also launched, which had elements of violence involved, especially the one that took place on the inauguration that had targeted the neighborhood where Pai lived.

The Federal Communication Commission says that the ISPs would once again be classified as an ‘information service’ under the new Title I of the Communications Act, as confirmed by the Supreme Court in a 2005 ruling. The Mobile internet services too would be taking its former place as a private mobile service by the Commission.

The FCC reported that the Net Neutrality rule had caused a lot of uncertainties about the regulation of the internet and faced a drop in investments in the broadband sector. Not just this, it also faced hindrances in innovation when the smaller ISPs were involved in the rural areas. FCC went on to share more statistics to support its argument and said that the capital expenditure in broadband, saw a drop of 5.6 percent ever since the implication of Net Neutrality, which cost approximately a little over $3.6 billion in investments.

The proposal of Pai to restore internet freedom would still require the ISPs to reveal the consumers if need be and if they attempt to block the traffic on their networks.

“The FCC’s action today has restored the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission to act when broadband providers engage in anticompetitive, unfair, or deceptive acts or practices,” the FCC said in a statement.

The voting was conducted around three weeks after chairman Pai had released his own proposal to the general public.

House Republican Conference Chair ,Cathy McMorris Rodgers, congratulated FCC and said, “I support an open internet, but there is a better way to ensure consumer protections without disrupting the free flow of information and innovation that has made it a cornerstone of the 21st Century economy. The heavy-handed rules from the Obama administration stifled investment in rural communities, like those in Eastern Washington, and created uncertainty for ISPs in meeting the requirements of those rules.”

“What I want is for everyone to come to the table to find a bipartisan, legislative solution that will protect consumers while not harming investment, innovation, and free-market principles,” she concluded.