FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Wednesday defended his net neutrality repeal plan, saying he’s returning the internet to the “free market consensus” that prevailed for years.
“All we are simply doing is putting engineers and entrepreneurs, instead of bureaucrats and lawyers, back in charge of the internet,” Pai said on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends,” the cable news morning show President Donald Trump is known to watch. “What we wanted to do is return to the free market consensus that started in the Clinton administration and that served the internet economy in America very well for many years.”
Pai on Tuesday confirmed his plan to fully dismantle the Obama-era net neutrality rules, which were approved by the FCC’s previous Democratic majority in 2015. His order would remove bans on blocking and throttling web traffic and allow internet service providers to charge for internet “fast lanes” to consumers. The move sparked a barrage of criticism from Democrats and public interest groups who call it a giveaway to big telecom companies.
Asked about fears that people will have to potentially pay more for internet service, Pai, who was elevated to the FCC’s top job by Trump in January, called that “false.”
“That’s not the internet economy we had from 1996 until 2015 when these rules were imposed. There was nothing broken about the internet before 2015,” the chairman said. “And going forward, if a company acts in an anti-competitive way, the Federal Trade Commission is expressly empowered to protect competition and consumers.”