ajitpaiUpdated January 24

President Trump has chosen FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai to be the new FCC chairman, replacing Tom Wheeler, according to news reports. Pai has served on the commission since 2012. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is likely to reverse some actions taken by his Democratic predecessor, but during his tenure on the commission, Pai also has found consensus with Democratic colleagues on a range of issues.

Pai has opposed Open Internet, also known as Net Neutrality regulation, suggesting the future of that regulation could be in peril – as could the decision to classify broadband as a Title II telecommunications service, which was coupled with the commission’s most recent moves on Net Neutrality. Pai also has opposed regulating broadband business services – a move that the commission under Wheeler had been poised to make. He has opposed efforts by the FCC that would make it easier for municipalities to build their own broadband networks.  And he has opposed broadband privacy regulation.

Issues on which Pai has found consensus with Democratic colleagues include universal service reform, spectrum allocation and others

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai
Prior to serving on the commission, Pai had considerable experience in telecom legal issues, having been a partner at a law firm with a communications law specialty and an associate general counsel for Verizon and having held other related positions.

Pai grew up in Kansas and on various occasions has demonstrated an interest in and understanding of rural telecom issues, as well as fiscal conservatism.

Several months ago, for example, Pai advocated giving tax breaks to network operators to deploy gigabit service in certain rural areas and using 10% of the money raised from spectrum auctions for the deployment of mobile broadband in rural America.

Outlets reporting Pai’s selection as FCC chairman include ForbesPolitico and others.

Updated January 24– In a statement, Pai confirmed his selection as FCC chairman.

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