Next chairman of FCC grew up in rural Kansas


President Donald Trump is expected to name current Republican FCC commissioner Ajit Pai to the agency's top job, sources told Politico on Friday.

Pai, a former Justice Department, FCC and Capitol Hill staffer, in December said the administration's landmark net neutrality rules adopted in 2015 would not last.

Pai is a strong opponent of net neutrality and seems like a logical appointment given the Trump administration's need to fill at least 690 cabinet and sub-cabinet level positions requiring congressional approval. "But I do believe that its days are numbered, '" Pai said.

Pai has always been critical of net neutrality, saying that the problem it's trying to solve - big internet providers acting as gatekeepers to what we see and do online - doesn't exist. "Pai has been an effective obstructionist who looks out for the corporate interests he used to represent in the private sector", says Craig Aaron, the president of a nonprofit called Free Press that's fought for net neutrality, in an emailed statement.

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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.

"Commissioner Pai has a history of attacking consumer protections, from the Open Internet order to our right to privacy online". In a marketplace without net neutrality, mega ISPs including Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon could charge websites delivering a large of amount of web traffic like Netflix and Facebook a fee to reach users at higher speeds. Pai said there were many "outdated and unnecessary" regulations that needed to be removed, especially those that are "holding back investment, innovation, and job creation". He later served as an FCC attorney and, after a term at the DC law firm Jenner & Block, was nominated to the FCC by President Obama. "His continued service and leadership would be a valuable contribution to the Commission".

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.

Pai's tenure at the commission is set to expire this year, so he'll need to be reconfirmed by the Senate if Republicans want him to stick around past 2017. It may not be long before Pai implements a rollback.