US president Trump has appointed Ajit Pai, a vociferous opponent of Obama’s net neutrality regulations, as FCC chairman
US president Donald Trump has appointed Ajit Pai as chairman of the country’s communications regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in a move expected to boost efforts to dismantle US network neutrality rules.
Pai, 44, the Kansas-born son of Indian immigrants, previously served as a staffer with various government bodies, and worked for Verizon in the early 2000s.
Net neutrality opponent
Using incendiary rhetoric recalling that of Trump he has consistently opposed restrictions including network neutrality measures, data-collection restraints for Internet service providers and conditions on mergers involving communications companies.
“During the Trump administration, we will shift from playing defence at the FCC to going on offence,” he said in December. “We need to fire up the weed whacker and remove those rules that are holding back investment, innovation, and job creation.”
Network neutrality rules are intended to block service providers from offering preferential network performance in exchange for higher rates.
Pai was elevated from a commissioner’s role and his appointment doesn’t require a confirmation hearing. His term expires at the end of the year, however, and he will require reconfirmed to continue.
His appointment gives the Republican party a majority at the FCC, something expected to aid efforts to remove regulations put into place by the Obama administration.
Proponents of network neutrality say it is necessary to keep the Internet from devolving into multiple tiers depending on users’ ability to pay.
Former chairman Tom Wheeler, who left the office on Friday, last week warned commissioners against removing the net neutrality rules.
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