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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

Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategy

Biden signs executive orders on Jan. 21. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday signed a slew of executive orders to address the coronavirus pandemic, including an interstate face mask mandate and an order to renew supplies of PPE, testing materials and vaccines through the Defense Production Act.

Why it matters: The stakes are highest for Biden’s vaccination effort. Several states cannot keep up with demand.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Stalemate over filibuster freezes Congress

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell's inability to quickly strike a deal on a power-sharing agreement in the new 50-50 Congress is slowing down everything from the confirmation of President Biden's nominees to Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Whatever final stance Schumer takes on the stalemate, which largely comes down to Democrats wanting to use the legislative filibuster as leverage over Republicans, will be a signal of the level of hardball we should expect Democrats to play with Republicans in the new Senate.

Dave Lawler, author of World
3 hours ago - World

Biden opts for five-year extension of New START nuclear treaty with Russia

Putin at a military parade. Photo: Valya Egorshin/NurPhoto via Getty

President Biden will seek a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with Russia before it expires on Feb. 5, senior officials told the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The 2010 treaty is the last remaining constraint on the arsenals of the world's two nuclear superpowers, limiting the number of deployed nuclear warheads and the bombers, missiles and submarines which can deliver them.

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