FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai: Obama’s plan a monumental shift toward government control of the Internet

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai has issued the following statement, verbatim:


Last night, Chairman Wheeler provided his fellow Commissioners with President Obama’s 332- page plan to regulate the Internet. I am disappointed that the plan will not be released publicly. The FCC should be as open and transparent as the Internet itself and post the entire document on its website. Instead, it looks like the FCC will have to pass the President’s plan before the American people will be able to find out what’s really in it.

In the coming days, I look forward to continuing to study the plan i detail. Based on my initial examination, however, several points are apparent.

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai
First, President Obama’s plan marks a monumental shift toward government control of the Internet. It gives the FCC the power to micromanage virtually every aspect of how the Internet works. It’s an overreach that will let a Washington bureaucracy, and not the American people, decide the future of the online world. It’s no wonder that net neutrality proponents are already bragging that it will turn the FCC into the “Department of the Internet.” For that reason, if you like dealing with the IRS, you are going to love the President’s plan.

Second, President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet will increase consumers’ monthly broadband bills. The plan explicitly opens the door to billions of dollars in new taxes on broadband. Indeed, states have already begun discussions on how they will spend the extra money. These new taxes will mean higher prices for consumers and more hidden fees that they have to pay.

Third, President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet will mean slower broadband for American consumers. The plan contains a host of new regulations that will reduce investment in broadband networks. That means slower Internet speeds. It also means that many rural Americans will have to wait longer for access to quality broadband.

Fourth, President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet will hurt competition and innovation and move us toward a broadband monopoly. The plan saddles small, independent businesses and entrepreneurs with heavy-handed regulations that will push them out of the market. As a result, Americans will have fewer broadband choices. This is no accident. Title II was designed to regulate a monopoly. If we impose that model on a vibrant broadband marketplace, a highly regulated monopoly is what we’ll get. We shouldn’t bring Ma Bell back to life in this dynamic, digital age.

Fifth, President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet is an unlawful power grab. Courts have twice thrown out the FCC’s attempts at Internet regulation. There’s no reason to think that the third time will be the charm. Even a cursory look at the plan reveals glaring legal flaws that are sure to mire the agency in the muck of litigation for a long, long time.

And sixth, the American people are being misled about what is in President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet. The rollout earlier in the week was obviously intended to downplay the plan’s massive intrusion into the Internet economy. Beginning next week, I look forward to sharing with the public key aspects of what this plan will actually do.

Source: FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai

Ajit Pai was nominated to the Federal Communications Commission by President Barack Obama and on May 7, 2012 was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate. On May 14, 2012, he was sworn in for a term that concludes on June 30, 2016.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote over eight years ago:

We don’t presume to know the best way to get there, but we support the concept of “Net Neutrality” especially as it pertains to preventing the idea of ISP’s blocking or otherwise impeding sites that don’t pay the ISP to ensure equal access. That said, we usually prefer the government to be hands-off wherever possible, Laissez-faire, except in cases where the free market obviously cannot adequately self-regulate (antitrust, for just one example). Regulations are static and the marketplace is fluid, so extensive regulations can have unintended, unforeseen results down the road. We sincerely hope that there are enough forces in place and/or that the balances adjust in such a manner as to keep the ‘Net neutral.MacDailyNews Take, June 9, 2006

Related articles:
Congress launches investigation as Republicans claim Obama had ‘improper influence’ over so-called ‘net neutrality’ – February 7, 2015
FCC chairman proposes to regulate ISP’s under Title II – February 4, 2015
U.S. congressional Republicans’ bill aims to head off Obama’s so-called ‘net neutrality’ plan – January 17, 2015
U.S. Congressional proposal offers Internet rules of the road – January 15, 2015
U.S. FCC says it will vote on so-called ‘net neutrality’ in February – January 3, 2015
FCC hopes its rules for so-called ‘net neutrality’ survive inevitable litigation – November 22, 2014
Obama-appointed FCC chairman distances himself from Obama on so-called ‘net neutrality’ – November 12, 2014
What does so-called ‘net neutrality’ mean for Apple? – November 12, 2014
AT&T to pause fiber investment until net neutrality rules are decided – November 12, 2014
There’s no one to root for in the debate over so-called ‘net neutrality’ – November 11, 2014
U.S. FCC plays Russian Roulette with so-called ‘net neutrality’ – November 11, 2014
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner: Republicans will continue efforts to stop misguided scheme to regulate the Internet – November 10, 2014
Tech Freedom: Obama cynically exploits confusion over Title II, misses opportunity to lead on legislative deal – November 10, 2014
Obama want FCC to regulate the Internet; Cruz calls it ‘Obamacare for the Internet’ – November 10, 2014


  1. Recently, while I was checking the sprinkler system in my front lawn, my neighbors and their daughter stopped to chat.

    I asked their little girl what she wanted to be when she grew up. She said she wanted to be President of the United States someday. Her parents, who have an Obama sticker on their Prius, were standing there so I asked her, “If you were President what would be the first thing you would do?”

