President-elect Donald Trump often hasn’t been much for details when it comes to policy positions, but recent appointments to his transition team may signal his administration’s stance on an important issue important to internet advocates. On Monday, the Trump team added two vocal opponents of net neutrality to its staff to oversee its agenda on telecommunications.
One of the newly appointed advisors is Jeff Eisenach, an aide of the Federal Trade Commission during the Ronald Reagan administration. He serves as the Director of the Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy at the American Enterprise Institute.
While speaking on the topic of net neutrality in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2014, Eisenach stated, “net neutrality would not improve consumer welfare or protect the public interest” and argued described it as “an effort by one set of private interests to enrich itself by using the power of the state to obtain free services from another.”
Eisenach was also the subject of a New York Times report that found he was a paid consultant for Verizon and its trade association at the time he testified.
Eisenach’s partner on the Trump transition team that will shape policy regarding the Federal Communications Commission is Mark Jamison, the head of the University of Florida’s Public Utility Research Center.
Jamison worked as a lobbyist for Sprint during the 1990s. In an op-ed published at the American Enterprise Institute, Jamison called net neutrality, “a growing miscellany of ex ante regulations that frequently work against the entrepreneurs and consumers the rules are intended to help.”
Both Eisenach and Jamison have been outspoken critics of the net neutrality rules that passed in 2015. The rules prevented internet providers from discriminating against any online services, meaning they cannot charge more for or throttle the use of a data-heavy service like Netflix.
President-elect Trump has also been a vocal critic of net neutrality. In 2014, he tweeted his concern that the principles of net neutrality were actually a veiled attack on conservative media sites, despite the fact there is no evidence to suggest net neutrality could be used to censor any sort of content.
The issue of net neutrality was rarely if ever raised during the 2016 election, and Trump has not been particularly vocal about the topic outside of his tweet, which misunderstands the actual goal of the rules. Regardless, the appointing of two opponents to the rules may suggest that net neutrality will be done away with under President Trump.
IBTimes has reached out to the Trump administration for further information on its position on net neutrality.