Net Neutrality Critic Ajit Pai Appointed To Chair The FCC [Video]By Dan Camins, UniversityHerald Reporter
On Monday, President Donald Trump appointed a staunch critic of net neutrality to serve as the next chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
President Obama first appointed Pai, a telecommunications lawyer to the commission in 2012. He used to be an associate general counsel for Verizon Communications Inc for two years. According to NBC News, Pai spent much of his career working in government from the Justice Department, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the FCC.
In 2015, he voted against the FCC's net neutrality regulations in a vote of 4-1. The ruling mandated cable and telecom companies to treat the internet service as a public utility without favoring any providers over others.
It is more likely that Pai will be checking off net neutrality at the top of his hit list. Net neutrality proponents, however, say that repealing the rules would be disastrous for the open internet and hamper internet innovation.
Chris Lewis of Public Knowledge, a pro-net neutrality group stated that without net neutrality rules, big ISPs such as Comcast and Verizon could block access to certain websites or even force customers to pay a premium to reach websites they do not own.
His position at the FCC is now assured since he does not have to pass through Senate approval for a confirmation process according to Ryan Radia, Competitive Enterprise Institute legal expert, Vox reported.
What is net neutrality?
The basic principle of net neutrality is that everyone with content and services gets treated equally online, whether a college student, a startup, or even huge media companies. The idea of a free and open internet is the prime reason why there has been so much development on the internet for the past decades.
Net neutrality made Facebook and YouTube big successes over the years. Proponents of these sites did not have to pay companies extra fees for a provider to allow anyone connected to access their sites during their development years. Without net neutrality, it is likely that the internet would become less hospitable to fledgling companies and curtail innovative ideas to reach people.
The biggest fears net neutrality advocates face in the event the rules are circumvented is that it would limit consumer choices and startup companies that drive economic growth might not be possible to exist anymore.