Ajit Pai FCC tenure leaves a mixed legacy – but it was mostly bad

Chris Burns - Nov 30, 2020, 11:44am CST
Ajit Pai FCC tenure leaves a mixed legacy – but it was mostly bad

This morning Ajit Pai announced he’d be leaving the FCC for good on January 20, 2021. Pai was first appointed as a Commissioner to the FCC in 2012, then made Chairman of the FCC in 2017. Pai made this announcement via the FCC (dot gov) as of November 30, 2020 with the statement title “Chairman Pai Announces his Intent to Depart FCC.”

Destroying Lifeline

In February of 2017, the FCC started to tear Lifeline apart. Lifeline is (or was) a program where low-income citizens of the United States were able to access the internet at an affordable rate.

In April of 2018, the US Senate attempted to stop the FCC from stripping internet assistance from the poor. As of September of 2020, the FCC was set to push millions of Americans off their Lifeline program with new fees.

Destroying Net Neutrality

Before Pai took control of the FCC, internet providers were required to deliver internet service in a fair and unbiased way. Pai suggested that killing Net Neutrality would allow internet service providers to more successfully invest in broadband, making the United States move faster into the future of always-connected and super-fast internet.* Pai’s first move was to drop Net Neutrality investigations into AT&T, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon.

In November of 2017 we saw the FCC Net Neutrality death proposal. You’ll want to read that if you’d like to see the full extent of Pai’s actions. Ajit Pai oversaw the destruction of Net Neutrality, allowing internet access to return to a time when it was not treated like a utility. Users around the world – but especially inside the United States – rallied against Pai and this Net Neutrality death proposal.

In December of 2017, Pai created a “Harlem Shake” video as part of his efforts to prove that the repeal of Net Neutrality was totally fine, and chill, and good. In February of 2018, the NRA gave Pai a courage award for fighting against the will of the public. Net Neutrality was killed in June of 2018.

Almost immediately after Net Neutrality was killed, selective throttling began. As of Jaunary of 2019, it was clear that Pai’s actions did not increase broadband investment.

Killing some robocalls

In July of 2019, Pai did a good thing. Pai proposed new rules to fight robocalls and spoofing. In August, the FCC banned international robocalls and text spoofing in the USA. In March of 2020, the FCC expanded COVID-19 scam lists. And that’s about it.


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