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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will step down on January 20th

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Pai oversaw the rollback of net neutrality rules and the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint

FCC Chair Ajit Pai Testifies Before Senate On Agency’s Oversight Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has announced plans to depart the commission when President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20th. Pai has served on the FCC since 2012.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve at the Federal Communications Commission, including as Chairman of the FCC over the past four years,” Pai said in a statement. “To be the first Asian-American to chair the FCC has been a particular privilege. As I often say: only in America.”

Pai was appointed chairman in 2017 and served for the duration of the Trump administration, overseeing an unusually active period in federal telecom policy. He began his term with the controversial decision to roll back Title II classification, undoing the net neutrality rules put in place under President Obama.

More recently, Pai oversaw the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, which he called “a unique opportunity to speed up the deployment of 5G throughout the United States.” Pai also implemented new measures to fight robocalls and established a national suicide prevention hotline number. Pai’s tenure coincided with a significant shift in Republican telecom policy, with Republican commissioners like Brendan Carr advocating for a more aggressive FCC role to regulating social media platforms.

In his statement, Pai placed particular emphasis on the procedural transparency measures he put in place. “For the first time ever, we’ve made public drafts of the proposals and orders slated for a vote three weeks before the agency’s monthly meetings,” Pai said, “making this the most transparent FCC in history.”