QR.bizNewsNew FCC chairman calls net neutrality rules a "mistake"

New FCC chairman calls net neutrality rules a "mistake"

"We are taking action to exempt small businesses from these burdensome requirements-requirements that impose serious and unnecessary costs on small providers", Pai said.

Time Warner stock hit a 52-week high after Ajit Pai, President Trump's FCC chairman, said he didn't think his agency would review its $85 billion merger with AT&T, during an interview at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

An indication of the swift reversal of FCC policies by the new chairman was Pai's announcement of the end of an investigation into "zero-rating" or free-data services. Speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Pai said that unless the US steps away from the what he sees as Wheeler's heavy-handed net neutrality rules and other interventions in the communications industry, telecom providers will be reluctant to spend the billions necessary to roll out infrastructure for 5G networks.

"Two years ago, the United States deviated from our successful, light-touch approach", he wrote. In short, the rules are meant to prevent providers from playing favorites. The FCC will examine the cost estimates three months after the auction's conclusion, Matthew Berry said.

No one would argue with that point.

Pai believes otherwise: "The more hard government makes the business case for deployment, the less likely it is that broadband providers big and small will invest the billions of dollars needed to connect consumers with digital opportunity".

Without net neutrality, a company like Netflix (NFLX, Tech30) might have to pay more money to Internet providers to ensure its content is delivered at the right speed.

In its most recent earnings report, Netflix said changes to net neutrality were "unlikely to materially affect" its bottom line because it is "popular enough with consumers".

But AT&T has maintained that it is optimistic the deal will survive government review.

When former chairman Tom Wheeler explained his decision to propose net neutrality rules in Wired in 2015, his framing of the history of technological innovation was a sharp contrast to Pai's.

"Conservatives used to be against letting big companies determine who gets on the broadcast airwaves, but now they are for allowing big companies to determine who gets on the Internet [and] on what terms", Wheeler said. "And at a time when the majority on this commission is talking about gutting these broader rules, I can not in good conscience support this vastly increased exemption without knowing what core protections will remain in place for consumers and small businesses in the years to come".

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