January 24, 2017
It comes as no surprise that President Donald Trump has chosen Republican Ajit Pai to be the new Federal Communications Commission chairman.
Pai, who has been a vocal opponent of former president Barrack Obama’s Net neutrality plan, replaces Democrat Tom Wheeler, who stepped down last Friday after more than three years at the helm of the agency. Wheeler, who has brought about much change in his tenure, was also a major supporter of Net neutrality.
“I am deeply grateful to the President of the United States for designating me the 34th Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission,” Pai said in a statement. “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 has indicated in the past he would do everything he could to dismantle Net neutrality if he were named FCC chairman. Under Net neutrality, blocking and throttling are major no-nos as is paid prioritization. This means Internet service companies cannot implement “fast lanes” for streaming video providers willing to fork over enough cash to give their content a leg up from their competition.
Fellow Republican and commissioner Mike O’Rielly called Pai a shoe-in for the FCC chairman’s job.
“His thoughtful approach, deep knowledge base, and sense of humor have been great assets to the Commission, and it makes sense that President Trump hand-picked him to carry out the new Administration’s broad vision for the agency,” he said. “I know the Commission will thrive under his leadership, and I look forward to working with him and his team to tackle the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities that will present themselves.”
Democrat and fellow commissioner Mignon Clyburn’s statement was less effusive than O’Rielly’s, although still gracious: “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.”
Pai, before his role at the FCC, worked as a lawyer at the Department of Justice before becoming general counsel for Verizon. He then worked for the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.