I started telling you about the danger Ajit Pai would pose to net neutrality as chairman of the FCC back when he was first nominated. I’ve brought it up repeatedly since then, most recently right after Pai’s nomination was confirmed last month. And indeed this week, Pai formally announced his plan to repeal net neutrality.
Sadly, it’s not surprising that he ignored the tens of millions of people who wrote in to oppose the proposal. He’s also ignoring industry giants like Google and Amazon have formally opposed his deceitfully named “Restoring Internet Freedom” bill. I’m not going to beat around the bush here: this will be disastrous for everybody except telecom companies.
I’m going to quote Jon Brodkin’s analysis:
In addition to ditching its own net neutrality rules, the Federal Communications Commission also plans to tell state and local governments that they cannot impose local laws regulating broadband service… [A]ll consumer protections in the 2015 net neutrality order are being eliminated… rules requiring disclosure of hidden fees and data caps will be overturned. The FCC will relinquish its role in evaluating whether ISPs can charge competitors for data cap exemptions and will no longer oversee interconnection disputes that harm Internet service quality… There won’t be any specific FCC rules preventing Internet providers from blocking, throttling, or prioritizing content in exchange for payment… FCC officials also said they plan to scale back their regulatory authority… [that] requires the FCC to promote competition in local telecommunications markets and to remove barriers that impede infrastructure investment.
In short, there is absolutely nothing good in this proposal for people who create or read webcomics. Nothing.
There are some Senators, including Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Duckworth, and Dick Durbin, who are trying to get Pai to recuse himself from dealings that benefit companies he’s had direct ties to, and they’ve asked Inspector General David Hunt to formally investigate whether Pai is “executing his leadership of the FCC free from influences that compromise his objectivity and impartiality.” But given how corrupt this entire administration is, and how little has actually been done to thwart more attempts like this, I’m skeptical anything significant will come of this.
Nevertheless, Pai’s proposal will not voted on by the entire FCC until December 14. In the meantime, I urge you again to contact everyone you can in both Congress and the FCC and plead with them to do everything they can to ensure Pai’s repeal does not take pass.