FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was taking a bit of a victory lap on Fox's morning show, Fox & Friends Wednesday (Oct. 2) after a federal court generally upheld his deregulation of Internet access.
Asked on the show by host Brian Kilmeade about his "big victory," Pai agreed that was the case and gave his take on what the decision meant.
Pai pointed to the Trump Administration's generally deregulatory philosophy and said the FCC had "followed that." (Fox and Friends is a favorite of President Trump).
He said that the court had upheld the FCC's 2017 decision to reverse Obama-era "heavy-hnaded, utility-style regulations on the internet, which he said treated the internet as a slow-moving utility like, say, Amtrak or a water company. He said that his FCC wanted the internet to move "fast" and for the markets "to determine how this technology develops."
He told Kilmeade that the court had "upheld that decision broadly" and said the FCC was within its rights to treat the internet "using market-based principles." The court, pointing to Supreme Court precedent and deferring somewhat to the FCC's expertise, said the commission's deregulatory decisionmaking was generally on target--it had some issues with how that deregulation would impact public safety and lower-income Americans, but gave the FCC a chance to make that case, which it plans to.
On the issue of speed, Pai said that internet speeds were up 40% since that 2017 deregulatory decision and broadband investment was up for the second year in a row. Pai has argued that the old regs depressed investment, though critics have said that was not the case. The court decided the FCC based that argument on substantial evidence.
Pai said that with the court decision blessing his marketplace approach, it was "full steam ahead."