with CLIPREVIEWED learn the articleFCC Chairman Ajit Pai to Step Down as Democrats Return to Commission Leadership
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has announced he’s resigning from the commission on Jan. 20, the day President Trump also leaves office.
The resignation was expected since President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat, will have the power to choose a new FCC chairman. Pai, a Republican, was appointed to the role in January 2017 when Trump initially took office.
He then went on to repeal the Obama-era net neutrality rules, which prevented internet service providers from blocking or throttling connection speeds. Facing much controversy, Pai called the regulations heavy-handed, and a detriment to spurring more investment in US broadband networks. However, critics argued the FCC was opening the door for ISPs to charge users higher fees, depending on the content they accessed.
There’s still debate over what the repeal changed. In general, ISPs didn’t dramatically alter their business practices. But at the same time, the state of broadband in the US remains abysmal, due to a lack of competition in many rural and suburban areas, which can saddle users with slow speeds and data caps.
Nevertheless, Pai claims that under his leadership, the FCC made progress in closing the digital divide, promoting competition and innovation in broadband, and protecting consumers from scams such as robocalls. “And this FCC has not shied away from making tough choices. As a result, our nation’s communications networks are now faster, stronger, and more widely deployed than ever before,” he said in a statement.
Pai’s critics will no doubt disagree with his assessment. According to them, the FCC has largely abdicated its role as a regulator of the US broadband industry. But that’s expected to change with the incoming Biden administration. Variety reports that sitting FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat and net neutrality supporter, is among the leading candidates to succeed Pai.
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