• July 18, 2021

Democrats want the FCC to ‘get out of the way’ on Internet rules

Democrats on the Federal Communications Commission are demanding that the agency delay or end its plan to regulate the Internet, citing the “disruption” caused by the Trump administration’s regulatory agenda.

In a letter sent to FCC Chair Ajit Pai on Thursday, the group of Democrats urged him to consider “appropriate alternatives” to the commission’s proposed rules on net neutrality, including more flexibility to support “competitive neutrality” for Internet service providers.

The FCC has proposed a rule that would require Internet service companies like AT&T and Comcast to offer equal access to the same Web content, and prohibit them from discriminating on the basis of speed, quality or other factors.

Democrats have warned the rule would stifle investment and discourage innovation and investment in new technologies.

They say it would also restrict competition in the Internet market by requiring that ISPs treat all traffic equally.

Pai has said he’s considering a different rule to address these concerns.

“We believe the FCC should consider alternative alternatives to the current regulatory approach,” the letter said.

“Specifically, the Democrats are asking the Commission to consider a variety of options, including: (1) to delay the rules pending the outcome of a thorough review of the current net neutrality rules, (2) to revise or extend the current rules in the way the current ones are being implemented, or (3) to reconsider the existing net neutrality regulation in a way that is less restrictive.”

The Democratic letter to Pai said the commission should adopt a new rule that does not “over-regulate broadband service providers.”

Pai has previously expressed support for “competition-neutrality rules,” a term used to describe policies that allow Internet service businesses to offer faster or better services to certain customers than others.

Pai’s proposed rule would require companies to treat all Internet traffic equally, meaning it would allow them to discriminate based on speed, speed and other factors in a bid to provide “equal” access to all content.

Pai is currently reviewing the commissions proposed rules and could make a final decision as early as Friday.

The FCC is currently considering rules on internet service providers and data caps that have been controversial since the election.