Ajit Pai Hits CES… To Make Up Some Shit About Net Neutrality

from the regulatory-capture-is-just-so-hot-right-now dept

In 2018, you might recall that Ajit Pai had to cancel his CES appearance due to clearly idiotic death threats. In 2019, Pai had to cancel a scheduled appearance due to the government shutdown. Fast forward to 2020 and Ajit Pai finally made it back to CES, and he used the opportunity to… make up some nonsense about net neutrality.

In a cozy, unchallenging chat with the CTA’s Gary Shapiro, Pai once again trotted out the canard that modest net neutrality rules crushed US broadband sector investment, insisting that his hugely unpopular decision to kill net neutrality has resulted in, by golly, some amazing things for American consumers:

“Since we made the decision in December 2017, broadband speeds are up 60 percent according to Ookla, infrastructure investment is up, more Americans are getting connected to the internet than ever before. More fiber was laid in 2019 to homes and businesses in the United States than in any year since they’ve been keeping records, breaking the record we set in 2018.”

But as we’ve been over repeatedly, there’s absolutely no evidence that Pai’s net neutrality repeal actually contributed to those improvements, and the claim that net neutrality hurt broadband investment is indisputably false. It’s simply not debatable. SEC filings, earnings reports, numerous investigations — even the public statements of countless CEOs have shown Pai’s not telling the truth:

“Last September, a massive study reviewed telecom earnings reports and SEC filings between 2009 to 2018 and found absolutely no evidence that the repeal helped spur US broadband network investment. The findings mirrored another major study by consumer group Free Press, which found some ISPs actually invested more while the rules were active.
Numerous journalists have come to the same conclusion after digging through industry earnings reports. Even telecom industry CEOs have admitted repeatedly to investors—who by law they can’t lie to—that the rules had no impact on their broadband investment strategies.”

While broadband speeds have increased, there too is zero evidence that killing net neutrality was to thank for it. Some of the bump is thanks to cable operators upgrading to DOCSIS 3.1, something the FCC had nothing to do with. Some of it is thanks to community broadband fiber builds, something the current FCC actively opposes. And some of it is thanks to merger conditions affixed to AT&T’s 2015 merger with DirecTV by the previous FCC, bringing fiber to 12.5 million homes by an act of regulatory action (ironic given Pai is trying to frame those gains as the product of regulatory restraint).

Pai’s clearly been informed that he’s wrong on most of these points, but like so many in the post-truth era apparently doesn’t care, hopeful that repetition somehow forges reality. Much like he did in 2017 when he celebrated the giant middle finger he’d just given consumers by dancing with a pizzagate conspiracy theorist, Pai took the opportunity at CES to make light of a justifiably pissed public:

“I would like to say that thanks to our efforts, more Americans than ever before, faster than ever before, are able to hate-tweet their favorite FCC chairman.”

Guffaw. It’s worth repeating that the net neutrality repeal didn’t just kill net neutrality, it obliterated the FCC’s ability to hold ISPs accountable for all manner of shady bullshit, be it false advertising, location data privacy scandals, or charging consumers rental fees for modems they already own. That’s before you get to the litany of identity theft and fraud that accompanied the repeal itself, something that doesn’t get any more hilarious in hindsight.

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Comments on “Ajit Pai Hits CES… To Make Up Some Shit About Net Neutrality”

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24 Comments
PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re: CES _ Pai

Exactly. If inclusion is their goal, this actually makes it worse – you’re a high powered tech engineer who knows her stuff and would be a true asset there on stage? You’ll still be overruled in favour of the nearest nepotistic bimbo your male bosses think will get them headlines.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: CES _ Pai

I don’t know Ivanka personally, so I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt on her intelligence. It’s entirely possible that she is incredibly smart and whatever her area of expertise is, she’s really good at it. Just not tech, and it does not appear to be politics either.

Otherwise, yes I agree with your statement.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: CES _ Pai

"It’s entirely possible that she is incredibly smart and whatever her area of expertise is, she’s really good at it"

Her area of expertise, as demonstrated to the public at least, is being the spawn of a narcissistic, delusional, bankrupt conman who somehow managed to get elected to high office.

I’m happy to admit any other qualities that might become apparently, but they’ve not been demonstrated to the public as yet.

"Just not tech, and it does not appear to be politics either."

Indeed. Then, she has no business being in the positions in tech and politics that her nepotistic fame has taken her.

Wendy Cockcroftsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: CES _ Pai

*…a narcissistic, delusional, bankrupt conman who somehow managed to get elected to high office.**

…a narcissistic, delusional, bankrupt conman who was elected to high office due to the continuing machinations of the right wing press, dark money, and Russian interference. All of that stuff keeps him in office when he should have been booted from the ballot ages ago.

Scary Devil Monasterysays:

Re: Re: Re: CES _ Pai

"It’s great they want to be more inclusive, but get a woman who is actually tech savvy."

^This.

It’s pretty fucking ironic that IT, with a legacy including Grace Hopper, Ada Lovelace, and a few dozen other great computer experts, has somehow become the exclusive man’s domain as soon as there was real power in it.

Plenty of great tech experts with a double-X chromosome.

That One Guysays:

Fish swim, birds fly, and Pai lies.

Since the truth would completely demolish his claims it’s hardly a surprise that he’d simply lie, lie, and lie some more any chance he gets to talk without fear of being called out on his lies. More telling is that lies are all he apparently has to defend his position, showing just how dishonest he is and how baseless his claims are.

Anonymoussays:

This has got to stop

Funny enough I just tried out his promises to work by downloading something off my horrible internet.

Not only did I pay for it? Somehow the thing is so broken…that when the data got through? It?s somehow existing/not existing in some place where it did not really install on my device but it says it?s on it! I LITTERALLY got screwed out of money because of poor internet speeds and a ISP that won?t maintain lines that are already outdated!

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