FCC chairman ramps up defense of net
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[September 22, 2018]
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With a federal
appeals court preparing to consider the Trump administration's reversal
of Obama-era U.S. net neutrality regulations, the chairman of the
Federal Communications Commission is ramping up his defense of the
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has this month also criticized California's
legislature for approving a state measure to guarantee open internet
access and said "bad behavior" on the part of internet service providers
(ISPs) could be prevented by the FCC's new transparency requirements.
The FCC voted 3-2 in December to reverse the Obama era rules that barred
internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic or
offering paid fast lanes, also known as paid prioritization. FCC repeal
of the 2015 net neutrality rules was a win for ISPs Comcast Corp, AT&T
Inc and Verizon Communications Inc, whose practices faced significant
In August, 22 states and a coalition of trade groups representing
companies including Alphabet Inc, Facebook Inc and Amazon.com Inc urged
a federal appeals court to reinstate the rules.
The court has not yet scheduled oral arguments.
The U.S. Senate voted in May to reinstate the net neutrality rules, but
the measure is unlikely to be approved by the House of Representatives
and the White House also opposes it.
Under President Donald Trump, the FCC handed ISPs sweeping new powers to
recast how Americans use the internet, as long as they disclose changes.
The new rules took effect in June but providers have made no changes in
Pai said Thursday "if an ISP starts blocking lawful content, everyone
will know. If an ISP starts throttling services based on the nature of
the content, everyone will know. This is a powerful disincentive for bad
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Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Ajit Pai speaks
at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National
Harbor, Maryland, U.S., February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua
Last December, the FCC's net neutrality repeal sought to preempt
state internet rules. Pai criticized California's state legislature
for approving net neutrality but Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat,
has not yet disclosed a position on the measure and has until Sept.
30 to decide whether to sign it.
Pai called California's legislation "a radical, anti-consumer
Internet regulation bill that would impose restrictions even more
burdensome than those adopted by the FCC in 2015."
California State Senator Scott Wiener, one of the bill's sponsors,
responded that Pai "abdicated his responsibility to ensure an open
internet ... Unlike Pai's FCC, California isn't run by the big
telecom and cable companies."
On Thursday, Pai criticized big tech companies including Twitter and
Google, as "completely unregulated, which is fine, except that
they've also been badgering the FCC and the federal government to
heavily regulate their rivals."
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Dave Gregorio)
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