FCC Chairman Ajit Pai took his war on net neutrality to Europe for the Mobil World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. He told his counterparts that the rules implemented under former President Barack Obama closed off progress as the world becomes more dependent on technology:
“We are confident in the decades-long, cross-party consensus on light-touch Internet regulation — one that helped America’s digital economy thrive,” Pai said. “Our approach will be not zero regulation, but light-touch regulation — rules backed by long-standing principles of competition law.”
Pai told The Financial Times that his rollbacks on net neutrality have already started to help. The regulations under Obama caused telecoms companies to spend less and not invest as much:
“Infrastructure spending is lower today than in 2015. That does not benefit consumers,” he said.
The FCC stopped “its investigation into the free data offerings known as ‘Zero Rating.'” This has become popular with many citizens (emphasis mine):
“The truth is that consumers like getting something for free and they want the providers to compete by introducing new data service offerings. Our recent decision simply respected those preferences.”
Pai claims “the best evidence of the wisdom of our new approach is what happened afterward,” when all four major U.S. wireless providers announced new or refreshed unlimited data plans. “Consumers are now benefitting from these offers, offers made possible by a competitive marketplace. Remember preemptive regulation did not deliver those benefits, the free market did.”
Pai stated that these companies need “to be offered incentives to justify the billions of dollars of investment in 5G and fibre networks and has moved to deregulate the industry as a result.” It keeps the government out:
“5G could transform the wireless world,” Pai said. “We stand on the cusp of new advancements, but it’s not a foregone conclusion that we’ll achieve this potential. 5G will require a lot of infrastructure.”
The less government the better? Maybe:
“I don’t think government produces good results when it micromanages business decisions,” he said.
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