Ryan praises FCC chief's plans to roll back net neutrality

Ryan praises FCC chief's plans to roll back net neutrality
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Speaker of the House Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE (R-Wisc.) announced his support Wednesday for Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai's plan to roll back net neutrality rules.

“Chairman Pai's announcement that the FCC will roll back these regulations is welcome news,” Ryan said in a statement. “Congress is committed to working with the Trump administration to enact policies that protect consumers and ensure Americans have access to a free and open internet."

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Earlier on Wednesday, Pai announced that he would begin the process of reversing net neutrality rules, formally known as the Open Internet Order. Pai's plan aims to cede regulatory jurisdiction of broadband providers back to the Federal Trade Commission.

In his statement, the House Speaker also criticized the Obama-era net neutrality rules that aimed to created a level playing field for companies competing on the internet by requiring internet service providers to treat all data traffic equally.

“The internet is evidence of the unparalleled heights that a true free market can reach,” Ryan said. “But those heights have been threatened by federal regulations that set a dangerous precedent by focusing on controlling the internet rather than protecting consumers.

Other top Republicans backed Pai’s proposal as well.

“We have long said that imposing a Depression-era, utility-style regulatory structure onto the internet was the wrong approach, and we applaud Chairman Pai’s efforts to roll back these misguided regulations," Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman John Thune(R-S.D.), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), Senate Communications, Technology and the Internet Subcommittee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

So far, sentiment regarding Pai’s proposal has been largely divided down party lines. 

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) who represents Silicon Valley, echoed the views of many California tech giants when he criticized Pai's net neutrality proposal.

“Chairman Pai needs to cease his endless assault on internet freedom and net neutrality,” Khanna said. “This proposal would concentrate power to a handful of internet service providers and hinder innovation for both startups and consumers.”