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FCC Chair Calls Out Net Neutrality “Chicken Littles” in Prepared Testimony

Ajit Pai says the only thing that has fallen is the credibility of Restoring Internet Freedom Order critics

WASHINGTON — FCC Chair Ajit Pai plans a strong Capitol Hill defense of his Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which rolled back net neutrality regulations as of last month.

That is according to his prepared testimony for a July 25 FCC oversight hearing in the House Communications Subcommittee.

Pai had choice words for those who branded the order, which nullified rules against blocking, throttling and paid prioritization, the death of the internet.

At the time the order was adopted (back in December 2017), “there were many hysterical predictions of doom and gloom,” he said. “The sky has not fallen. Indeed, the only thing that has fallen is the credibility of the Chicken Littles’ who made such dire predictions.”

Pai branded the 2015 Open Internet order and it rules a failed policy that the FCC had now abandoned, turning primary policing powers over ISPs to the Federal Trade Commission, from which it had been stripped by the 2015 order.

Pai said the bottom line is that the internet remains free and open and repealing the rules was the light touch the market needed to invest in the kind of faster, better, cheaper broadband that can help close the digital divide.

Pai’s statement was also notable for what it did not talk about in what he billed as “the work of the Federal Communications Commission to advance the public interest.” While there were were many references and whole sections devoted to broadband and spectrum for broadband, and wireless broadband, and broadband spectrum auctions, and 5G.

There was no mention of the FCC’s broadcast deregulatory efforts or ATSC 3.0, the next gen standard that the FCC is helping roll out, or its recent decision to refer the Sinclair-Tribune merger for hearing.

He did point out that Congress’ passage of the RAY BAUM Act did provide extra money to make sure LPTVs and translators got some financial help, and there was enough repack money for a consumer education campaign for all the repack-related channel moves.