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FCC Chief who revoked net neutrality is leaving his post in January

Ajit Pai says bye-bye.
(Image credit: Flickr via USDA (public domain))

The chairman of the US Federal Communications Commisssion, Ajit Pai, has announced he will be leaving his post on January 20, when Joe Biden is sworn-in as President of the United States. Pai most infamously led the commission into revoking 'net neutrality' rules in 2017—Obama-era regulations that barred internet service providers from interfering with web traffic.

This statement from the FCC announces Pai's departure, and makes an oblique reference to the net neutrality debate. "This FCC has not shied away from making tough choices.  As a result, our nation’s communications networks are now faster, stronger, and more widely deployed than ever before."

That's rather hard to fact-check as, following the repeal of net neutrality, the FCC first stopped releasing broadband speed reports, before issuing reports that turned out to have 'drastically overstated' broadband deployment. When the FCC did release a report with more detail last year, experts and FCC commissioners alike criticised the accuracy of the data.

It is widely expected that a Biden appointee will reinstate net neutrality rules, not least because of the President-elect's proposed $4 billion commitment to universal broadband.

Pai's career at the FCC came with quite a few 'only in America' moments. At a Telecoms dinner he took part in a comedy skit about being a "brainwashed" FCC chairman in Verizon's pocket, which went down like a lead balloon. Then after net neutrality's repeal, Pai was rewarded for this act of leadership by, among other things, receiving a gun from the NRA.