It also has a major role in controlling the content of television and radio. An independent US government agency overseen by Congress, the Commission is the federal agency responsible for implementing and enforcing America's communications law and regulations.
Pai, whose term was to end later this year, was reappointed on Monday for a five-year term after getting a majority of 52-41, with most of the Democrats voting against him as they complained that Pai will undermine net neutrality.
Nelson joined his colleagues on the Senate floor, saying "the vast majority of the actions of Chairman Pai have served to eliminate competitive protections, threaten risky industry consolidation, make the internet less free and less open, and weaken critical consumer protections for those most vulnerable". His new five-year term is retroactive to July 1, 2016.
AT&T, which has been a staunch opponent to Title II and special access reforms, said in a statement that Pai's nomination for a second term will give it and other providers more freedom to enhance and expand their networks. While the Chairman is big on expanding rural broadband and has talked about increasing transparency at the FCC, it's safe to say that there won't be many (if any) new consumer protection rules under his tenure. "We look forward to continuing to work with him and the full slate of FCC Commissioners, to modernize regulation while ensuring that every effort is made to connect all Americans". The rules were put in place by the FCC during the Obama administration to prevent Internet providers from deliberately speeding up or slowing down traffic from specific websites and apps.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., warned that Pai "will do an enormous amount of damage to one of the foundational principles of the internet - net neutrality". Pai, a Republican, gained his seat on the commission in 2012 after a nomination from President Obama and a voice vote in the Senate.
Ajit Pai is the Federal Communications Commission chairman. "Even when our views differ, my admiration of the Chairman's commitment to public service remains", said Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. "In the months and years ahead, I look forward to continuing our work to advance a pro growth, less regulatory communications environment that best serves the consumer".
"We applaud Chairman Pai for his strong sustained leadership on broadband deployment for all Americans in all parts of the country and for his work preserving an open Internet", said David Bartlett, VP of federal government affairs for CenturyLink, in a statement.
Pai grew up in Parsons, Kansas and now lives in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife, Janine; son, Alexander; and daughter, Annabelle. Pai attended Harvard University and earned B.A. with honors in Social Studies and a J.D. from the University of Chicago in 1997.