Issues

FCC Commissioner: ‘If You Like Your Wireless Plan, You Should Be Able to Keep It’

Ajit Pai 332 page plan
Ajit Pai holding President Obama's 223-page plan / Twitter

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai is out with a new message to fight net neutrality: "If you like your wireless plan, you should be able to keep it."

Borrowing the phrase from President Obama, the Republican commissioner penned an op-ed with Federal Trade Commissioner (FTC) Joshua Wright, raising concerns with Obama’s 332-page plan to regulate the Internet.

While the president insists his plan is for a "free and open Internet," Pai and Wright said net neutrality is anything but.

"If you like your wireless plan, you should be able to keep it. But new federal regulations may take away your freedom to choose the best broadband plan for you," they wrote in the editorial published in the Chicago Tribune Thursday. "It's all part of the federal government's 332-page plan to regulate the Internet like a public utility—a plan President Barack Obama asked the Federal Communications Commission to implement in November and that is coming up for a vote Feb. 26."

Pai, who has become the leading critic against Internet regulation, said the most troubling aspect of net neutrality is the "Internet conduct" rule.

"It's a vague rule that gives the FCC almost unfettered discretion to micromanage virtually every aspect of the Internet, including the choices that consumers have for accessing it," Pai and Wright wrote. "If a company doesn't want to offer an expensive, unlimited data plan, it could find itself in the FCC's cross hairs."

Activists who favor the Internet conduct rule have gone after MetroPCS for offering unlimited YouTube streaming and T-Mobile for their similar plan that offers unlimited music streaming.

The editorial blasted the White House and the FCC for keeping the president’s plan out of public view. The plan will remain private until the FCC commissioners vote on it. Of the agency’s five commissioners, Pai is the lone Republican.

Pai and Wright concluded that the Internet is an "unparalleled success story," that does not need additional regulation. The FTC already has the authority to act against anti-competitive and deceptive practices on the Internet, they said.

"The great irony here is that the Internet isn't broken, and we don't need the president's plan to ‘fix’ it," Pai and Wright said.