Chairman Pai Moves to Roll Back Telecom Rules

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Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is taking the next steps to unwind Obama-era rules and other regulatory efforts that had restricted the abilities of telecommunication companies and broadcasters. With two items up for vote on April 20 that are expected to pass, Chairman Pai is carrying forward a swift Republican attack on telecom rules. The rollback will empower big telecom and media firms that have lobbied aggressively for deregulation, but consumer groups say it may also eventually put consumers at risk of higher prices and fewer options for services and media.

The two specific items to be voted on include a plan to make it easier for broadband providers to charge other businesses higher prices to connect to the main arteries of their networks. The action would clear the way for internet service providers like AT&T and CenturyLink to raise connection fees charged to hospitals, small businesses and wireless carriers in many markets where there is little or no competition for so-called backhaul broadband service. The other item up for vote is a move to ease the limit on how many stations a broadcast television company can own. The action is expected to invite more consolidation in that sector.


Chairman Pai Moves to Roll Back Telecom Rules