Feb. 4 (UPI) — The Federal Communications Commission said Friday that it is ending investigations into three major U.S. wireless carriers over potential violations of net neutrality rules.
The FCC sent letters to Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile to inform the companies that the agency’s previous investigation was over.
The probes were ordered under former President Barack Obama‘s government over “zero-rate” plans the carriers offered — essentially free data use for customers when they use certain applications.
Critics said such offers violate the principles of net neutrality, which asks that all Internet service be treated equally.
New Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has been a staunch opponent of those rules.
“The [FCC] Wireless Telecommunications Bureau is closing its investigation into wireless carriers’ free-data offerings,” he said in a statement. “Going forward, the Federal Communications Commission will not focus on denying Americans free data. Instead, we will concentrate on expanding broadband deployment and encouraging innovative service offerings.”
“While this is just a first step, these companies, and others, can now safely invest in and introduce highly popular products and services without fear of Commission intervention based on newly invented legal theories,” FCC Commissioner Michael O’Reilly said in a statement.