New FCC chair vows to shrink industry regulations

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By David Shepardson

<span class="articleLocation”>The new Republican chairman of the U.S. Federal
Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, vowed to pare back
outdated commission regulations, but declined to say if he will
move quickly to overturn the Obama administration’s landmark net
neutrality rules.

One top priority is “to remove unnecessary or
counterproductive regulations from the books,” Pai told
reporters Tuesday after he chaired his first meeting. “We want
to make sure that our regulations match the realities of the
modern marketplace.”

Pai, who was tapped by President Donald Trump this month to
run the FCC, in December vowed to take a “weed whacker” to
unnecessary FCC rules. He opposed many rules imposed by the
Obama administration, including net neutrality, broadband
privacy and media ownership limits.

The net neutrality rules bar internet access protections
from slowing consumer access to web content. Internet providers
fear net neutrality rules make it harder to manage internet
traffic and make investment in additional capacity less likely.
The Republican-controlled Congress is also considering rewriting
the net neutrality rules.

Pai opposed the Obama administration’s 2015 net neutrality
rules that reclassified broadband providers and treated them
like a public utility. He said Tuesday he supports a “free and
open internet” but opposes the reclassification.

In December, Pai told some small broadband providers in a
letter that it would not enforce the “enhanced transparency”
rules. He declined to say if he is considering not enforcing net
neutrality rules for all companies even if they remain on the

“We haven’t made any determinations,” Pai said.

The FCC on Tuesday voted to abolish a requirement that cable
systems, commercial TV and radio broadcasters retain some public
inspection files.

On Friday, Pai withdrew proposed reforms of the $45 billion
business data services market and $20 billion pay TV set top box
market. He declined to say if he will formally close any pending

A number of cable and wireless trade associations on Friday
asked the FCC to put new broadband privacy rules on hold while
the Republican-controlled FCC considers whether to scrap the

Pai declined to say if thought the AT&T Inc Time
Warner Inc merger should be subject to FCC review. The
companies said this month they only expect a review by the U.S.
Justice Department.

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