📝 Why internet law is about to change 

FCC chairman and Donald Trump appointee Ajit Pai announced he will step down from the organization when Joe Biden takes over as president in January. 

So expect major changes for the internet. 

  • Pai was one of the busiest FCC leaders in recent years: He instituted controversial policies, including undoing net neutrality. Pai also approved a T-Mobile-Sprint merger that stirred antitrust concerns (he believed it would benefit consumers by speeding up the rollout of 5G).  

  • He was praised by the telecomms industry and hated by activists: The WSJ went so far as to credit him for fast internet during the pandemic. Meanwhile, consumer advocates claim Pai did nothing to bridge the digital divide.

  • Not all of his moves were controversial: Under Pai, the FCC created a nationwide suicide prevention hotline and made it easier for mobile carriers to enroll customers in robocall-blocking programs (although everyone would argue they aren’t blocking enough calls!). 

Biden is expected to emphasize a different strategy with the FCC

He has already said he plans to bring back net neutrality, which was supported by the Obama administration. 

The Verdict

Pai’s departure could have another major effect in the legal world: With him departing, insiders say the FCC won’t try a last-minute, Trump-favored attempt to erase protections of social media companies accused of censoring conservatives.