FCC Chairman Sets Public Course for Making New Internet Regulations

NEWS ANALYSIS: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai says starting a fully public rule-making process to reverse last year's decision to regulate ISPs under Title II of the Communications Act.

FCC Net Neutrality

In a move that has been widely expected since he was named Federal Communications Commission chairman, Ajit Pai has announced that he plans to end the changes his predecessor made when the FCC decided that the internet should be covered by Title II of the Communications Act.

Pai was a commissioner when former Chairman Tom Wheeler forced through the change at the direction of the Obama White House and he said at the time that the change to the status of the internet service providers was a mistake.

Pai spoke on “The Future of Internet Freedom” at Washington’s museum of journalism, the Newseum, when he outlined his intention. Pai notably said that he intends the whole process of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to be handled in the open, with public hearings and open discussions, starting with the release of a formal "Notice of Proposed Rule Making" on April 27. He said that his proposal would go through a public comment period starting with an FCC meeting in May.

The process Pai outlined is in contrast to the procedures typically followed by Wheeler who was known for handling much of the FCC’s business in secret and only making the decisions public after the commission had voted on them. Pai had been opposed to such secret meetings and closed discussions during his time as a commissioner. Shortly after being appointed Chairman Pai announced that the days of secrecy were over.

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...