It only took a matter of days before Ajit Pai, Trump’s Federal Communications Commission administrators, proved dangerously untrustworthy when it comes to the issue of net neutrality.
Many people questioned the appointment of a former Verizon lawyer to the head of the FCC, but those fears are now being realized with the withdrawal of the Policy Review Report. In that document, AT&T and Verizon were reprimanded for violating current net neutrality rules. Other reports were withdrawn dealing with Comcast and the subsidization of internet for those with little to no income.
What makes this move truly frightening is the fact that nearly all of the previous administration’s work on enforcing net neutrality rules from May 2016 onward has essentially been eliminated. It took less than a week to undo significant progress in the net neutrality arena, while there are currently no new net neutrality bills in Congress. Even if a new bill were to be submitted, Republicans hold sway over every House and Senate committee.
With much of the attention focused on President Trump himself, there is a very good chance that House Republicans will re-introduce the No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act bill that got shut down by President Obama last year, within the next couple of months.
Since the FCC chair seems cozy enough with large telecom companies to basically remove any hint of enforcement of current restrictions, it’s nearly guaranteed that the GOP will go ahead with a complete loosening of any net neutrality regulations. Without the threat of a presidential veto looming over it, there is a good chance the new version of H.R. 2666 will get fast-tracked through Congress this Spring. By the start of summer, Trump may put pen to paper to sign it into law.
If this passes, you are likely to see prices for streaming options such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc. all go up, while at the same time seeing slower speeds for websites and streaming services that do not enter into agreements with large internet providers.