Chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Ajit Pai (pictured) defended proposed repeals of privacy and net neutrality rules at a Senate hearing yesterday, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.

Hitting back at Democrat warnings his policies would harm consumers, he said carriers would still have obligations to protect consumer privacy. In terms of net neutrality, Pai emphasised the need to maintain a level playing field for ISPs.

Pai used his statement to highlight some of the successes of his first six weeks in the role and reiterate his policies to improve broadband coverage, “close the digital divide” and promote innovation in the sector.

Addressing the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Pai said: “In the first six weeks of my Chairmanship, we have hit the ground running.”

“As we move forward, I hope we can continue to work together on a bipartisan basis to close the digital divide, promote innovation, protect consumers and public safety, and improve the FCC’s processes and procedures.”

Since taking the reins in January, Pai made several statements outlining his intent to review and rollback some of the privacy and net neutrality rules introduced during the previous administration.

In the last six weeks, the FCC introduced new transparency policies, closed an investigation into zero-rating data services and, among other measures, approved the use of unlicensed spectrum to increase the bandwidth available for wireless services in the country.