By Dana Liebelson and Alexander C. Kaufman for The Huffington Post – WASHINGTON ― When Ajit Pai, President Donald Trump’s pick to chair the Federal Communications Commission, announced his plan to roll back his own agency’s net neutrality rules on Wednesday, he sounded nervous. “I am confident we will finish the job,” he said, in a somewhat stilted speech at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. “This is a fight we intend to wage, and this is a fight we are going to win.” If Pai is nervous, he has good reason to be. Net neutrality is extremely popular with both Republicans and Democrats. The activists who support strong rules are loud and well-organized, and the organizations that oppose the rules — cable companies like Comcast and telecom providers like Verizon, HuffPost’s parent company — are not loved. When cable and telecom companies lost the fight against the Obama administration’s strong net neutrality rules in 2015, they lost badly. The fight this time could be even fiercer. In 2014, then-FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, a former cable and wireless industry lobbyist, said he was planning to avoid the strong net neutrality protections that activists were hoping for.
By T.C. Sottek for The Verge – This is the same tired line that Republicans have been trotting out for years, and it’s based on a dumb, misleading conflation of “the internet” with “the behavior of internet service providers.” The current net neutrality rules already give consumers “internet freedom” by restraining internet providers from dividing the internet into a nightmare of toll zones and walls. Net neutrality rules aren’t “government micromanagement,” they’re the exact opposite: they are a condition of possibility for the competitive anarchy that has defined the internet and allowed companies to rise and fall without permission from their ISP. “Title II regulation” simply gives the FCC the authority to make sure those ISPs are behaving — a power the Republican-controlled FCC wants to relinquish to the very companies they’re supposed to monitor. Chairman Pai said as much earlier this month when he floated the nonsensical idea that broadband providers self-regulate by putting net neutrality provisions in their terms of service agreements.
By Kyle Daly and Michaela Ross for BNA – Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai huddled with Facebook Inc. and Oracle Corp. executives in Silicon Valley to discuss the agency’s net neutrality rules, as the tech sector gears up to fight his planned changes. Pai told reporters April 20 he met with executives from the two companies and others, including Cisco Systems Inc. and Intel Corp, on April 17, but declined to discuss specifics. The coming storm over the rules promises to pit the tech giants against communications titans, including AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp. The fight is likely to be the biggest test yet of whether the tech sector’s clout in Washington has diminished since President Donald Trump took office. The current rules bar internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic flowing across their networks in most circumstances. Pai said he sought ideas from the tech companies on “how to secure some of those principles of free and open internet that I think most people agree on.” Pai has met with broadband trade groups and other stakeholders to discuss his plan to shift net neutrality enforcement powers to the Federal Trade Commission, according to people familiar with those discussions.
By Popular Resistance. Washington, DC – April 20 was the third public meeting at the Federal Communications Commission under the leadership of the new chair, Ajit Pai, a former lawyer for Verizon. Pai has been a long-time opponent of rules to protect net neutrality. He voted against reclassification of the Internet as a common carrier under Title II in 2015 and he met recently with telecom representatives to discuss how to undermine net neutrality by relaxing enforcement of the rules. Net neutrality means that the Internet should be treated as a utility so that all people have equal access to content without discrimination based on ability to pay. The coalition that won net neutrality in 2015, which includes Popular Resistance, reconvened rapidly after Pai was chosen as chair and put together a strategy to protect net neutrality.
By Jeff John Roberts for Fortune – Ajit Pai does not like net neutrality. The new Chair of the Federal Communications Commission is clear he wants to tear up the policy and said he will start doing so as soon as this month. The question is whether anyone can stop him. Recall that net neutrality rules, in place since early 2015, prevent Internet providers from creating “fast lanes” for favored websites or from slowing down other sites that don’t pay a toll. The policy is loathed by the telecom industry as a form of undue regulation, but is popular with consumer advocates who claim it prevents internet providers from abusing their power. Pai’s plan to reverse the rules will anger his opponents but, on the face of it, there’s not much they can do.
By Steve Andriole for Forbes – Net neutrality is important to all things digital because it speaks directly to the governance and control of the world’s most important platform for communication, commerce, entertainment and education. The timing of the debate about net neutrality is especially important because of the explosion in the number of devices connected to the Internet through the so-called “Internet-of-Things” and “Internet-of-Everything.” Once everything is (more or less) connected, the world will change. The management of the platform and the applications will define life in the mid- to late 21st century. The Open Internet Order passed in 2015 with support from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
By Klint Finley for Wired – LITTLE SEEMS TO be standing in the way of Comcast, Verizon, and other internet service providers selling your personal information without your permission after the Federal Communications Commission took a first step toward delaying its own rules protecting consumer privacy and security. Last October the agency passed a set of rules that would have required internet providers to take new steps to protect your private data from hackers. That same regulatory package would have required ISPs to notify you if someone hacked your data and to get your active permission before selling your data.
