David Shepardson, Reuters:
The U.S. Senate on Monday confirmed Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai for another five-year term on the telecommunications regulatory panel where he faces decisions over dismantling Obama-era internet protections and a major television station merger.
Pai won confirmation by 52-41 over objections from Democrats, who criticized him for moving to deregulate U.S. telecommunications rules. Republicans praised him for taking steps to boost rural internet service.
The FCC under Pai was recently criticized for their slow response to the aftermath of hurricanes devastating Puerto Rico, and couldn’t be bothered to check FCC regulatory filings before demanding that Apple activate nonexistent FM radio chips in iPhones.
To his and Republicans’ credit, Pai is taking steps to improve broadband access for those in rural communities, but he’s also proposing to reduce the standard of what constitutes “broadband” internet access. If the latter adjustment passes, that could allow the FCC to fudge the numbers on how many Americans have sufficient access to broadband internet.
Even so, Pai’s proposal to reject attempts to regulate large internet service providers cum media conglomerates, and prevent them from restricting competing services or certain websites is dogmatic crappy policy, and should have been enough to turf this jackass.
This vote is retroactive; Pai’s new five-year term began in July of last year.