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Net Neutrality Opponent Ajit Pai to Head Federal Communications Commission

January 24, 2017

President Donald Trump has selected Ajit Pai as the new head of the FCC. Ajit Pai said, "I am deeply grateful to the President of the United States for designating me the 34th Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. 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."

 

FCC commissioner Clyburn comented, “I congratulate Commissioner Ajit Pai on being named Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Ajit is bright, driven and committed to bringing connectivity to all Americans. I am hopeful that we can come together to serve the public interest by supporting competition, public safety, and consumer protection.”

Ajit Pai

The appointment has concerned net neutrality advocates who are anticipating that Mr Pai and President Trump will seek to abolish net neutrality.

Dennis Jones, Senior iPass Content Marketing Specialist noted that:

It’s no understatement to say that President-elect Donald Trump’s transition has been, well, eventful. Between visitors to Trump Tower, speeches on Broadway and spats on Twitter, there’s been a lot to cover on the politics beat since the election. However, what’s gone remarkably under-reported is Trump’s position on net neutrality. In fact, compared to his well-publicized views on immigration, jobs and foreign policy, we know relatively little about Trump’s positions on innovation and technology, specifically net neutrality.

But net neutrality is critically important. It mandates that all data transmitted over the internet should be treated equally. During the Obama administration, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) approved a slew of regulations to bolster net neutrality, banning “slow lanes” on the internet, protecting consumer privacy and heavily fining MSOs, like AT&T and Comcast. With Trump now mere weeks out of the Oval Office, those policies are all about to change.

We sent our CEO, Gary Griffiths, to sit down for an interview with IoT Evolution to discuss the future of the open internet.  What followed was a wide-ranging interview, in which Griffiths answered questions about the implications of deregulation on service providers’ offering differentiated services, the possible reversal of the Title II classification and potential court reaction to the Trump agenda.

On the campaign trail, candidate Trump was a vociferous opponent of net neutrality, citing the regulation as an example of government overreach that could possibly lead to censorship by an emboldened FCC, who could pick bandwidth winners and losers at will.

After his victory, he’s proceeded to staff his FCC transition with ardent net neutrality opponents. And with current FCC Chairman and net neutrality proponent, Tom Wheeler, leaving his post, Trump stands to dramatically shift the complexion of the FCC on day one of his administration. The FCC might not dominate daily headlines, but they’re a powerful body nonetheless. So these promise to be heady days for the open internet.

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