Net neutrality rules are set to be abolished by President Trump’s newly appointed head of the FCC, this implies that the federal government will no longer regulate the Internet. Ajit Pai has been a fierce critic of the net neutrality rules.
In a report issued by The hill, Pai has had good relations with congressional Republicans and he will be closely watched as he discharges his duties with House Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden and his Senate counterpart, Chairman John Thune, to eliminate the many telecom and tech regulations that were passed under Obama’s tenure. However, some believe that Pai could be at odds with Trumps administration on some issues.
The industry has lauded Pai for his anti-regulatory stance, this has led many to believe that he will look favorably at the proposed AT&T-Time Warner merger if it comes under FCC scrutiny. However, President Trump came out hard against the $85 billion deal during the campaign, although he recently made it clear that he was still contemplating on his stance. He told Axios in an interview that he hasn’t seen any of the facts. Trump made the statement one day after he met with Pai at Trump Tower and less than a week after AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson paid Trump a visit.
Multichannel News made a report last week that said that President Trump’s team is looking into unleashing a massive overhaul of the FCC. That would change many of their consumer protection efforts handed off to the Federal Trade Commission.
President Trump will need to fill in the FCC chairman posts in the coming weeks. Of the many posts that Trump will fill, tech watchers will be anticipating the replacement for Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith. However, one key office will have continuity, the Patent and Trademark Office Director Michelle Lee as the head of the agency.
The coming week will see both Chambers of Congress get back in session with the Senate and House Commerce Committees holding meetings on Tuesday. A number of tech bills that include Thune’s MOBILE Now Act, will be looked at by the Senate panel. The bill was re-introduced by Thune earlier this month to try free up more wireless spectrum for commercial use. The DIGIT Act will also be on the Senate panel’s agenda, the bill seeks to boost the development of the Internet of Things, and the SANDY Act.