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.

Filed Under: ajit pai, ces, fcc, net neutrality


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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Jan 2020 @ 6:28am

    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.

    Not for nothin’, but “I would like to say” implies that even he doesn’t believe his own bullshit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 9 Jan 2020 @ 6:45am

      Re:

      I would like

      I bet you would!

      if I may

      You may not!

      to take you

      Take me!

      on a strange journey.

      How strange was it?

      So strange they made a movie out of it!

      Not the book, the movie!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2020 @ 8:40am

      Re:

      I'd also say it's not his bullshit, and he's not making it up at CES. It's pre-made bullshit from former and/or future employers.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2020 @ 7:06am

    CES _ Pai

    why would CES organizers repeatedly invite any FCC bureaucrat to speak there ?

    What did they expect Pai to say that the general CES audience wanted to listen to ?

    Who would the CES audience really like to hear there ?

    What is the primary purpose of the annual CES ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 9 Jan 2020 @ 7:15am

      Re: CES _ Pai

      "What did they expect Pai to say that the general CES audience wanted to listen to ?"

      About the same as they did when they gave Ivanka Trump the keynote? They're clearly not interested in real tech at the moment.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2020 @ 8:31am

        Re: Re: CES _ Pai

        This.

        It's great they want to be more inclusive, but get a woman who is actually tech savvy. No digs against Ivanka but as a matter of public record, technology is not her field of expertise.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 9 Jan 2020 @ 9:01am

          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.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2020 @ 10:56am

            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.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 10 Jan 2020 @ 3:49am

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

              Her expertise is in using her name and position to shill her stuff, which is basically clothing and jewellery.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 10 Jan 2020 @ 5:24am

              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.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 10 Jan 2020 @ 5:27am

                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.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Jan 2020 @ 6:13am

          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.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2020 @ 12:30pm

      Re: CES _ Pai

      Shapiro is an ass, and on a serious roll this year. See who else he has invited.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2020 @ 7:41am

    the really worrying thing isn't that whether the bullshit Pai is coming out with is false or not but whether it's believed and it has been found so many times that those in Congress do believe it! the problem obviously being that he is then left to sling more and more bullshit and still nothing is ever done to make things right!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 9 Jan 2020 @ 8:33am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2020 @ 10:09am

    “Up 60 percent”

    He considers America’s dial up 1996 internet broadband. That’s hilarious lol

    You know when people used to make fun of Chinese products for being shoddy and inferior?

    That’s americas Internet: shoddy and inferior

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2020 @ 11:31am

    Toasty

    No monthly fee will ever make that face look attractive.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 9 Jan 2020 @ 12:26pm

    AND STILL

    He hasnt done anything..not even his job..

    Senators Still Skeptical .ORG Sale to Private Equity Firm Won't Harm Nonprofits..

    Would of been nice if it hadnt happened. Who is responsible for the internet now?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2020 @ 1:59pm

      Re: AND STILL

      At this point the only thing that’s left is to work against his employers until they suffer enough fiscally to go under.

      That’s about all I can think of

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 10 Jan 2020 @ 9:42am

      Re: AND STILL

      He hasnt done anything..not even his job..

      That depends entirely on who you, and more importantly he, thinks he's working for.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2020 @ 3:55pm

    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!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 9 Jan 2020 @ 9:56pm

    Not even professional industry shill Dick Bent was able to "prove" the impossible claim that the NN rules harmed ISP investment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2020 @ 12:06am

    I was wondering where Richard Bennett was in all this. Guess he's committed to 2020 the same way he's done so the last few years: between Pai's legs!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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