The US government may have been slow to adapt to the internet’s disruptive growth.
But the new US commissioner of the FCC has been quick to make it clear that it is in a position to change that.
In a series of comments on Thursday, Pai, a Republican, told lawmakers that the agency is prepared to revisit net neutrality rules, which govern the flow of data across the internet, to allow broadband providers to offer “fast lanes” to certain types of content.
But the commissioner said he is confident that he has the authority to rewrite the regulations and will be able to implement a net neutrality rule that would allow broadband companies to provide faster lanes to certain kinds of content at the expense of others.
“The net neutrality that the commission promulgated in 2015, and the rules we put in place in 2016, have been consistent with net neutrality,” Pai said.
“They have allowed for reasonable competition among providers, with the government stepping in to protect consumers, and with the Federal Trade Commission stepping in and making sure that the FCC’s consumer protection and open Internet rules are enforced.”
“That has been a consistent approach and I will continue to take that approach as Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission,” he said.
Pai also pointed out that the internet has changed significantly since the Obama administration began making changes to net neutrality regulations.
“We are seeing the most rapid growth in internet use,” Pai explained.
“People are increasingly connecting across the country and their devices, and that’s a result of the internet.”
If we’re going to have the fastest internet available for consumers and the greatest diversity of choices for our business, then we need to make sure that we have the best protections for consumers,” he added.
Pais said the FCC would continue to look for ways to promote open internet principles while ensuring that the rules are applied equally to all businesses.
The FCC voted in November to overturn the 2015 net neutrality order, which was put in effect after the 2015 internet boom, and was hailed as a success.
The new rules allow for faster lanes for certain types or speeds to be offered to certain content providers.