Free market advocate and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has published a proposal to repeal Obama-era net neutrality rules, and it already has leftists in the media going nuts. Pai is a strong believer in the power of the free market to promote Internet freedom, telling reporters that his ideas will keep the federal government from “micromanaging the Internet.” Under his new leadership, Pai is looking to keep the FCC at bay by simply requiring transparency from Internet service providers so that consumers have more and better choices to choose from, and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can more easily compete and innovate.
Unsurprisingly, the proposal has been attacked by the Internet Association, a lobbying group that represents the big-name tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other tech firms. Typical scare tactics from the group are being bought by the media who believe the plan would increase prices while allowing giant companies to “exert more control” over consumers.
In response, Pai is arguing that the Obama-era Internet rules have limited consumer choice and stifled investment in infrastructure, which is what led to current high pricing. In an interview with the Daily Signal, Pai stressed the importance of the free market in creating an environment where Google, Facebook, Amazon, and others were able to come about and thrive long before the Obama-era regulations were put in place. Pai told the Daily Signal that there has been a demonstrable decrease in innovation and investment in networks since the 2015 regulations were enacted. Because companies are scared to innovate for fear of retribution from regulators, small companies haven’t been able to grow and compete.
Free market advocates argue that the transparency requirements in Pai’s proposal would foster competition. Jonathan Spalter, the chief executive of USTelecom, said: “The removal of antiquated, restrictive regulations will pave the way for broadband network investment.” Moreover, slow Internet and high prices in rural areas where there are only small service providers are concerning to Pai, who says free markets would be able to deliver greater consumer welfare to areas currently affected by little choice. The proposal is expected to be approved during the FCC meeting on December 14 by a 3-to-2 party-line vote.