FCC Commissioner Clyburn takes down Chairman’s net neutrality doom and gloom

Back in 2015, then-Commissioner of the FCC Ajit Pai submitted a lengthy paper detailing his reasons for voting against the incoming net neutrality rules. He made a lot of predictions about harm those rules would cause — predictions that, as fellow Commissioner Clyburn points out today, pretty much all failed to come true.

In a brief but to-the-point document posted to the FCC website, she lists a number of the Chairman’s apocalyptic predictions for how the new rules would allow price regulation, let the FCC tell ISPs what their service offerings should be and of course eventually be struck down by the courts.

Needless to say, none of that happened. Here are a few examples:

Chairman Pai: Courts will not countenance this unlawful power grab.
False. The D.C. Circuit twice upheld the 2015 Order and rejected all of the statutory interpretation arguments Chairman Pai raised in his dissent (which he raises again in the draft Destroying Internet Freedom Order).

Chairman Pai: If an ISP wants to follow in the footsteps of Google Fiber and enter the market incrementally, the FCC may say no.
False. No broadband entry regulation has been imposed by the FCC.

Chairman Pai: The FCC’s forbearance from multiple provisions of Title II and regulations is temporary.
False. The FCC has not undone any forbearance granted in the Order.

Chairman Pai: There will be new broadband universal service fees assessed.
False. No new broadband universal service fees have been assessed.

Chairman Pai: Decisions about network architecture and design will no longer be in the hands of engineers but bureaucrats and lawyers.
False. Decisions about network architecture and design have remained firmly in the hands of
engineers. No FCC action has ever mandated Internet network design.

Ironically, that last prediction did in fact come true in a way, though not the way he expected. Pai’s own Restoring Internet Freedom order ignored hundreds of engineers who explained on the record that the bureaucrats and lawyers who wrote it fundamentally misunderstand network architecture and design.

You can read the rest of Commissioner Clyburn’s debunkings here, and our interview with her here.