Before he was appointed Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Ajit Pai was one of its commissioners who had very strong opinions opposing the net neutrality provisions set forth by the Obama administration.
In an effort to have those opinions heard by his fellow commissioners, the government and the general public, Pai prepared and submitted a comprehensive paper which summarized in detail his reasons for not supporting net neutrality.
Pai outlined a series of gloom and doom scenarios about how net neutrality would not benefit all the stakeholders: the American people, the telcos and government.
Fast forward two years later Ajit Pai is appointed Chairman of the FCC by U.S. President Donald Trump. Pai is now in the position of power to dismantle net neutrality before his apocalyptic visions come true.
Fortunately or unfortunately; depending on where you stand on the issue of net neutrality, none of his gloom and doom scenarios have come true.
In a statement posted on the FCC website, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn itemizes the predictions made by Pai in 2015 which have not come true.
Here are five Pai prophecies which were debunked by Clyburn:
- Pai: The 2015 Open Internet Order seizes unilateral authority to regulate Internet conduct, to direct where Internet service providers put their investments and to determine what service plans will be available to the American Public:
Clyburn: False. The Order in fact kept your broadband provider from blocking, throttling (slowing down), paving toll ways on their network or at the point of interconnection, and interfering with the ability of content and customers to reach one another. No regulation of the Internet writ large (this is clear and obvious), no investment prescription, and no service plan determinations.
- Pai: It is a radical departure from the bipartisan, market-oriented policies that have served us so well for the past few decades.
Clyburn: False. In fact, Republican Chairmen have supported substantive net neutrality protections that is, up until this Administration.
- Pai: Courts will not countenance this unlawful power grab.
Clyburn: False. The D.C. Circuit twice upheld the 2015 Order and rejected all of the statutory interpretation arguments. Chairman Pai raised in his dissent (which he raises again in the draft destroying Internet Freedom Order.)
- Pai: The Order will countenance price regulation.
Clyburn: False. No broadband prices have been regulated in the years since the Order was adopted. Nor were any mobile voice prices regulated in the decades in which the same framework applied to mobile voice service.
- Pai: The conduct rules give the FCC a roving mandate to upend pricing plans that benefit consumers.
Clyburn: False. No pricing plans were ever upended.
You can read the entire statement of FCC Commissioner Clyburn here.
One of Pai’s predictions did come true:
“Decisions about network architecture and design will no longer be in the hands of engineers but bureaucrats and lawyers.”
Ironically, Pai was responsible for making this prediction come true as his own Restoring Internet Freedom order ignored the opinion of hundreds of engineers who stated on record that the bureaucrats and lawyers who drafted it fundamentally misunderstood its network architecture and design.