Chairman Pai joined the FCC as a Commissioner in 2012 and was designated as Chairman by President Trump in January 2017. He has been a leader in the effort to restore the rule of law to federal communications regulation.
Last November, Chairman Pai gave remarks explaining the "Restoring Internet Freedom" order, which undid the FCC's unprecedented overreach in 2015 that created the so-called "net neutrality" policy:
First: what will the plan do? When you cut through the legal terms and technical jargon, it’s very simple. The plan to restore Internet freedom will bring back the same legal framework that was governing the Internet three years ago today and that has governed the Internet for most of its existence. . . . Until 2015, the FCC treated high-speed Internet access as a lightly-regulated “information service” under Title I of the Communications Act. A few years ago, the Obama Administration instructed the FCC to change course. And it did, on a party-line vote in 2015; it classified Internet access as a heavily-regulated “telecommunications service” under Title II of the Communications Act. If the plan is adopted on December 14, we’ll simply reverse the FCC’s 2015 decision and go back to the pre-2015 Title I framework. . . .
Much of the problem stems from the vague Internet conduct standard that the Commission adopted in 2015—a standard that I’m proposing to repeal. Under this standard, the FCC didn’t say specifically what conduct was prohibited. Instead, it gave itself a roving mandate to second-guess new service offerings, new features, and new business models. Understandably, businesses asked for clarity on how this standard would be applied. My predecessor’s answer, and I quote: “We don’t know, we’ll have to see where things go.” That’s the very definition of regulatory uncertainty. . . .
Many critics don’t seem to understand that we are moving from heavy-handed regulation to lighttouch regulation, not a completely hands-off approach. We aren’t giving anybody a free pass. We are simply shifting from one-size-fits-all pre-emptive regulation to targeted enforcement based on actual market failure or anticompetitive conduct. . . . By turning back time, so to speak, and returning Internet regulation to the pre-2015 era, we will expand broadband networks and bring high-speed Internet access to more Americans, not fewer. . . .
This reminds me of another point, one that’s been brought home to me the past few days. This debate needs, our culture needs, a more informed discussion about public policy. We need quality information, not hysteria, because hysteria takes us to unpleasant, if not dangerous places. We can disagree on policy. But we shouldn’t demonize, especially when all of us share the same goal of a free and open Internet. . . . So when you get past the wild accusations, fearmongering, and hysteria, here’s the boring bottom line: the plan to restore Internet freedom would return us to the light touch, market-based approach under which the Internet thrived.We are grateful to Chairman Pai for his leadership, his commitment to the rule of law, and his steadfast support for freedom from regulatory overreach in the face of harsh and violent criticism. We are honored for to address the RNLA next Friday, and we invite you to join us.