April 25, 2017
“If Ajit Pai thinks that destroying net neutrality is going to be easy, he has another thing coming.”
President Trump’s top telecom regulator, Republican Ajit Pai, is preparing an assault on US rules protecting net neutrality, the principle that all internet content should be treated equally, setting the stage for what’s likely to be a fierce battle with public interest advocates over the future of internet freedom.
Pai, who was chosen by Trump to lead the Federal Communications Commission in January, is expected to lay out his strategy to dismantle the agency’s landmark 2015 net neutrality policy on Wednesday, according to multiple reports. A former Verizon lawyer, Pai vehemently opposes the FCC’s rules, which he regards as a “mistake.”
If Pai succeeds, he will deliver yet another major gift to broadband companies like AT&T and Verizon. These billion-dollar corporate giants vehemently oppose the FCC’s policy, in part because it ensures that they can’t prioritize their own online services, discriminate against rival offerings, or sell internet “fast lanes” to the highest bidder. The broadband industry has spent millions of dollars fighting the rules at the FCC, in federal court, and in the halls of Congress.
Open internet advocates argue that the FCC’s net neutrality policy is essential for US economic growth, online innovation, civic empowerment, and digital free speech. And they’re preparing to mobilize a grassroots movement to resist any effort by Pai or Republican lawmakers to dismantle net neutrality protections.