On Thursday December 14, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will approve by a 3-2 partisan vote an order that would reclassify broadband Internet access as a deregulated “information service” and repeal all but one of the FCC’s 2015 network neutrality rules, leaving in place only a transparency rule. The following statement should be attributed to Gigi Sohn:
“This Thursday, the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai officially takes his place in history as the Grinch That Stole the Internet. Together with his Republican colleagues, Chairman Pai will shrink consumer protection, competition and innovation ten sizes too small, delivering the goodies instead – like price hikes, extra tolls and users’ personal information to sell – to giant broadband providers like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon.
In fact, with the December 14 vote, the FCC is getting out of the business of consumer protection and promoting the public interest entirely. Although Republican and Democratic FCC Chairs alike have always believed that the agency has both the authority and the responsibility to protect consumers, competition and the open Internet, this unprecedented and radical decision closes that door for good. The complete abdication of the FCC’s oversight over broadband Internet access will leave every American Internet user out in the cold.
Gigi Sohn is a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy, an Open Society Foundations Leadership in Government Fellow and a Mozilla Fellow. She was Counselor to former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler from November 2013-December 2016. Gigi can be reached for comment at the above email address or at 202-253-0876. More on Gigi can be found at gigisohn.com.