The Federal Communications Commission will drive a stake through its own net neutrality rules roughly this time next month, if Chairman Ajit Pai gets his way. Sources at Bloomberg and Reuters say the FCC’s head honcho will showcase plans next week for a vote to repeal a 2015 order regulating web traffic throttling.
If Pai gets his way, the vote will go down just ahead of winter break, during the FCC’s monthly meeting on December 14 — a time of year when much of the public is likely to be preoccupied with other seasonal concerns. The FCC has declined comment on the reports.
Net Neutrality has, of course, long been a thorn in the Trump-designated chairman’s side. Back in January at his first FCC meeting as chairman, Pai addressed said, “I think the issue is pretty simple. I favor a free and open Internet and I oppose Title II. That’s pretty much all I can say about that topic.”
He’s since chalked the Obama-era ruling up to “politics,” and argued that the rules are hampering broadband providers like Comcast and AT&T, while putting investments and jobs at risk. In May, the FCC held a 2-1 vote to advance the plans to rescind the order, setting things up for a potential final vote at the end of the year.
Pai’s multi-pronged attack on the ruling have drawn criticism from top tech companies including Alphabet, Facebook and Amazon and prompted more than 22 million comments during a public reaction period.
Just today, the FCC voted 3-2 to relax rules that limit broadcast and print media ownership in a single market — a decision that could leave the door open for a merger between Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media. Pai referred to the decision as, “dragging the broadcast rules into the digital age.”
Those interested in adding their name to the 22 million or so comments about the future of net neutrality can still do so on the FCC’s site.