Shepard Goldfein and James A. Keyte (ljh)
When Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency, the entire world began to speculate as to what regulatory changes the Trump administration would advance. The administration’s January appointment of Republican Ajit Pai to Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) signaled a clear and present threat to the Obama FCC’s net neutrality rules. In 2015, Pai voted against his predecessor’s proposal for the net neutrality rules and has been outspoken about his disapproval of them since his fellow commissioners overruled him. On April 26, 2017, Pai explicitly confirmed what we all presumed, all but declaring war on the regulation that enabled the FCC to adopt the net neutrality rules.1 Pai released a proposal for his plan of action the next day. On May 18, 2017, the three FCC commissioners, two of whom are Republicans, including Pai, will vote on the proposal. If it succeeds, the proposal still faces months of comments, widespread public debate, and potential revisions. But for all practical purposes, practitioners and their clients should prepare themselves for a world without net neutrality regulatory framework—i.e., one in which antitrust and the courts will police the Internet highway.
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