Ep. 25: Net Neutrality with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

Trump's FCC chair shuts down celebrities pushing net neutrality conspiracy theory

Public Interest Groups Urge FCC Chairman to Delay Net Neutrality Vote to Dismantle Rules

"The FCC is on course to eliminate net neutrality guided by a record corrupted by hundreds of thousands of filings with stolen identities", Rosenworcel said. Sign up for the free Good Morning Silicon Valley newsletter.

Blumenthal and Hassan were joined by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Jack Reed (D-RI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Angus King (I-ME), Al Franken (D-MN), and Cory Booker (D-NJ). The Democratic commissioners are against Pai's plan to roll back net neutrality rules.

With the FCC set to vote on chairman Ajit Pai's plan to kill neutrality in just over a week, a diverse coalition-ranging from consumer protection organizations to progressive lawmakers to Harvard professors-is denouncing the FCC's proposals and scheduling nationwide protests to combat the agency's move to let massive telecom companies "cash in on the internet" at the expense of consumers.

Reached by email, an FCC spokesperson said there would be "no comment" regarding the inspector general's offer and instead attacked Schneiderman's investigation, claiming its only goal is to delay the December 14th vote to repeal the Obama-era net neutrality rules-which the FCC refers to as "restoring Internet freedom".

Twenty-eight US senators, including Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, also sent a letter to Pai Monday urging him to postpone the vote in light of the investigation. Pai, who was appointed by Trump to lead the FCC, has argued that "these heavy-handed regulations" restrict internet service providers and make it harder for providers to build out their networks, he said in a statement last month. "The FCC has held zero public hearings".

The FCC does not require commenters to verify their identity, and features on the FCC website allow multiple comments to be uploaded from the same computer at once. The FCC's official response is name calling. Further, Schneiderman notes that 50,000 consumer complaints are missing from the FCC record. "Anyone else see the irony?" Schneiderman said it's a more "mixed bag" now.

When SiliconBeat asked Rep. Anna Eshoo, who represents part of Silicon Valley, whether she has received a lot of feedback on this issue from her constituents, she replied, "oh my goodness, yes". According to the sources, Chairman Pai's staff had expressed concern that any attempt to block fraudulent comments would result in accusations that Pai was trying to censor net neutrality advocates.

Jessica Rosenworcel, one of two Democratic commissioners now on the FCC, also called for the vote to be delayed pending a full investigation. "The FCC chairman and his staff have responded by stonewalling".

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