Controversial FCC Chairman Who Overturned Net Neutrality Will Resign

Ajit Pai Credit: Aaron Schwartz / Shutterstock
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Current FCC chairman Ajit Pai this week announced that he would resign effective January 20, 2021. Pai’s departure date from the FCC is not random. It’s the same day as the inauguration and is associated with the administration change when President-elect Joe Biden assumes the presidency.

Pai began his tenure at the FCC in 2012 when he was nominated to the FCC by then-President Barack Obama. He was promoted to the chairman position by President Trump, shortly after Trump became president in 2017. Pai has served as Chairman for the entire duration of the Trump term.

It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve at the Federal Communications Commission, including as Chairman of the FCC over the past four years. I am grateful to President Trump for giving me the opportunity to lead the agency in 2017, to President Obama for appointing me as a Commissioner in 2012, and to Senate Majority Leader McConnell and the Senate for twice confirming me. To be the first Asian-American to chair the FCC has been a particular privilege. As I often say: only in America.”

Ajit Paai

During this time, Pai was involved in several high-profile decisions, including the controversial overturning of net neutrality. Net neutrality was put in place by the Obama administration in 2015 to ensure equal access to the internet for everyone. This policy prevented internet service providers from throttling, blocking, or creating higher service tiers for preferred clients.

Pai also was involved in the merger of Sprint and T-Mobile which brought together two of the top wireless carriers in the United States.

Incoming president Joe Biden has not yet announced a successor to lead the FCC. Consequently, it is not known who will replace Pai, but Biden is expected to appoint a fellow democrat to this position. This nomination is subject to Senate confirmation.

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