Ajit Pai, a strong net neutrality opponent, is the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Just as expected.
“I look forward to working with the new Administration, my colleagues at the Commission, members of Congress and the American public to bring the benefits of the digital age to all Americans,” Pai said in a statement.
Pai had been a sitting Republican commissioner at the FCC, The Washington Post notes, which means he doesn’t need to be confirmed by the Senate to serve as the agency’s 34th chairman. However, he will need to be renominated and confirmed by the Senate later this year, when his existing term expires.
Pai has been a critic of President Obama’s net neutrality policies, and now he’ll have control over the FCC. The Post says that Pai will benefit from a strong 2-to-1 Republican majority looking to undo some of Barack Obama’s tech policies.
Not everyone is thrilled about Trump’s nomination exactly because Pai strongly opposed some of the FCC’s decisions under Chairman Wheeler, including the strong net neutrality rules set in place only a couple of years ago.
“Chairman Pai has a record of promising to undo the agency’s landmark 2015 net neutrality rules as well as targeting consumer privacy while refusing to stand against consolidation among telecommunications and media giants,” advocacy organization Public Knowledge said.
Naturally, you can expect internet and cable company to support Pai. “We stand ready to assist Chairman Pai and his colleagues in their effort to promote policies which ensure that America remains a global internet, communications and entertainment leader,” NCTA — The Internet & Television Association, said.