Internet firms winding up for a fight on 'net neutrality'

26 April, 2017, 08:59 | Author: Elaine Woods
  • Report: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Meets With Tech Firms to Seek Feedback on Net Neutrality Rules

He also cited his plan to relax or repeal of numerous 1,000 pages of regulations on the book, and said that in the next FCC open meeting, a comprehensive rules review will be voted upon, with industry input encouraged.

Chairman Ajit Pai said on Tuesday the top US telecommunications regulator would launch a "comprehensive review" of media regulations and overhaul rules that restrict consolidation among media companies, potentially opening the door to a wave of deals among broadcasters and newspapers.

"We need to see which rules are still necessary and which should be relaxed or repealed", Pai said.

He also hinted that the commission would look to roll back regulations on media ownership. But the FCC did not have a review between 2006 and 2016.

They are preaching to the choir given that Pai has also been highly critical of the general conduct standard, but they are concerned about getting it off the books so it is not a tool for a different administration that might view it differently, like the Democratic Wheeler FCC that voted to impose it-Pai and his Republican colleague, Michael O'Rielly, voted against it.

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One high-profile rule likely to be scrutinized limits a TV station group to a 39% national audience share.

In 2016, the FCC under President Barack Obama voted to retain almost all rules limiting cross-ownership of newspapers, radio and TV stations in the same market.

In 1975, the FCC banned cross-ownership of a newspaper and broadcast station in the same market unless it granted a waiver, but allowed existing ownership structures to remain in place.

"Vin Scully tried to call the plays fast and let the crowd do the talking", Pai said. The decision could lead to a possible acquisition by Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc (SBGI.O) of Tribune Media Co (TRCO.N), some Democrats in Congress said. Instead, his first 100 days have been a blanket assault on consumer safeguards, with FCC Chairman Pai putting dominant cable and broadband providers first and consumers last.

"By doing the immediate reclassification without comment and without process, it would give opponents of what he's trying to do greater confidence that they can prevail eventually with litigation", said an industry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to speak more freely.

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