The only recently formally established net neutrality rules may soon come up on the chopping block.
Net neutrality can be summarized quite simply. When it is enforced — as is the case now because of regulations put in place by the Obama administration — internet service providers are forbidden from favoring certain web content over other content in terms of how fast access to that content is provided.
In the absence of net neutrality rules being officially in place, as has been the case at some points throughout recent history, some interests with content on the web have paid premiums to internet service providers for their content to be provided to consumers on a “fast lane,” as it’s termed.
Now, however, the rules designed to prevent online discrimination may soon come up on the chopping block because of the man who the new president has tapped to head the Federal Communications Commission.
Trump officially announced his pick for the role of FCC Chairman on this past Friday, tapping Ajit Pai. Pai was the ranking Republican on the FCC during the Obama administration, appointed to that role by the now former president. Because Pai being a part of the FCC is a relic of the Obama era, he has thus already been officially confirmed by the Senate and doesn’t have to sit through any additional confirmation hearings at this time. Rather, he can assume the role of FCC head immediately.
So what does Pai think of enforcing net neutrality? Well, if you haven’t caught on yet, he is a staunch opponent of the idea. His opposition is pretty much birthed out of the long familiar, traditional right-wing opposition to any and all regulations in the economic and business spheres.
In addition, not only does Pai entertain the idea of opposition to net neutrality, but he also has made it clear that in his continued role in the FCC under Trump that he intends to bring the rules up for consideration before the commission, a.k.a., see through net neutrality rules to their demise.
POLITICO reports what Craig Aaron, who heads an advocacy organization dedicated to such causes as advancing net neutrality, said of Pai’s ascension to power under Trump.
‘Ajit Pai has been on the wrong side of just about every major issue that has come before the FCC during his tenure. He’s never met a mega-merger he didn’t like or a public safeguard he didn’t try to undermine. He’s been an inveterate opponent of net neutrality, expanded broadband access for low-income families, broadband privacy, media diversity and more.’
Outgoing FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler also spoke to Pai’s explicit intent to “take a weedwhacker” to the net neutrality rules.
‘These are serious things. People have made business decisions based on the expectation of an open internet and to take that away in order to favor half a dozen companies just seems to be a shocking decision.’
The half a dozen companies that Wheeler mentioned are the internet service providers who will receive a business boost from the influx of cash that will come with big money interests vying to get their content on an internet fast lane in the absence of net neutrality rules.
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