Business

FCC, tech companies talk net neutrality

WASHINGTON — Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, met with Facebook and other tech companies this week to seek feedback on his intention to unwind aspects of net neutrality, the rules that require broadband providers to make all Internet content equally accessible for consumers.

Pai said on Thursday that his visits with executives at Facebook, Cisco, Oracle, and Intel were constructive and that he believed the companies wanted to find “common ground.”

Web companies have supported net neutrality, saying the protections guard them from paying tolls to get their content in front of consumers. Pai said that he agreed with the broad principles of net neutrality but that the rules, created in 2015, went too far in restricting broadband providers.

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“I think they were appreciative,” Pai said of the tech companies. “I have been soliciting thoughts on online protections.”

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Appointed by President Trump in January, Pai has been on a deregulation charge. On Thursday, he passed two actions that will ease pricing restrictions on telecom companies and give broadcast TV companies greater latitude to bulk up through mergers.

Pai’s biggest targets are net neutrality and the classification of broadband like a utility. He has the broad support of Republican lawmakers and is expected to introduce a plan that would weaken aspects of the net neutrality rules as soon as this month.