FCC chair Ajit Pai backs out of CES appearance


It's likely Pai realised that an open panel - even one hosted by fellow net neutrality critic, Gary Shapiro - in front of a room of angry nerds who want to make him eat his stupid oversized coffee mug wouldn't be the most comfortable experience of his life. Two FCC sources said the threats were the cause and that law enforcement had become involved with the issue. After the commission voted in favor of repealing net neutrality, several companies, advocacy groups, and other organizations voiced the intent to sue the FCC.

So yeah, there's not much meat there, but it stands to reason that Pai thought it best to avoid a real and potentially heated discussion on the matter with the public.

It has been nearly a month since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 to dismantle Obama-era net neutrality rules, and Thursday (4 January) saw the release of the final text of its repeal.

Pai for a repeal in April and the Republican-controlled FCC 2-1 along party lines a month later to begin a formal rule-making process.

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It's not the first time the chairman and commission have been threatened with violence.

Of course, FCC chair Pai's statement paints a different picture of online life post-net neutrality: "Simply put, by returning to the light-touch Title I framework, we are helping consumers and promoting competition".

An FCC spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny the alleged cause, but the chairman has been subject to threats tied to the December 14 vote to roll back net neutrality rules and has had Homeland Security protection for public meetings, including the net neutrality vote, where the meeting room was briefly evacuated before the final vote.

We've reached out to the FCC for comment on why its chairman was not available. Acting Federal Trade Commission's Chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen will still take the seat next to Shapiro, while FCC Commissioners Brendan Carr, Mignon Clyburn and Mike O'Rielly will also attend the show and give speeches.