Net neutrality? Bye bye, says American Pai

Net neutrality? Bye bye, says American Pai

Speaking today (February 28) at Mobile World Congress (MWC) Ajit Pai, president Donald Trump's controversial choice to lead the commission, made no real claims easing concerns net neutrality is now under review but hinted that on the horizon is a less stringent regulatory regime for telecoms providers is in the works.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said on Monday that he does not expect the AT&T-Time Warner deal to be subject to his agency's approval.

While at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, some discussed whether the USA market should consolidate to allow companies to invest in 5G, according to Variety.

AT&T's buyout of the New York-based multinational media company would not involve the transfer of any airwave licenses, which was "the regulatory hook for FCC review", Pai said while speaking to a Journal reporter at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

He praised legislation passed during the presidency of Bill Clinton that "set the Internet free from heavy-handed government regulation".

Asked to confirm that it was his view that there was no current reason for the FCC to review the mega-deal, he said: "That's correct". Edward Markey, D-Mass gave out a statement, "It's not surprising that AT&T would claim the proposed deal benefits consumers, but we need an objective review ... to truly evaluate how merging two massive companies into one behemoth will benefit my constituents and consumers from coast to coast".

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Last week, Time Warner said it plans to sell its only FCC-regulated broadcast station, WPCH-TV in Atlanta - the former WTBS - to Meredith Corp. for $70 million, a move created to ease regulatory concerns. While the FCC was originally expected to scrutinize the deal, chances of that happening became slim after Time Warner sold its Atlanta TV station to Meredith Corporation last week, thus removing a major factor that could have prompted the Commission to review the deal.

The deal will still have to be cleared by the Justice Department.

But, in this speech at least, he appeared less interested in coming up with a long-term solution and more interested in unraveling the past few years of FCC decisions and putting his personal stamp on things. The president hasn't commented on it since taking office, however.

Littick, whose company owns an AM radio station, said Pai "is certainly well aware of the struggles of AM and the revitalization of parts of AM, and I salute his championing of that cause".

The FCC is by far the bigger threat, since it has a broad mandate to kill mergers it thinks aren't in the "public interest", and can also put restrictions on the merger.