Net Neutrality-Repealing FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Will Step Down Soon

The infamous head of the FCC, Ajit Pai, who became a widely-reviled figure in the net neutrality debate, will depart his position in January.


You might not have heard the name Ajit Pai recently, but you probably remember the outcry surrounding the FCC's repeal of net neutrality rules back in late 2017. Now, the current FCC chairman has announced that he will step down on January 20 of next year, the day that president-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated.

Outside of Washington, Pai is best-known as the figure who spearheaded and oversaw the FCC's wholesale dismantling of net neutrality rules that prevented internet service providers from interfering or prioritizing web traffic. The ISPs welcomed the repeal, but it was considerably less-popular among tech giants like Twitch. In a memorable segment on his show Last Week Tonight, comedian John Oliver asked gamers to protest the upcoming move, calling it an overreach.

Pai's term as a commissioner extends to July 2021, and he could have stayed on--albeit without the chairman's power to steer the FCC's direction as an agency--but he has opted to quit early. A Republican, Pai's departure will give the Democrats a 2-to-1 majority following Biden's inauguration, though a Republican is currently pending confirmation in the Senate.

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