The New FCC Chairman’s Plan to Undermine Net Neutrality

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At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai suggested that the reclassification and resulting restrictions have hindered telecoms from investing in improved infrastructure. It’s a tricky game—advocates on both sides can make the numbers say what they want.

But Pai’s gambit appears in part to hinge on convincing people that net neutrality, at least as currently enforced, will slow the spread of 5G, the next iteration of ultra-high speed wireless. Chairman Pai says his deregulatory strategy will help prepare the US for 5G. “It’s not a forgone conclusion that we will fully realize this technological potential,” he said in Barcelona. “After all, building, maintaining, and upgrading broadband networks is expensive.” In other words, he’s worried that if he doesn’t get rid of the Open Internet Order, carriers won’t upgrade their infrastructure to 5G. Ultimately, the bigger threat to the Open Internet Order may come from Congress, where Republicans have been trying to kill it since before the FCC passed it. Pai doesn’t seem likely to wait around for them, even if that means making his case in court.


The New FCC Chairman’s Plan to Undermine Net Neutrality