In recent weeks, Pai has considered immediately invalidating that aspect of the net neutrality rules, some people familiar with the matter said, by issuing a so-called declaratory ruling that would undo the work of his Democratic predecessor, former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler.
Pai's office declined to comment. Democrats and privacy advocates have said net neutrality is crucial to keeping the internet open. The regulations reclassified ISPs much like utilities.
"The last thing broadcast needs are outdated rules standing in their way", he said to loud applause.
Internet companies are readying for a showdown with a Republican-controlled government over a policy near and dear to their hearts: net neutrality.
Pai has called the net neutrality rules a mistake that "injected tremendous uncertainty into the broadband market". Instead, Pai has indicated that he wants to replace the hard rules with "voluntary commitments" by large ISPs that they'll remain on their best behavior.
Pai has said in the past that he is not opposed to some form of net neutrality protection, but it must be without the common carrier designation.
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AT&T also announced acquisitions of Fiber Tower and Straight Path to add millimeter wave spectrum assets to spruce up 5G. Total business wireline revenues were $7.4 billion, down 7 percent year over year.
The Internet Association, a group representing Facebook Inc (FB.O), Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) and others, met with Pai this month and said "the internet industry is uniform in its belief that net neutrality preserves the consumer experience, competition, and innovation online", according to a letter filed with the FCC.
Nearly two dozen smaller ISPs have told FCC chairman Ajit Pai that the FCC's 2015 Open Internet order reclassifying ISPs as Title II common carrier telecom services "hangs like a black cloud", a cloud they are urging him to dispel ASAP.
Pai told Reuters last Thursday he had been meeting with Internet companies and trade groups to discuss safeguarding an open Internet. The FCC rules require the service provider to treat all web traffic equally and not to block or slow down the traffic to particular websites.
The industry's giants, however, have mostly stayed silent beyond offering blanket statements of support for net neutrality.
Fortunately, in 2015 the Federal Communications Commission put in place light touch net neutrality rules that not only prohibit certain harmful practices, but also allow the Commission to develop and enforce rules to address new forms of discrimination.