As Donald Trump assumes office as the 45th president of the United States, we’re finally learning more of his proposed policies. When it comes to the arts and public broadcasting, the President plans to defund the NEA and privatize PBS and NPR. The news is equally grim for supporters of a free and open Internet.
According to Politico, Trump intends to name Ajit Pai as the new head of the FCC. A Republican, Pai is a staunch opponent of Net Neutrality, arguing that it’s an overreaching government regulation that leads to “higher broadband prices, slower broadband speeds, less broadband deployment, less innovation, and fewer options for consumers.” He also opposed privacy rules voted on by the FCC late last year.
In a speech last month, Pai vowed to to take a “weed whacker” to Net Neutrality and other regulations once Trump was swore in. If Pai is to follow through with that promise, Internet service providers could create a two-tier pay-to-play Internet, where websites are charged extra fees for faster load speeds and other preferential treatments. ISPs could also slow down its competitors’ websites, block content it disagrees with, and impose data limits on users. You can read more about the issue here.
Update – January 23rd: Pai has officially been designated the new head of the FCC.