March 24, 2017

Indian American Ajit Pai tipped for FCC Chair?

24 January 2017, 12:40 | Erica Wilson

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Net Neutrality Foe Ajit Pai Named By Trump To Lead The FCC

However, choosing Pai to be Chairman of the FCC would not be without controversy, as he is a well known opponent of the net neutrality rules that were put in place under the Obama administration.

"On the day that the Title II Order was adopted, I said that 'I don't know whether this plan will be vacated by a court, reversed by Congress, or overturned by a future commission".

Open internet advocates are already concerned about where Pai will take the agency.

In a statement, Pai said he was "deeply grateful" for the appointment.

There's been no official confirmation of the decision yet, but we'll provide an update as soon as there is an announcement.

Now that Wheeler has left the FCC, the agency's political structure will shift to a 3-2 Republican majority after a replacement for Wheeler and Jessica Rosenworcel are made. In a marketplace without net neutrality, mega ISPs including Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon could charge websites delivering a large of amount of web traffic like Netflix and Facebook a fee to reach users at higher speeds.

One of the FCC's mandates is to promote broadband deployment, and Pai has emphasized his dissatisfaction with current policies. Pai has served in office since the beginning of Obama's second term. He stated the Government must "create a roadmap" for state and local governments eliminating what he calls "unnecessary regulatory hoops" broadband companies now face. Pai is already in the leadership team of the body as the senior Republican serving as commissioner since 2012.

As commissioner, Pai is well aware of Utica-Rome and has spoken to WIBX's Keeler in the Morning program on a handful of occasions. (Advocacy is frequently used as a euphemism for lobbying in DC; there are easily-avoided rules about who has to technically register as a lobbyist.) He later worked for Senators Sam Brownback and Jeff Sessions on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and was a general counsel at the FCC in the Bush administration.

"We need to fire up the weed whacker and remove those rules that are holding back investment, innovation and job creation", Pai said in a speech last month looking ahead to Republican control of the FCC. That means Trump effectively gets to test out Pai for a bit before deciding whether to keep him around for much longer.

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