The man who could doom net neutrality: Ajit Pai ignores outcry from all sides

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 The main support for Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has for the rollback comes from the handful of powerful broadband companies that stand to benefit, including Comcast and his former employer Verizon, who argue that the rules stand in the way of innovation. “He seems to be under the thrall of very powerful business interests in Washington to the extent that he is dismissive of all other arguments,” said Timothy Karr, campaign director at Free Press. “Any input that would in any way upset his entrenched views about helping these powerful cable companies.” “He’s certainly not acting in the interest of the public,” said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the ACLU.

Instead of scrubbing the FCC of Obama’s legacy, Pai should be focusing on addressing real problems such as broadband quality in the rural US, said Pierce Stanley, technology fellow at Demand Progress. “In some rural areas, 40% of people have zero or one choice of ISP. After Chairman Pai’s plan, that’s 40% of people who have no choice the day Comcast starts throttling and they can’t go to another provider. They are stuck. That’s really concerning.”

Dozens of activist groups called for a delay because of a pending court case involving AT&T and regulatory authority over ISPs. In response, Pai’s office issued a statement describing “supporters of heavy-handed internet regulations” as becoming “more desperate by the day” and said the vote would proceed as scheduled. “We find that deeply troubling,” said Karr. “He’s really dismissing a very important component of rule-making, which is democratic engagement.” Instead of engaging with the public, Chairman Pai has turned his attention to social media companies – who have been vocal opponents to the repeal – describing them as enabling the “worst of human impulses” and criticising the control they exert over online content.


The man who could doom net neutrality: Ajit Pai ignores outcry from all sides