FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai spoke to Telecommunications & Electronic Media Practice Group Chairman Bryan Tramont about one of the hottest topics before the Commission today – Open Internet, otherwise known as Net Neutrality. The internet has become a vital platform for innovation and growth throughout the nation, and has flourished with little or no federal or state regulation. Yet the FCC is currently considering new “rules of the road” for the internet that could substantially alter the future of the web and have a profound impact on our economy. The main questions at hand are whether the FCC should regulate internet service providers’ network management practices, and if so, what those rules should be. Some have suggested that the FCC should classify broadband service as a telecommunications service and subject internet service providers to public utility regulation, otherwise known as Title II. Others believe the Commission should pursue other regulatory avenues, such as using the FCC’s existing authority under Section 706 of the Communications Act.
What is net neutrality exactly? Is there a legitimate need for a regulated internet, or is this is a solution in search of a problem? Does the Commission have legal authority to regulate the internet, or is Congressional authorization a prerequisite? What impact would regulation have on innovation and investment in broadband? Commissioner Pai explored these and other issues in this important teleforum.
- Hon. Ajit V. Pai, Federal Communications Commission
- Bryan N. Tramont, Managing Partner, Wilkinson, Barker, Knauer, LLP