Ajit Varadaraj Pai (R)uining the Internet as we know it.

Who is Ajit V. Pai?

Ajit V. Pai is the chairman of the FCC as of January 2017. Appointed by President Trump, Mr. Pai aims to revoke the Title II classification of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as common carriers. This would mark the end of Net Neutrality as we know it, giving ISPs complete power over the internet - including the ability to outright ban certain websites on their network.

Ajit has spent several years as a lawyer for Verizon, and is seen more as an "ally to [television] broadcasters" than a steward of the FCC.

What are his intentions?

We can't say we know exactly, but most of the arguments against Net Neutrality revolve around money. For example, the ISPs claim a "free market" right to levy tiered pricing upon the public, instead of the equal pricing enforced under the Title II protections in the spirit of free speech. It appears that Ajit Pai's intentions are to help the entrenched ISP duopoly that controls the United States make even more money.

Here are some things that ISPs could do without the current restrictions:

  • Create "Internet Highways" (slowing the rest of the internet down) - that is to say, extort companies for more bandwidth on top of paying for bandwidth in their plan.
  • Create website packages - without Net Neutrality we may have to pay to access certain websites and services. Imagine this:
  • And more...

What is Net Neutrality and the Open Internet?

Net Neutrality is the internet's guiding principle: It preserves our right to communicate freely online. Net Neutrality means an internet that enables and protects free speech. It means that ISPs should provide us with open networks — and shouldn't block or discriminate against any applications or content that ride over those networks. Just as your phone company shouldn't decide who you call and what you say on that call, your ISP shouldn't interfere with the content you view or post online. Without Net Neutrality, cable and phone companies could carve the internet into fast and slow lanes. An ISP could slow down its competitors' content or block political opinions it disagreed with. ISPs could charge extra fees to the few content companies that could afford to pay for preferential treatment — relegating everyone else to a slower tier of service. This would destroy the open internet. savetheinternet.com

What is Title II?

Title II is part of the Communications Act of 1934. In essence, it prevents service providers from abusing customers. In 2015, an update to the Communications Act modernized the literature and reclassified ISPs under Title II as "common carriers". This change gave the FCC oversight of ISPs, allowing them to ensure net neutrality, and even set prices for services provided by ISPs.

What does all of this mean?

If Pai's plans come to fruition, ISPs will no longer be regulated by the FCC. Instead, it will be up to the FTC to protect consumers (read "EVERYONE", including businesses!) from harmful business practices. ISPs have actively fought net neutrality in the past, and they're certain to continue.

Without FCC intervention, ISPs can block access to sites, extort companies for using more bandwidth than others, and cap and throttle network speeds for users - and they have.

  • Madison River Communications blocked VOIP services. The FCC put a stop to it. (2005)
  • Comcast denied access to p2p services without notifying customers. (2005)
  • AT&T blocked Skype and other VOIPs because they didn't like the competition for their cellphone services. (2007)
  • MetroPCS tried to block all streaming except YouTube. They actually sued the FCC over this. (2011)
  • AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon blocked access to tethering apps on the Android marketplace, with Google's help. (2011)
  • AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon blocked access to Google Wallet because it competed with their payment apps. (2011)
  • Verizon demanded Google block tethering apps on android because it let owners avoid their $20 tethering fee. This was despite guaranteeing they wouldn't do that as part of a winning bid on an airwaves auction. They were fined $1.25million over this. (2012)
  • AT&T tried to block access to FaceTime unless customers paid more money. (2012)
  • Verizon stated that the only thing stopping them from favoring some content providers over other providers were the net neutrality rules in place. (2013)
  • Time Warner Cable refused to upgrade their lines in order to get more money out of Riot Games (creators of League of Legends) and Netflix. (2017)

We cannot allow this type of behavior to continue.

What can I do?

Send a comment to the FCC! The original link to send comments has been removed, and a new, more obscure one has been added. Because of this, I've attached a guide here on how to file a comment.

You can also send comments to through the EFF's "Dear FCC" website: https://dearfcc.org/

Call the FCC at: 1-888-CALL FCC (225-5322).

Contact your Representatives and Senators! Let them know Net Neutrality matters to you! Collectively we have a voice.