FCC chairman Ajit Pai has rewritten the rules of the information age so thoroughly that there's no mode of communication under his control where the regulations aren't looser than they were a year ago.
Why it matters: Many top Republican priorities have been stuck in Washington gridlock since Trump took office. Not so at the FCC. They're looking for another win when the FCC votes Thursday on Pai's controversial plan to repeal the net neutrality rules that have been in place since 2015.
While some of these moves were bipartisan, Pai's most aggressive proposals have divided the FCC and the nation. He's actively courted the right — most recently launching a broadside against Silicon Valley that attracted support from Trump backers — and inspired scorn on the left.
At an event last week, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren called him the "point man" for a "corporate takeover of the FCC."
The big question: What impact will Pai's deregulatory spree really have on consumers?
- His deregulation of the broadcast industry opens the door to more consolidation among the outlets where most Americans get their local news. More people could, for example, end up reading a newspaper in the morning owned by the same company as the station that produces their newscast in the evening.
- Watch for more zero-rating plays from big broadband providers, where they don't charge for a certain service like streaming, potentially favoring content they produce. That could, however, matter less with so many consumers on unlimited wireless data plans.
- Internet service providers will be able to offer paid "fast lanes" to edge providers — Netflix, Hulu, etc. That's a cost that could be passed along to consumers. Startups also worry those sorts of arrangements would make it harder to compete with the big players.
Yes, but: Big changes for consumers won't come immediately.
"In five years, we'll probably know whether eliminating the net neutrality rules was a mistake or smart policy, but in 2018 the internet will look exactly the same to consumers regardless of what the FCC does," Paul Gallant of the Cowen Washington Research Group tells Axios.
Go deeper: Flip through our card deck on Pai's biggest deregulatory moves in the Axios stream.