Report: FCC chair to push for complete repeal of net neutrality

Report: FCC chair to push for complete repeal of net neutrality
© Greg Nash

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai will reportedly seek to completely repeal net neutrality rules put in place under former President Obama, according to a Monday report.

Sources close to the matter tell Politico that Pai will seek to completely remove the net neutrality rules, which reclassified internet service providers (ISPs) as telecommunications companies and required them to treat all web traffic equally.

The FCC will reportedly vote on the plan in December, according to Politico.

Pai and other Republicans have argued the Obama-era FCC overstepped its authority with the regulations by reclassifying the ISPs as common carriers.

The FCC held a months-long open comment period on its proposal to repeal the rules after facing massive backlash after releasing its initial proposal in April.

ADVERTISEMENT

The agency received millions of comments during the period thanks in large part to the efforts of comedian John Oliver, who urged viewers of his HBO show “Last Week Tonight” to show their support for keeping the net neutrality rules.

Broadband companies praised Pai’s original proposal, which would remove the “common carrier” classification from internet providers and end the FCC’s authority to regulate them.

"We applaud FCC Chairman Pai's initiative to remove this stifling regulatory cloud over the internet,” AT&T said in a blog post. “Businesses large and small will have a clearer path to invest more in our nation's broadband infrastructure under Chairman Pai's leadership.”

Republicans in Congress also praised the proposal and the White House said in July that it supported the FCC’s plan to end the Obama-era rules.

Democrats have blasted the FCC’s proposed changes.

“Gutting these rules robs Americans of protections that preserve their access to the open and free internet,” Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonOvernight Health Care: Ryan's office warns he wasn't part of ObamaCare deal | House conservatives push for mandate repeal in final tax bill | Dem wants probe into CVS-Aetna merger Ryan's office warning he wasn't part of deal on ObamaCare: source Overnight Health Care: Funding bill could provide help for children's health program | Questions for CVS-Aetna deal | Collins doubles funding ask for ObamaCare bill MORE (D-Fla.), the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, said in a statement in April.

“Depriving the FCC of its ongoing, forward-looking oversight of the broadband industry amounts to a dereliction of duty at a time when guaranteeing an open internet is more critical than ever.”