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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s Appearance at CES Canceled

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will not appear at the Consumer Electronics Show next week, where he was scheduled to take part in a conversation with FTC Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen and Gary Shapiro, the president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association.

“Unfortunately, Federal Communications Chairman Ajit Pai is unable to attend CES 2018. We look forward to our next opportunity to host a technology panel discussion with him before a public audience,” Shapiro said in a statement.

No reason was given for the cancellation. An FCC spokesman was asked why Pai was unable to attend and said, “We don’t have anything to share at this time.”

It was anticipated that net neutrality would be a big topic of discussion. Last month, the FCC adopted Pai’s proposal to roll back many of the agency’s net neutrality rules, including those banning blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization. In its place were rules requiring that internet service providers make greater disclosure of their traffic management practices, while the FTC would take a greater part in handling consumer complaints.

But the FCC’s action was met by protests outside its headquarters and across social media. Democrats and some Republicans were critical of the move, and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is seeking a vote on a resolution to restore the rules. A number of state attorneys general say that they plan to challenge the FCC’s action in court.

Three other FCC commissioners — Brendan Carr, Michael O’Rielly, and Mignon Clyburn — are scheduled to attend a separate panel previewing the 2018 regulatory environment.

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