Christopher Yoo Cleveland HS 11th Grade
On December 14, 2017, a historic decision was made by the Federal Communications Commission that would change the face of the Internet as the 78.2% of Americans who use it know it. Despite an avalanche of pro-net neutrality comments, the FCC voted to repeal the net neutrality regulations that dictate that all Internet Service Providers treat data delivered to customers equally. As millions of furious voices demand an explanation for such drastic changes, many are turning to the center of the FCC directly, which raises the increasingly-asked question: Who exactly is Ajit Pai?
Ajit Varadaraj Pai is an Indian-American attorney first appointed as Commissioner at the FCC under President Barack Obama and confirmed unanimously by Senate to be sworn in for a 5-year term in May 2012. Later in 2017, President Donald J. Trump appointed Pai as Chairman of the FCC and re-nominated him for another 5-year term, which was again confirmed by the US Senate. Prior to his appointment to the FCC, Pai served under the Department of Justice, the US Senate, the FCC’s Office of General Counsel, and the telecommunications company Verizon Wireless.
In an interview with PBS, Pai states his reasoning for his rescinding of current net neutrality rules. He argues that “...by imposing those heavy-handed economic regulations on Internet service providers big and small, we could end up disincentivizing companies from wanting to build out Internet access to a lot of parts of the country, in low-income, urban and rural areas, for example.” Essentially, Pai believes that current net neutrality regulations are too burdensome for many companies and end up hampering innovation and competition.
However, a massive amount of controversy is centered around Pai’s advocation of benefits for businesses and corporations. Many critics of Pai argue that his former employment with Verizon Wireless is a strong motive to repeal net neutrality, a move that would undoubtedly be economically favorable for a telecommunications giant such as Verizon. Under such potentially corruptible circumstances, it is clear why Pai is receiving so much animosity.
Is Pai truly the avid advocate for technological freedom and economic advancement that he claims to be, or is he simply another corrupt politician?
<Christopher Yoo Cleveland HS 11th Grade