    She replied, “I’d give food and houses to all the homeless people.”

    Her parents beamed with pride!

    “What a wonderful goal!” I said. “But you don’t have to wait until you’re President to do that.”

    “What do you mean?” she replied.

    I explained, “You can come over to my house and do some yard work, and I’ll pay you $50. Then you can go over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward food and a new house.” She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, “Why doesn’t the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?”

    I said, “Welcome to the Republican Party.”

    Her parents aren’t speaking to me, which, I have to admit, doesn’t bother me in the least.

        1. Wasn’t much else there, dude… 50.00 to a homeless guy, that’ll do it!! Sounds like you could personally take care of our economic woes. Why don’t you run for president?

  2. I want net neutrality, but not at the cost of Internet freedom. Whenever government gets involved, freedom diminishes. It is a rule. It never works the other way around. I can already foresee needing a license to get a domain name and put up a website. I can foresee a national internet identity agency popping up, massive bureaucracies who’s sole purpose is to “insure our internet safety.”

    When it comes to the lesser of two evils, I’ll take the guy who wants to make money over the guy who wants more power over me any day.

  3. it should be obvious why it’s essential to the 322-page plan’s passage to keep it from the public beforehand or iow, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, period and if you like your plan, you can keep your plan, period.

  4. Yes, because leaving it in the hands of a company like Comcast is a much much better idea.

    And FWIW, for all the bitching MDN has done over the years about John Dvorak being a hit whore, you’d think they’d take their own advice and stop with the political headline hit-whoring.

    Of course since all their comments are curated, I doubt any of you will ever read this.

      1. MDN recognizes that at the core of almost all of our technology interests, Mac or iOS devices vs. everything else is this thing called the Internet. At the foundation of its ability to present us with the news we find relevant is the Internet. Nothing is more relevant to information technology than The Internet.

        Bringing information that is vital to the ongoing free and independent nature of the Internet is not hit-whoring. It’s acting responsibly.

    1. Typical Democrats. It’s fine to cover a story, “Net Neutrality,” but only when it’s slanted to conform to your cloistered worldview where more government is always the solution and Republicans are eviiillll. Anything that fails to conform to Democrat doctrine is labeled negatively.

      How Democrats operate. Every anti-Pai comment on this page (including those from AAPLer, Arnold Ziffel, berrylium, Xavier, -hh, Jeff, Tflint, sccaldwell, and Elmer FUD) is deploying one or more of these rules (whether they even realize it or not):

      Saul Alinsky’s 12 Rules for Radicals

      RULE 1: “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood. (These are two things of which there is a plentiful supply. Government and corporations always have a difficult time appealing to people, and usually do so almost exclusively with economic arguments.)

      RULE 2: “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone. (Organizations under attack wonder why radicals don’t address the “real” issues. This is why. They avoid things with which they have no knowledge.)

      RULE 3: “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.)

      RULE 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules. (This is a serious rule. The besieged entity’s very credibility and reputation is at stake, because if activists catch it lying or not living up to its commitments, they can continue to chip away at the damage.)

      RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions. (They want to create anger, confusion, and fear. They want to change the argument from those they cannot win.)

      RULE 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones. (Radical activists, in this sense, are no different that any other human being. We all avoid “un-fun” activities, and but we revel at and enjoy the ones that work and bring results.)

      RULE 7: “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” Don’t become old news. (Even radical activists get bored. So to keep them excited and involved, organizers are constantly coming up with new tactics.)

      RULE 8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Attack, attack, attack from all sides, never giving the reeling organization a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-strategize.)

      RULE 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist. (Perception is reality. Large organizations always prepare a worst-case scenario, something that may be furthest from the activists’ minds. The upshot is that the organization will expend enormous time and energy, creating in its own collective mind the direst of conclusions. The possibilities can easily poison the mind and result in demoralization.)

      RULE 10: “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog. (Unions used this tactic. Peaceful [albeit loud] demonstrations during the heyday of unions in the early to mid-20th Century incurred management’s wrath, often in the form of violence that eventually brought public sympathy to their side.)

      RULE 11: “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem. (Old saw: If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Activist organizations have an agenda, and their strategy is to hold a place at the table, to be given a forum to wield their power. So, they have to have a compromise solution.)

      RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)

  5. Can anyone explain how these rules will actually make your internet better?

    You can’t regulate reality off the shelf just like you can’t snap your fingers and make the internet better.

    It doesn’t take 300 pages to say “no fast lanes” so what else will they do to make it worth this?

    I would enjoy a serious answer.

  6. How do you know who is telling the truth, Pai or Obama?
    Even a well educated person cannot figure out what is going on.
    Sometimes it is not the law it is the implementation of the law over time that matters.

  7. Mr Pai said
    “It’s an overreach that will let a Washington bureaucracy, and not the American people, ” [control the Internet]

    That’s a bit of an exaggeration/misstatement. The Internet, for me, is controlled by my Internet provider. The alternatives are the FCC or the private corporations that control access. And frankly, I prefer being at the tech the FCC to my cable company or TV provider.

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