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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai at an open meeting earlier this year. Photo: Robin Groulx / Axios

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai slammed Silicon Valley backlash to his plan to repeal net neutrality rules and accused major web companies of being responsible for the kind of content discrimination they oppose. "In this way, edge providers are a much bigger actual threat to an open Internet than broadband providers, especially when it comes to discrimination on the basis of viewpoint," he said.

The bigger picture: Pai has the votes to adopt his plan, which would undo the existing rules against blocking, throttling and fast lanes on the internet. Critics — many from Silicon Valley — are becoming more vocal leading up to the Dec.14 vote. And it will likely be challenged in court.

The details:

  • "They might cloak their advocacy in the public interest, but the real interest of these Internet giants is in using the regulatory process to cement their dominance in the Internet economy," Pai said of large tech giants who favor net neutrality rules.
  • "The plan will bring back the same rules that governed the internet for most of its existence," Pai said at an event hosted by conservative groups. "Now, if you've been reading some of the media coverage about this plan, this might be news to you."
  • He ticked off the names of his celebrity critics on Twitter, like Cher and actors Mark Ruffalo, George Takei, Alyssa Milano and Kumail Nanjiani. "We need quality information, not hysteria, because hysteria takes us to unpleasant, if not dangerous places," he said.

Be smart: Pai is trying to portray opposition to the net neutrality repeal as a product of elites in tech, Hollywood and the media as opponents of his plan claim vast public support for their cause.

Go deeper

5 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.

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