The corruption is almost cartoonish. Under Pai’s leadership, the FCC doesn't even seem to be pretending that it’s acting on behalf of the public. I say this because Pai's decision blatantly ignores the deluge of comments, emails and phone calls from internet users, small businesses and tech experts, as well as polls showing that voters from across the political spectrum overwhelmingly support existing net neutrality protections.
Indeed, Pai seems more committed than ever to taking a sledgehammer to the basic underlying principles that have made the internet such an amazing platform for free expression, creativity and the exchange of ideas. The FCC wants to explicitly make it legal for telecom companies to abuse their monopoly status and act as the editors of the internet, picking and choosing what information we can and cannot see, dictating which startups succeed and which ones fail, deciding which voices and opinions are heard — and which ones are silenced.
The implications at this moment in history are frightening. The free and open internet is the single most important technology we have to hold powerful people and institutions accountable. It also puts food on the table for millions of families, demolishing barriers for those outside the mainstream to express themselves, find an audience for their work and make a living.
Given what’s at stake, it’s perhaps not surprising that the FCC waited for one of the busiest travel weeks of the year to announce its plan. Was it hoping that the holiday weekend would help bury the news?
The FCC has also called for a vote on Dec. 14, and if that happens the proposal will likely pass. After that, telecom lobbyists will set their sites on Capitol Hill, and try to exploit the crisis they created to pass further bad legislation that puts the final nail in net neutrality’s coffin.