FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Takes Victory Lap Over Congress’ Failure To Revive Net Neutrality Rules

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai took a victory lap today as he celebrated the Congress’ failure to revive Obama-era net neutrality rules.

Congressional Democrats spearheaded an effort to overturn the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which wiped earlier bans on blocking or slowing internet traffic or paying for faster delivery.

The Congressional Review Act resolution, which would have nullified the new FCC rules, passed the Senate with support from three Republicans. But it failed to come up for a vote in GOP-dominated House of Representatives, where legislators had until the end of the lame duck session to take action.

That means the clock has run out for sitting lawmakers to reverse the FCC’s rules.

“I’m pleased that a strong bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives declined to reinstate heavy-handed Internet regulation,” Pai said in a statement. “They did the right thing — especially considering the positive results for American consumers since the adoption of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order.”

Pai cited statistics claiming that the FCC’s lighter regulatory approach has led to increased broadband speeds, and a more rapid expansion of fiber to homes than in any previous year.

“As usual, Ajit Pai is full of it,” said Evan Greer of the advocacy group Fight for the Future, which fought to retain the rules. “His claim that broadband speeds are up is the tech policy equivalent of ‘It’s snowing outside, therefore climate change is a hoax.'”

Greer said net neutrality advocates plan to continue fighting the battle.

“The Internet freedom movement is stronger than it’s ever been as we head into 2019,” Greer said in an email to Deadline. “We’ll keep fighting in the states, in the courts, and in Congress. It’s only a matter of time before net neutrality is the law of the land again.”

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