FCC could defy Obama on net neutrality, commissioner says

Hold on, Mr. President.

The Federal Communications Commission won't write rules on Internet access simply in response to President Barack Obama's recent comments on the subject, Ajit Pai, a commissioner of the independent regulatory agency, told CNBC on Tuesday.

L-R: FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, Jessica Rosenworcel, and Michael O'Rielly during a meeting of the commissioners at the FCC in Washington, DC.
Karen Bleier | AFP | Getty Images
L-R: FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, Jessica Rosenworcel, and Michael O'Rielly during a meeting of the commissioners at the FCC in Washington, DC.

The FCC, unlike the Department of Defense or the Department of Justice, is not an executive branch agency, Pai said on "Squawk Alley." In turn, it has the freedom to make its decisions independent of the White House, he said.

Read MoreNet neutrality will bring more choice: Advocate

"We are an independent agency and that means that we make our decisions based not on political consideration, but on the facts that are in the record and on the laws that are set forth by Congress," Pai said.

To Pai, his decision will center not around Obama's thoughts, but on "what will best promote broadband investment and innovation."

President Barack Obama speaks at the Global Health Security Agenda Summit at the White House in Washington, Sept. 26, 2014.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
President Barack Obama speaks at the Global Health Security Agenda Summit at the White House in Washington, Sept. 26, 2014.

On Monday, Obama said Internet service providers should be regulated more like public utilities to make sure they grant equal access to all content providers.

Read MoreObama: Stronger broadband laws needed

Obama's detailed statement on the issue of "net neutrality," a platform in his 2008 presidential campaign, was a rare intervention by the White House into the policy setting of an independent agency.

The president also said the FCC's new rules should apply equally to mobile and wired ISPs, with a recognition of special challenges that come with managing wireless networks.

"Simply put: No service should be stuck in a 'slow lane' because it does not pay a fee," Obama, currently in Asia, said in a statement released by the White House. "That kind of gate keeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet's growth."

—Reuters contributed to this report.