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Former chair of the Federal Communications Commission Ajit Pai ripped into plans by his former agency to reintroduce “net neutrality” regulations, saying that they were unnecessary and an “utter waste of time.”
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden’s FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said she would move toward reinstituting net neutrality guidelines that were originally instituted during the Obama administration but repealed during the Trump administration. In a statement sent to The Daily Wire, Pai, who introduced the repeal of “net neutrality” regulations, said that the move was prompted by leftist activists and Big Tech companies.
“The FCC leadership’s decision to revisit so-called ‘net neutrality’ regulations is a complete and utter waste of time. Half a decade ago, we were promised that the end of the Internet was upon us, that broadband providers would block and throttle content, and that consumers would be harmed,” he told The Daily Wire.
Net neutrality regulations have been billed as necessary to make sure that internet service providers (ISPs) did not move to throttle websites that may act as competitors and end paid prioritization. Critics of the regulations warn that they give the government too much power over the internet, especially at a time when the Biden administration has been reprimanded by courts over its work with social media companies to censor information on COVID.
“Today, consumers enjoy higher broadband speeds than ever. More of them than ever before have access to high-speed Internet. They have more options and better prices. And the only entities blocking and throttling what they see and say online are the same Big Tech companies that badgered the Obama FCC into imposing these regulations in the first place,” Pai said.
During her announcement, Rosenworcel said that “net neutrality” regulations were needed to ensure that the internet is “fast, open, and fair.” She took aim at the Pai-led FCC, claiming that it was “extreme” and “on the wrong side of history” when it repealed previous “net neutrality” regulations.
In his statement, Pai criticized the FCC for focusing on net neutrality instead of working on improving broadband availability or decreasing robocalls.
“It’s unfortunate that almost 1,000 days into the Biden Administration, FCC leadership can’t come up with an accurate map of broadband availability, hasn’t held a single spectrum auction of its own, hasn’t improved Wi-Fi, and hasn’t stemmed the increasing waves of robocalls overwhelming consumers — but is determined to waste enormous time and effort on an issue that matters only to left-wing Beltway activists, Big Tech, and a few (alleged) comedians,” he said.
The decision to reintroduce the regulations came just weeks after the Senate voted to confirm Anna Gomez, a Biden appointee, to the FCC. The vote now gives Democrats a 3-2 majority on the agency. The agency is expected vote next month on the proposed regulations.
The end of net neutrality regulations in 2017 was met with great concern by media outlets and Democrats, who claimed that the repeal of the regulations would destroy the internet. A CNN headline claimed that the vote to end net neutrality would “end the internet as we know it” while Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said it would be a “road to digital serfdom.”
“Six years ago, we were told by net neutrality activists, Senate Democrats, and certain media outlets that the Internet would end without so-called ‘net neutrality.’ The hysterical predictions never came to pass, and the Internet has thrived without government control — speeds are up, prices are down relative to inflation, and more Americans have access thanks to new network deployments,” Evan Swarztrauber, a former policy advisor to FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr and Pai, told The Daily Wire.
Swarztrauber added that many of the companies supporting net neutrality policies had pushed censorship themselves.
“And ironically, it’s the Big Tech companies who pushed net neutrality, like Google and Apple, that have been blocking and throttling Americans’ access to information — not Internet service providers,” he said.