Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler listens to testimony before voting on Net Neutrality at the FCC headquarters. Getty

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said in an interview with Recode advocates of the current net neutrality protections adopted during the Obama administration are misrepresenting his plan.

Pai pointed to a number of critiques and concerns he believes are misguided that have been raised by those who oppose his plan to roll back the Open Internet Order that classified the internet as a public utility.

Read: Is Net Neutrality Dead? What The Internet Will Look Like Without Open Internet Rules, Title II

“For example, saying that you will lose your internet access. That’s simply absurd,” Pai said on the Recode Decode podcast. “We’re not saying the choice is either Title II or the Wild West. It’s light-touch regulation, the middle ground, that we’re looking to return to.”

Pai mounted a defense of his plan, announced last week, over the course of the interview, advocating for a return to the “free-market ‘light touch’ approach that the Clinton administration adopted.”

"Anyone who had internet access before these rules in 2015 knows ... we weren’t living in a dystopia before the FCC delivered these Depression-era rules to save us,” he said, arguing the internet was working just fine prior to the FCC’s decision to reclassify internet providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act.

“We don’t want to impose monopoly-style regulation developed for Ma Bell in the 1930s, to apply to every single company in the United States that is building out a broadband network,” Pai said.

Read: What Is Net Neutrality? How FCC's Title II and Open Internet Rules Came To Be

Edge providers may have a different memory of the internet prior to the Open Internet Order. Netflix in particular had trouble dealing with ISPs as the company was forced to sign traffic deals with Comcast and AT&T after the carriers slowed Netflix data and made the service less accessible to consumers.

Similarly, prior to the passing of net neutrality protections, global telecommunications company Level 3 accused four major American ISPs of deliberately causing congested networks and refusing to build out their infrastructure unless content providers paid them to do so.

With the internet reclassified as a public utility, the FCC was granted the ability to regulate internet service providers to insist they adhere to the tenets of net neutrality. Included in those principles is a prohibition on blocking content, throttling or slowing data and paid prioritization to treat certain content favorably to the detriment of other content.

Pai said Title II reclassification hasn’t solved these problems but rather has exacerbated them while also slowing growth in the industry.

He claimed infrastructure investments by ISPs decreased by 5.6 percent since 2014 — a number disputed by Craig Aaron, the president and CEO of Free Press, who said on a conference call with Democratic senators that ISP infrastructure investment actually has increased by 5 percent since reclassification.

Still, Pai held that Title II classification is not in itself net neutrality — it’s just a way of enforcing the idea, and not a particularly effective one in Pai’s mind. He said Title II “squeezes the smaller networks” and “hangs like a black cloud” over the industry.

Open internet advocates disagree with his assessment, arguing that removing the Title II protections would put small companies at a major disadvantage, leaving them unable to compete with giant corporations who can pay to give their services improved performance and potentially intentionally hinder their own competitors.