On Wednesday, January 3, Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai canceled a scheduled appearance at CES one week before the show. During the event, Pai was supposed to be part of a panel alongside Maureen Ohlhausen, the Federal Trade Commission’s acting chairwomen, and moderated by Consumer Technology Association president Gary Shapiro, in a so-called “candid conversation.” The session would have been Pai’s first appearance at CES as FCC chairman and CES 2018 will mark the first time he has missed the show in five years.
Almost no information has been given regarding why Pai canceled his appearance at the show, other than an email from the Consumer Technology Association.
“Unfortunately, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is unable to attend CES 2018,” said the email. “We look forward to our next opportunity to host a technology policy discussion with him before a public audience.” Neither Pai’s office nor Shapiro immediately replied to requests for more information about the sudden decision, though we will update this article if they do.
Pai has been no stranger to controversy over the past year or so. His name has become near-synonymous with the rollback of net neutrality protections of the internet, a decision that is unpopular among consumers because of the power it gives internet service providers to create so-called “internet fast lanes,” and paid prioritization among companies that can afford it.
The FCC, in general, is likely gearing up for a tumultuous 2018. After the commission voted in favor of repealing net neutrality, several companies, advocacy groups, and other organizations voiced intent to sue the FCC. The Commission is in the process of editing the final repeal order, and the wording of that repeal order could possibly end up helping Pai and the FCC combat those upcoming lawsuits. It is not unusual for orders such as this to be released weeks after a vote.
It’s unlikely the event was canceled by the CTA. Despite the unpopularity of Pai’s stances, the session would have likely been well-attended. It’s unclear if the session will still go ahead without Pai, or if it will be canceled altogether.
Published at Thu, 04 Jan 2018 01:04:49 +0000