CES 2018: FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s appearance reportedly cancelled amid net neutrality controversy

Pai will be missing the show for the first time in five years.

  • Published: January 4, 2018 9:58 AM IST

Consumer Exhibition Show (CES) is less than a week away, and there’s a lot of excitement around new product launches. At the expo, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai was slated for a ‘candid conversation’ with FTC acting chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen. However, according to reports, Pai has cancelled his CES 2018 appearance.

The session could have been Pai’s first appearance as FCC chairman. This will also be the first time in last five years when Pai will miss the expo. As of now, there is no word on why Pai cancelled his appearance at the show, but it seems like the net neutrality controversy could be a reason for the same. At CES, the audience was likely to strongly oppose Pai’s rulings.

The cancellation was announced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) in an email that reads, “Unfortunately, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is unable to attend CES 2018. We look forward to our next opportunity to host a technology policy discussion with him before a public audience.” However, a spokesperson from CTA confirmed The Verge that Ohlhausen would still be appearing at CES.

Over the past one year, Pai has been no stranger to controversy. In fact, his name has become synonymous with rollback of net neutrality, a major decision that hasn’t gone well with the consumers. The rollback of “net neutrality” rules in December last year means that internet providers no longer need to treat all traffic equally.

With FCC killing net neutrality in the US, internet service providers can now create so-called “internet fast lanes” along with paid prioritization for companies that can afford it. This could mean that despite having high bandwidth, some ‘paid’ sites may load faster than others.

For those hoping to express strong opinions about net neutrality at CES, Pai’s fellow FCC commissioners Brendan Carr, Mignon Clyburn, Michael O’Reilly and Jessica Rosenworcel are still scheduled to attend the expo, Mashable reports.

  • Published Date: January 4, 2018 9:58 AM IST