The Federal Communications Commision, the federal agency tasked with regulating broadband Internet access, will make major shifts to the way it oversees the industry and the companies that build it in an effort to make sure the commission follows through on President Obama’s pledge to put more money into innovation.
Ahead of his expected announcement Wednesday, the commission will hold a major public hearing, as well as a closed-door meeting in the coming days with the top broadband executives and executives from the cable and phone companies to discuss how they will approach the industry.
The companies are expected to share their ideas on how to improve the commission’s authority and work to ensure the commission remains accountable to the public.
The changes announced Wednesday will take effect on Jan. 1, 2018, and will require the commission to amend the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the Communications Act to make it easier for the commission and its staff to issue rules.
The commission, which is composed of six members, will be empowered to issue new rules and regulations as it sees fit.
That includes a provision that would allow the FCC to issue regulations requiring broadband companies to obtain the consent of the public before they can issue rules to consumers.
It also would allow for a review of existing rules and require the FCC staff to report back to Congress every six months on how they are impacting consumers.
“This is not a partisan issue,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said at the commission meeting Wednesday.
“This is an issue that affects the American people.
The American people are going to be in control of the FCC.
We’re going to make decisions that will help our country, that will give Americans a better Internet.”
The changes will allow the commission a greater role in regulating the industry, and allow it to impose tougher rules on broadband providers that have repeatedly broken the law.
The commission has issued multiple rules to require Internet providers to provide customers with a basic level of service and to provide consumers with more choice.
The changes to its rules will allow it and the industry to better police the industry in a way that will make it safer, and help consumers.
Pai said the commission was “unable to adequately respond to the challenges posed by the Internet, which was created to deliver high-quality Internet access to every American.”
The commission’s decision to make these changes comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which said the agency has failed to do enough to ensure consumers have the right to access the Internet.
The FCC has issued a number of rules designed to prevent the internet from becoming a utility, but Pai said the industry has failed at the same time to ensure that broadband providers are complying with those rules.
The agency said it will also begin investigating whether broadband providers have abused the authority granted to them under the Communications Decency Act.
Paine said he is hopeful the FCC will be able to adopt the rules without making too many changes to them.
Pai said he will make recommendations on the changes to his proposed regulatory framework during his first weeks in office.
He also said he plans to bring forward legislation to make changes to those rules, and he said he hopes to make the FCC more transparent and accountable to Congress.
“When it comes to the broadband industry, the Commission is an agency that is going to do everything it can to make certain that the Internet is the fastest, most reliable, and most transparent infrastructure in the country,” Pai said.