The US Senate reconfirmed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai for a five-year term by a 52-to-41 vote, mostly along party lines. Pai was elevated to chairman from commissioner by President Trump in January. Before serving as FCC Commissioner for five years, Pai was a lawyer for Verizon.
“Since taking over the FCC leadership in January, Chairman Pai has wasted no time in moving the agency away from its key mission to promote the use and deployment of communications in the public interest,” Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) said last week.
Chairman Pai’s short tenure has been defined by an important contradiction. He claims closing the digital divide is a priority while at the same time pushing policy changes that would maintain or increase it. He attacked the Lifeline program, earning him condemnation from civil rights groups and Democratic lawmakers. Now he’s opened a proceeding to downgrade the definition of broadband, so the Commission could claim the country is served by broadband without service providers upgrading networks.
Senate Reconfirms FCC Chairman Ajit Pai for Five More Years, a Big Victory for Your ISP (Gizmodo, Oct. 2, 2017)
Civil rights coalition condemns Chairman Pai’s attacks on Lifeline, prison phone reform, media ownership diversity (Speed Matters, Mar. 8, 2017)
Democratic lawmakers rebuke Chairman Pai’s attack on Lifeline (Speed Matters, Feb. 17, 2017)