In February, the Federal Communications Commission voted to reclassify the internet as a Title II communications service. The Open Internet Rule, which we all started to refer to as net neutrality, gave the commission authority to impose rules designed to keep the internet a free and open entity that treated all web traffic equally.
The measure passed on a 3-2 margin.
One of the two who voted against it was Ajit Pai, who now stands to lead the FCC when President-elect Trump takes office in January. Pai, shortly after the vote, uttered the following when referring to net neutrality: “its days are numbered.” Now, with Pai heading the FCC, and two transition team members being vocal opponents of the measure, it seems Pai’s prediction could play out in front of our very eyes in the coming months.
Pai doubled down on the statement today:
On the day that the Title II [net neutrality] Order was adopted, I said that ‘I don’t know whether this plan will be vacated by a court, reversed by Congress, or overturned by a future Commission. But I do believe that its days are numbered. Today, I am more confident than ever that this prediction will come true. And I’m hopeful that beginning next year, our general regulatory approach will be a more sober one that is guided by evidence, sound economic analysis, and a good dose of humility.
As we feared, it seems the shaky ground propping up current net neutrality laws are nearing a complete collapse. It’s not a done deal, but all signs are pointing to a corporate-owned internet at some point in the near future.