FCC scraps net neutrality investigations of AT&T, Verizon, T

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This move, accompanied by a data cap exemptions ('or zero-rating') report, came towards the end of democrat Tom Wheeler's chairmanship. "While the previous leadership at the FCC did not embrace this idea, I applaud FCC Chairman Pai for setting an early example in his chairmanship by releasing the text of the rules before the Commission votes and appreciate Commissioner O'Rielly's commitment to this effort...." After Verizon, he spent most of eight years moving between legal counsel roles for Senate committees, the Justice Department, private legal practice and the FCC's Office of General Counsel before being named to a Republican seat to the Commission by former President Obama. The issue is that by zero-rating their own services over others, carriers were creating an unfair advantage, a slippery slope and something that had the potential of violating net neutrality laws.

In letters made public Friday, the FCC informed each company that it was closing its inquiries into the programs, which let customers use specific types of data without counting against their monthly data allotments.

"By comparison to AT&T, which need not incur a comparable out-of-pocket expenditure to offer DirecTV Now on a zero-rated basis".

The Federal Communications Commission may not require some Internet service providers to comply with parts of the commission's net neutrality order, which are onerous for smaller cable operators and municipal broadband providers, according to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

The FCC had challenged the practice as a violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of its net neutrality protections. "The Bureau now sets aside and rescinds the Policy Review Report and any and all guidance, determinations, and conclusions contained therein, including the document's draft framework". T-Mobile and Verizon have similar unlimited data programs for certain TV and music streaming apps. In 2016, the commission adopted a comprehensive reform called the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order that included broadband internet as a support service.

MORE: What is Lifeline, and how does it work?

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By stopping companies such as Kajeet from accessing the Lifeline program, Pai might be signaling his intention to apply more restrictions to the Lifeline program, policy analysts said.

Pai did not reverse the rule; doing so is outside of the scope of the chairman's authority.

Regulators are telling nine companies they won't be allowed to participate in a federal program meant to help them provide affordable internet access to low-income consumers - weeks after those companies had been given the green light. All nine had previously been given the go-ahead.

"I'm most concerned about the children we serve", Kajeet founder Daniel Neal told the Post. One of those companies, Kajeet, has partnered with school districts in 41 states and the District of Columbia to provide internet to underserved communities.

Reconsidering the petitions will "promote program integrity" and give the FCC "additional time to consider measures that might be necessary to prevent further waste, fraud, and abuse in the Lifeline program", the FCC wrote.

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