FCC’s Pai could reveal new net neutrality rules tomorrow

Ajit Pai
Pai will speak tomorrow in Washington, D.C., at an event hosted by the conservative-leaning group FreedomWorks.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai could formally launch an effort this week to revamp the net neutrality rules passed by his predecessor Tom Wheeler.

Citing four sources close to Pai, Recode reported that the process to overturn the rules will start tomorrow.

He will lay out his vision during a speech tomorrow in Washington, D.C., at an event hosted by the conservative-leaning group FreedomWorks. During the event, he is expected to tell the telecom industry and other interested parties why he opposing applying Title II regulations to ensure large ISPs like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon won’t block or throttle web traffic that travels over their last mile networks.

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After the rules were passed in 2015, large telcos and cable operators, as well as Pai and Republicans, have complained that the rules would hinder broadband investments.

Sources told Recode that Pai isn’t going to present a replacement for the current rules, but rather seek out other ideas from a mix of technology, telecom and public interest groups on a different net neutrality approach.

Additionally, Pai’s dialogue with industry leaders could start next month if he puts forth a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

One possible outcome is that Pai could propose voluntary net neutrality rules.

If Title II is out of the picture, the oversight of net neutrality could fall back into the hands of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). But even if the FTC regains oversight of the rules, broadband providers would still have to respect net neutrality principles such as no blocking or paid prioritization of internet traffic. This would allow the FTC to punish violators for deceptive or unfair trade practices.

Pai’s spokeman would not provide a comment to Recode.