FCC Chair Ajit Pai Confirms Internet Users’ Worst Fears—Announces Plans to Undo Net Neutrality
One of the biggest battles in the history of the Internet is about to begin.
April 26, 2017– Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Ajit Pai has confirmed Internet users’ worst fears in a speech earlier today to a conservative business group. He announced a sweeping plan to undo the Net Neutrality protections that over 4 million people fought for and won in 2014. This would allow large telecom and cable companies to control what their users do online, making the Internet more expensive and making it harder for innovators, independent entrepreneurs, and small businesses to compete.
Chairman Pai stated that he would eliminate these protections through a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which the FCC will release to the public tomorrow. Strongly anti-net neutrality commissioners such as Michael O’Rielly and Pai himself currently outnumber those on the Commission who would vote in favor of consumer rights and fair competition. Internet advocates warn that overturning Net Neutrality would be contrary to the public interest, result in less affordable and competitive Internet services, and stifle the U.S. digital economy.
Responding to today’s announcement, OpenMedia’s Communications Manager David Christopher said:
“Today, Ajit Pai announced he wants to tear up vital Net Neutrality protections, ignoring the millions of Americans who helped shape them, and the millions more businesses and consumers who depend on them. If Ajit Pai gets his way, we’ll end up with an Internet that has fast lanes for those who can afford to pay, and slow lanes for the rest of us. Surely we need an Internet that works for all of us, and not just for giant telecom conglomerates?”
Christopher continued: “This is a sorry day for American innovation, especially as more and more countries around the world such as Canada, India, the Netherlands, Slovenia, and the European Union are standing up for businesses, consumers, innovation, and the open Internet. Ajit Pai now has a huge fight on his hands — this will be one of the most important battles in the history of the Internet, and we’re going to do everything we can to rally millions of Americans to stop this before it’s too late.”
Pai’s announcement stands in stark contrast to Canada’s recent decision to strengthen Net Neutrality, marking the United States’ northern neighbor as a leader in protecting digital innovation and the public interest when it comes to the open Internet.
OpenMedia signed a joint open letter released earlier today, warning U.S. House and Senate leaders of the consequences if Chair Pai’s plan succeeds. Groups signing on to the letter, written by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), include: American Library Association, Association of College & Research Libraries, Center for Media Justice, Color of Change, Common Cause, Daily Kos, Demand Progress, Faithful Internet, Fight for the Future, Free Press Action Fund, Free Software Foundation, Media Mobilizing Project, New America’s Open Technology Institute, OpenMedia, Open MIC, Public Knowledge, United Church of Christ, OC Inc., Writers Guild of America, West, Writers Guild of America, East, 18MillionRising.org
Over 33,000 Americans are speaking up for Net Neutrality at act.openmedia.org/DefendTheInternet