Pai Rips Net Dereg Criticism as 'Frightening Nonsense'

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A feisty FCC Chairman Ajit Pai spent several paragraphs of his blog on the Oct. 27 public meeting agenda making the case for why he was right to deregulate internet access and critics were wrong.

He was commenting on the plan to vote on the FCC's response to a federal appeals court demand that the FCC better explain how its Restoring Internet Freedom order affects various constituencies.

Related: FCC to Vote on Net Neutrality Remand Item

Billing the agenda as Halloween treats, he called the criticism of the Restoring Internet Freedom's elimination of rules against blocking, throttling and paid prioritization a "trick" played by "numerous Washington politicians, far-left special-interest groups, Hollywood stars, and Silicon Valley tech giants."

Referring to the arguments made by some net neutrality rule advocates, Pai dismissed them. "The American people were told that they would get the internet one word at a time. They were told that they would have to pay $5 per tweet. They were told that it would be the end of the internet as we know it. It was frightening stuff to be sure, but it was utter nonsense," he wrote.

Related: Court Upholds Most of FCC ISP Dereg

He said the FCC had ignored those "falsehoods" and the "ruckus" they created, which included death threats, a bomb threat, and harassment. The result, he argued, and ISPs have argued as well, is that network investment hit levels not seen in a decade while remaining "free and open."

He praised ISPs for their performance during the pandemic, saying they have not had to do what networks in some other countries have done, including asking streaming services like Netflix and YouTube to down convert from HD to SD.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.