Trump Appoints Anti-Regulation Net Neutrality Enemy to Head FCC

Elbert EdwardsJan 24, 2017

Pai is a notorious enemy of net neutrality, and has indicated that he will work to reverse the relatively new net neutrality rules as chairman.

Pai has been a commissioner on the FCC since President Obama appointed him and, for the past three years, has been the senior-most Republican member of the board, Politico reports.

Like Wheeler before him, Pai has spent time directly serving telecom interests, having worked as a lawyer for Verizon from 2001 to 2003.

Pai has always been critical of net neutrality, saying that the problem it's trying to solve - big internet providers acting as gatekeepers to what we see and do online - doesn't exist. 5G Americas has long admired Mr. Pai's leadership, particularly his focus on getting wireless spectrum to the market. His FCC term technically expired previous year, but agency rules allow him to continue serving through 2017. Wheeler won that battle when a federal appeals court upheld the net neutrality rules and reclassification. He believes "the federal government must make it easier to for broadband providers to retire increasingly obsolete copper lines in favor of next-generation technologies like fiber". Pai, an outspoken critic of such regulation, predicted that net neutrality's days were numbered in a recent speech to anti-regulatory group Free State Foundation.

Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman congratulated Pai and said he looked forward to a productive working relationship with Chairman Pai.

"[We] need to remove outdated and unnecessary regulations", he said.

While competitive carriers like Level 3 voiced support for Wheeler's proposals, while traditional telcos like AT&T and CenturyLink, as well as large cable operators like Comcast and the new Charter, said the reforms would chill investment in new last-mile facilities.

"Pai, who met with Trump in NY on Monday, had been seen by many as a top contender for the job given his reputation as a telecom law expert who's comfortable in front of the camera, "Politico wrote".

While we would be more than happy to say that these are just speculations regarding what he would do once he is head of the FCC, things are not just speculations. At the moment, two of the five commissioners have stepped aside-former chairman Tom Wheeler and Jessica Rosenworcel.

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