Trump's FCC chairman vows to take 'weed whacker' to net neutrality rules

Trump's FCC chairman vows to take 'weed whacker' to net neutrality rules

President Donald Trump on Monday tapped Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai to head the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, which is expected to roll back numerous Obama Administration's telecommunications and internet policies.

As expected, President Trump has named Ajit Pai chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, spreading joy throughout the advertising and telecommunications worlds. Pai is a graduate of Harvard University and worked as a lawyer in Washington D.C. Former President Barack Obama nominated Pai to the FCC in 2012. Pai replaces Democrat Tom Wheeler, who resigned last month after serving as Chairman for three years.

"I look forward to working with my FCC colleagues on those topics", she said.

Gary Griffiths, CEO of iPass the holder of the worlds largest Wi-Fi networks, said: "If there were any doubt, Pai's appointment proves net neutrality is firmly in Trump's crosshairs".

Operators on the side of rolling back the current Open Internet regulations applauded Pai's nomination.

Under Pai's proposed rural broadband plan, the FCC would provide financial incentives for ISPs to deploy gigabit broadband services in low-income neighborhoods.

"Chairman Pai is a very thoughtful leader who understands the critical role advertising plays as a financial foundation for the online and media marketplace", the ANA said in a blog post hailing Pai's appointment.

Consumer advocacy groups, meanwhile, are anxious that Pai will consistently obey the bidding of ISPs who want more mergers and fewer consumer protection regulations.

Consumer advocates have been concerned that a deregulation-minded FCC could potentially allow more huge mergers, overturn new protections for internet users and lead to higher costs for media and technology companies that rely on the internet to reach consumers.

Industry organizations leapt to Pai's defense Monday, in some cases welcoming the Republican's "common-sense philosophy".

Along with other Republican FCC commissioners, Pai has signaled that the FCC will revisit net neutrality regulations. In a series of tweets earlier today, Karl Bode of DSL Reports wrote that Pai "opposes EVERYTHING", including holding ISPs accountable for fraud.

Net neutrality rules were approved by the FCC in 2015 following an outpouring of public support for the idea of keeping the internet open.

"I will hold the FCC accountable to protect consumers and fight any attempt to roll back net neutrality", he said.

Among those who would pay the price are artists and bands that have used the internet in recent years to build unprecedented relationships with the fans of their music: Chance the Rapper, Run the Jewels and OK Go, among countless others.

Republican and new chairman Ajit Pai, however, is a vehement opponent of these principles and has vowed to dismantle them as part of his tenure as FCC chair.

Pai was born in the U.S. after his parents moved from India to the United States in 1971. "Many are commenting that another group, corporate lobbyists", are probably thrilled with Pai's selection. John Thune said he's "committed to the cause" of net neutrality, and suggested the threat of the newly-Republican controlled FCC repealing the rules may convince Democrats to get on board with a legislative solution.



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