Ajit Pai, chairman of US regulator Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will reportedly set out his plans for overturning the country’s landmark net neutrality laws next week, ahead of a final vote in December.
According to Reuters sources, Pai (pictured) will unveil detailed plans in the coming days on how he plans to withdraw rules prohibiting network operators from favouring certain internet traffic over others, which were first introduced in 2015 under the previous FCC administration.
The FCC voted in favour to advance Pai’s bid to deregulate the industry in May, and a final vote is now planned at a commission meeting on 14 December, Reuters reported.
Pai is backed by a number of internet service providers, including AT&T, Verizon and Comcast, which argue they should have the right to block or throttle access to websites and give priority to others which pay for so-called “internet fast lanes”. The companies argue that, by ending such net neutrality restrictions, they will be able to generate additional cash required to invest in broadband and next generation networks.
However, the plans face opposition from those who argue the move could harm access to the internet by consumers and small businesses.
Advocacy group Free Press, which represents the interests of internet users said in a statement: “We’ll learn the gory details in the next few days, but we know that Pai intends to dismantle the basic protections that have fuelled the internet’s growth.”
Pai was reappointed to serve at the FCC for a second term lasting five years in October.