Trump's FCC chairman nominee Ajit Pai wants to end net neutrality

In a December speech to the conservative-leaning Free State Foundation, for instance, Pai said he is "more confident than ever" that the current net neutrality law's "days are numbered", and that he'd like the future FCC to "fire up the weed whacker" and remove numerous regulations now in place.

His stint in the US Senate judiciary committee will prove crucial to him as he was deputy counsel then to Senator Jeff Sessions, who was then heading the subcommittee on administrative oversight and the court. Wheeler's term had not expired but Trump gets to designate a new chairman as Republicans gain the FCC majority.

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Shortly after Trump's election, Pai indicated that a top priority under the new administration would be dismantling net neutrality.

"With this in mind, we urge Chairman Pai to preserve consumer protections and to focus on driving down prices and expanding choices for all essential communications services while preserving the Commission's recent pro-competitive and consumer protection rules and actions".

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Pai, a lawyer who has been a member of the FCC since 2012, is also being tipped as the person Trump is likely to nominate as the permanent chairman, though he has a rival in fellow Republican Michael O'Rielly. But in a December 7 speech to the Free State Foundation, a free-market think tank, Pai said he was "more confident than ever" that the "days are numbered" for the net neutrality regulations. Pai would replace outgoing Chairman Tom Wheeler who he often times disagreed with on regulations handed down by the FCC during the Obama years, including Net Neutrality. For example, the municipal broadband decision was overturned in court, and the FCC lost several court decisions on inmate calling rate caps. During the net neutrality debate, he tweeted a photo of himself with the 332-page proposal and lamented that FCC rules didn't allow him to make it public. A spokesman for Pai declined to comment and the Trump transition team did not respond to an emailed request for comment. "He's never met a mega-merger he didn't like or a public safeguard he didn't try to undermine".

Politico reports that Pai was in NY last Monday with Trump and was believed to be the easy selection to chair the FCC under the new administration.

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The commission is now divided 2-1 in favor of Republicans, with Mignon Cleburne as the lone Democrat.


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