(BIVN) – The Federal Communications Commission is taking aim at net neutrality.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has drafted a Restoring Internet Freedom Order to be voted on at the December 14 commission meeting.
Pai has been in favor repealing the regulation. In his announcement, the FCC Chairman wrote:
“For almost twenty years, the Internet thrived under the light-touch regulatory approach established by President Clinton and a Republican Congress. This bipartisan framework led the private sector to invest $1.5 trillion building communications networks throughout the United States. And it gave us an Internet economy that became the envy of the world.
“But in 2015, the prior FCC bowed to pressure from President Obama. On a party-line vote, it imposed heavy-handed, utility-style regulations upon the Internet. That decision was a mistake. It’s depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks and deterred innovation.
“Today, I have shared with my colleagues a draft order that would abandon this failed approachand return to the longstanding consensus that served consumers well for decades. Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet. Instead, the FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate.
“Additionally, as a result of my proposal, the Federal Trade Commission will once again be able to police ISPs, protect consumers, and promote competition, just as it did before 2015. Notably, my proposal will put the federal government’s most experienced privacy cop, the FTC, back on the beat to protect consumers’ online privacy.
“Speaking of transparency, when the prior FCC adopted President Obama’s heavy-handed Internet regulations, it refused to let the American people see that plan until weeks after the FCC’s vote. This time, it’ll be different. Specifically, I will publicly release my proposal to restore Internet freedom tomorrow—more than three weeks before the Commission’s December 14 vote.
“Working with my colleagues, I look forward to returning to the light-touch, market-based framework that unleashed the digital revolution and benefited consumers here and around the world.”
The Hawaii Congressional delegation is resisting the proposal.
U.S. Senator Brian Schatz is the Ranking Member of the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet. He has been sounding the alarm over Pai’s intentions since the confirmation of the FCC Chairman earlier this year.
On Tuesday, Sen. Schatz responded to Pai’s draft order:
“Since its formation, we’ve seen a free and open internet grow our economy and our imaginations. But today the FCC has threatened to end the internet as we know it. If adopted, the FCC’s plan will change the way every American gets information, watches movies, listens to music, conducts business, and talks to their families. By repealing basic net neutrality protections, the FCC is handing over full control of the internet to providers, leaving the American people with fewer choices and less access.”
Representative Tusli Gabbard has also expressed opposition to the chairman’s move. She released this statement on Tuesday:
“Yet again, Chairman Pai and the FCC are rewarding pay-to-play politics, ensuring that those with money have a seat at the table, and shutting everyone else out. Net neutrality protections ensure that the Internet remains open, fair, and equal for everyone. By dismantling these protections, we turn our backs on the most fundamental First Amendment rights of our students, entrepreneurs, innovators, small businesses, and working families, and all who rely on an open Internet to level the playing field of opportunity.
“The FCC must fulfill their responsibility to all Americans, not just big Internet Service Providers (ISPs). I urge the FCC to listen to the voices of more than 22 million public comments, including 61,707 from Hawai‘i, on net neutrality and reject this corporate attack on equality.”