By Mike Ludwig for Truthout – Ajit Pai, President Trump’s Republican pick to head the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is already sparring with media reformers just weeks into his term. On Thursday, a coalition of 40 racial justice, labor and digital rights groups demanded that the commission reverse a recent order that they say has canceled subsidized internet service for 17,500 low-income customers. On February 3, the FCC began to roll back several Obama-era reform efforts, including orders allowing nine telecom companies to provide Lifeline services to people who have trouble affording internet service. The decision could make it difficult if not impossible for tens of thousands of low-income families and students to get online, according to the digital advocacy group Free Press. Under Pai, the FCC has also begun to undo agency efforts to keep media consolidation in check, examine net neutrality issues in mobile services and enhance transparency in political advertising.
By Popular Resistance. Washington, DC – Today marks the first public hearing by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under the directorship of Chairman Ajit Pai, who was appointed by the Trump administration. A coalition of organizations that fought to win net neutrality through reclassification as a common carrier gathered outside the FCC beforehand to deliver 200,000 ‘love letters’ to the chair calling for the protection of net neutrality. They also brought large valentines. 32690768260_a61db7d763_zUpon their approach to the FCC door, the net neutrality protectors were met by the aggressive and angry head of FCC security backed up by several Department of Homeland Security SUVs filled with agents. The head of security demanded to see the contents of the red-wrapped boxes carrying the petitions and instructed the group to take their valentines off the premises. The net neutrality protectors complied after delivering the petitions and moved to an adjacent open grassy area.
By Marguerite Reardon for CNET. Pai often goes out of his way to be nice. He’s the kind of person who remembers co-workers’ birthdays or your kids’ first names. It doesn’t matter if you’re a congressman from California or the parking attendant at the lot near the FCC’s headquarters, Pai offers a folksy and sincere greeting to all. He always has a kind word for colleagues, even when they stand on the opposite side of the aisles. “He made the chairman’s life miserable,” said Gigi Sohn, a former adviser to the previous head, Tom Wheeler, in reference to their constant ideological clashes. “But I like him. Everyone likes him.” This nice guy is no pushover, though. The 44-year-old chairman has already introduced a number of programs and steered the FCC in a different direction from his predecessor. And he’s still gearing up for his biggest move: the takedown of many of the regulations that protect net neutrality, the concept that all internet traffic must be treated as equal.
By Jon Brodkin for US Senate Democrats today vowed that they won’t let net neutrality rules be eliminated without a fight, and they urged citizens to make their voices heard by lawmakers and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai. “Remember that two years ago, nearly 4 million Americans offered comments on the Open Internet Order,” Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said at a press conference this morning (video). “That’s by far, by a factor of at least two, more than any comments on any rule before the FCC in history.” But if Congress and the FCC try to eliminate net neutrality rules, there will be a “political firestorm that will make the 4 million who communicated several years ago look like a minuscule number,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said.
By Alex Byers and Tony Romm for Politico – President Donald Trump will tap Ajit Pai as his pick to lead the FCC in the new administration, elevating the sitting GOP commissioner to the top spot overseeing the nation’s communications industry, according to four industry sources familiar with the decision. The announcement could come as soon as this afternoon, the sources said. Pai, a Barack Obama nominee who has served as the senior FCC Republican for more than three years, could take the new role immediately and wouldn’t require approval by the Senate because he was already confirmed to serve at the agency. A spokesman for Pai declined to comment and the Trump transition team did not respond to an emailed request for comment.
By Aaron Pressman for Fortune – President-elect Donald Trump formally named two staunch opponents of net neutrality to oversee his policies for the agency that created the rules to prevent discrimination against Internet sites and online services. Jeff Eisenach, an economist who has been on Verizon’s payroll, and Mark Jamison, who formerly worked on Sprint’s lobbying team and now heads the University of Florida’s Public Utility Research Center, on Monday were named to Trump’s “agency landing team” for the Federal Communications Commission.
By Soo Rin Kim for Open Secrets – Four years after it began requiring TV stations to upload their records of political ad sales to a central government website, the Federal Communications Commission maintains a recordkeeping system that makes finding out who an ad’s sponsor is feel like a treasure hunt. In 2012, the FCC approved a rule requiring broadcast stations in the largest markets to upload the files showing who bought time for political ads