Republican members of the Federal Communications Commission sent a letter to internet company lobbyists that appeared to promise a rollback of net neutrality laws.
“As you know, we dissented from the Commission’s February 2015 Net Neutrality decision, including the Order’s imposition of unnecessary and unjustified burdens on providers ... we will seek to revisit those particular requirements, and the Title II Net Neutrality proceeding more broadly, as soon as possible,” Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly wrote, referring to the legal language that imposed net neutrality rules and reclassified internet service providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act, reported Ars Technica.
Current FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, a Democrat, is expected to be replaced when President-elect Donald Trump takes office. According to Gizmodo, Pai and O'Rielly will have a 2-1 Republican majority after Wheeler leaves.
Trump will then be able to appoint two members to the FCC, giving the GOP even greater control over the FCC and jeopardizing the net neutrality rule.
Title II of the Communications Act forbids ISPs from slowing down the internet speed of certain content and favor sites or platforms over others. Large ISPs like AT&T, Verizon and the cable industry sued to block the rule, reported Bloomberg, because they believed it gave the FCC too much authority.
Although it's not a clear partisan divide, Republicans have been more vocal against net neutrality, in part because President Barack Obama has been in favor of it.
In a speech on Dec. 7 before the Free State Foundation, Pai said he was confident Title II will be revoked.
“On the day that the Title II Order was adopted, I said that 'I don’t know whether this plan will be vacated by a court, reversed by Congress, or overturned by a future Commission. But I do believe that its days are numbered.' Today, I am more confident than ever that this prediction will come true,” Pai said.