Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai plans to testify to Congress that the recent repeal of the net neutrality rules is paving the way for better broadband service.
"The Internet remains open and free, and we now have a regulatory framework in place that is encouraging the private sector to make the investments necessary to bring better, faster, and cheaper broadband to more Americans," Pai will tell the House Communications Subcommittee, according to his prepared statement.
Last December, the FCC voted 3-2 to repeal the Obama-era net neutrality rules, including rules that prohibited carriers from blocking or throttling traffic and from charging higher fees for prioritized delivery.
Pai has frequently claimed that those regulations were too heavy-handed, and depressed investment. But consumer advocates and other net neutrality proponents say net neutrality rules are necessary to prevent Comcast, AT&T and other broadband providers from censoring sites or discriminating against competitors like Netflix.
Pai reiterates in his written testimony that network investment declined in the two years after 2015, when the agency passed net neutrality regulations. "We’ve now abandoned that failed policy," he states.
But some net neutrality advocates who have examined the carriers' stock reports have reached different conclusions. The pro-neutrality advocacy group Free Press said last year that investment by 13 major broadband providers increased in the two years after the FCC passed the net neutrality regulations.
The FCC Chairman adds that the internet "remains open and free," despite the repeal. "We were told that it would be the destruction of the Internet, or as some outlets put it, 'the end of the Internet as we know it,'" he will testify. "But the [order] has taken effect, and the sky has not fallen. Indeed, the only thing that has fallen is the credibility of the Chicken Littles who made such dire predictions."
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who supported the Obama-era regulations, plans to tell Congress that the agency's procedures too often "fall short of what good governance requires."
Among other examples, she will mention that the agency ignored the influx of fake comments about net neutrality, including half a million comments from Russia.