While Federal Communications Chairman Chairman Ajit Pai reportedly prepares to terminate Net Neutrality rules, the regulator laid out his agenda to loosen media rules in a speech before the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
"The last thing broadcasting -- or any industry for that matter -- needs is outdated regulations standing in its way," Pai said at the annual NAB conference.
Reflecting the Trump administration's anti-regulatory perspective, Pai said he will propose scaling back rules on broadcasters, cable operators and satellite TV groups at the FCC's May 18 meeting. There are about 1,000 pages of media regulations, he said, suggesting that many are out of date.
"Our goal is simple: to have rules that reflect the world of 2017, not 2007, 1997, 1987, or 1977," Pai said.
The FCC Chairman also wants to push forward the ATSC 3.0, or Next Gen TV, broadcast standard.
The new technology would "marry the advantages of of broadcasting and the Internet," he said, by providing 4k transmissions that are at much higher resolution than current high-definition video, immersive audio and emergency alerts targeting a viewer's specific location beyond the limits of current TV stations. Station owners and others have until June 8 to provide their input and the FCC aims to fully authorize the Next Gen TV standard later this year.
Pai could make clear his ambitions to strike down Net Neutrality provisions from the Obama administration at a Wednesday afternoon speech titled "The Future of Internet Regulation" at the Newseum on Wednesday.
Former FCC Chief Tom Wheeler enacted rules in 2015 that would prevent broadband providers from blocking some content and prioritizing others. Wheeler also reclassified broadband under Title II of the Communications Act, which treats the service as a utility that could be subject to pricing regulation, among other matters.
The issue pits the interests of network operators like Comcast (CMCSA) - Get Comcast Corporation Class A Report , AT&T (T) - Get AT&T Inc. Report , Charter (CHTR) - Get Charter Communications, Inc. Class A Report and Verizon (VZ) - Get Verizon Communications Inc. Report , which operate the infrastructure of the Internet, against ompanies like Alphabet (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report , Facebook (FB) - Get Facebook, Inc. Class A Report , Amazon (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report and others that have developed vast digital businesses online. While broadband providers have supported some net neutrality provisions, they are generally critical of Title II regulations. The FCC declined to comment on the substance of Pai's remarks on Wednesday.
As close as Pai got to Net Neutrality on Tuesday was to slip in a wink to Net Neutrality protestors who RickRolled him at the FCC's meeting in Washington earlier this month. In a variation on the modern prank, the group sang Rick Astley's trademark 80's hit "Never Going to Give You Up" with telecom-inspired lyrics.
While citing the virtues and pleasures of broadcast media at the NAB show, Pai mentioned "a Rick Astley song on the radio that makes us sing along."