On Fox News, FCC Chair Blames 'Obama FCC' For 'Treating the Internet Like a Slow-Moving Utility'

Following the Trump administration's victory Tuesday with a federal appeals court upholding the net neutrality repeal, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai went on Fox News and blamed the "Obama FCC" for "treating the internet like a slow-moving utility."

Pai was asked by Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade on Wednesday to explain net neutrality in layman's terms and provide background on the Trump administration's challenge to the rules imposed during the Obama administration.

"So back in 2015, the Obama FCC imposed these heavy-handed utility-style regulations on the internet, treating the internet like slow-moving utility, a water company or Amtrak in the like," Pai said.

The FCC chairman continued, "In 2017, we decided no, we want the internet to move fast and we have infrastructure development, and we want the market to determine how this technology develops. The court of appeals in Washington upheld that decision broadly yesterday."

Pai continued that the FCC was within its rights "to treat the internet using market-based principles" and that he was "very excited" for consumers, claiming that the net neutrality appeal decision sped up the internet in the U.S. up to "40 percent on average year over year." Pai said that investment in infrastructure is up for the second year and that millions more Americans are getting on the internet.

The chairman added that broadband infrastructure is difficult to build and "the harder regulations make it to build a business case for building these networks, the less likely it is those networks will be built."

Obama's net neutrality rules barred internet providers including AT&T and Comcast from blocking certain sites or billing customers for better quality services or specific content.

Fox & Friends invites FCC chair Ajit Pai to lie about Net Neutrality, blaming the "Obama FCC" for "treating the internet like a slow-moving utility" until "in 2017 we decided no, we want the internet to move fast" and with "market-based principles." pic.twitter.com/WKWJwXvM0Q

— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) October 2, 2019

Media Matters for America researcher Bobby Lewis, who live-tweets Fox & Friends, shared the interview clip and tweeted that the show invited Pai "to lie about Net Neutrality."

"It's ghoulish watching these vultures call the death of net neutrality some waxy prose about free market principles and investment, when what it really means is letting your (internet service provider) charge more depending on what you do online," Lewis tweeted. "Money executives will almost certainly keep for themselves."

Lewis continued, "Does anybody really think the story of net neutrality is 'big government Obama slowed down the internet because he loves regulation, and now President Trump says it should be fast?' I mean my God."

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit also ruled that the FCC overstepped its power by stopping state and local governments from regulating internet use in their own jurisdictions.

Ajit Pai Net Neutrality Fox
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai listens during a commission meeting December 14, 2017, in Washington, D.C. Alex Wong/Getty