The new head of the Federal Communications Commission has vowed to reduce regulatory barriers to growth and innovation and to make a priority of reducing the digital divide, and The Hill reports that today Ajit Pai led the panel in scrapping two rules.
“But Pai, a Republican, who was promoted from commissioner to the agency’s top spot by President Trump last week, also said he hadn’t made a decision on one of the FCC’s signature rules: net neutrality,” the story reports.
At his first open meeting today, Pai said: “I favor a free and open internet, and I oppose Title II.” The Hill notes that “Title II is one of the key elements of net neutrality, reclassifying broadband as a utility and allowing the FCC to enforce the rules. Pai has long been a critic of net neutrality and in December said he wanted to review the rules. Top members of Trump’s FCC transition team are critics of the internet rule.”
But the panel focused today on other regulations. “The FCC board on Tuesday voted to eliminate two public filing requirements. One rule required television and broadcast stations to keep physical copies of letters from ‘viewers and listeners’ and make them available. Another required ‘cable operators to maintain and allow public inspection of the location of a cable system’s principal headend,” The Hill reports.
“Pai cited the ease of digital records and the need to reduce needless regulation,” the report adds. “Fellow Republican Commissioner Mike O’Rielly and Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn both voted in favor of scrapping the rules.”