Vowing a fight, the new head of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, will release proposed rules Thursday that would roll back Obama-era internet regulations — so-called net neutrality rules.
The rollback would benefit big telecom companies such as Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T, which have fought the rules and fear price regulation over broadband services.
Internet companies that campaigned for a "free internet" — or one in which websites cannot be blocked or traffic interfered with — are likely to oppose Pai's proposed rollback.
Net-neutrality rules were a signature accomplishment of the FCC under President Barack Obama. But Pai has said for weeks that he was considering reversing them.
Comcast was quick to point out Wednesday that it would not violate its prior promises on how it treated the internet.
"To be clear, we continue to strongly support a free and open internet and the preservation of modern, strong, and legally enforceable net-neutrality protections,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement. “We don’t block, throttle, or discriminate against lawful content delivered over the internet, and we are committed to continuing to manage our business and network with the goal of providing the best possible consumer experience.”
Comcast is the nation's largest residential-internet provider, with more than 20 million broadband subscribers.
Pai disclosed his much-awaited plans in prepared remarks for a Washington speech on Wednesday.
"Make no mistake about it," Pai said in remarks released by the FCC. "This is a fight that we intend to wage and it is a fight that we are going to win."