How Silicon Valley Became the FCC Chair’s Scapegoat

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In a speech on Nov 28, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai angrily denounced celebrities and tech companies who have been criticizing his plans to undo the 2015 rules. Hollywood is always a good scapegoat, of course, and Republicans looking to stir up anger in 2017 do well to frame their issues as a response to the unchecked power of Silicon Valley.

An irony to the Silicon Valley scapegoating is that people from both sides of the debate say that the biggest internet companies have been less than fully engaged in the net neutrality debate. It has been a point of consistent grumbling from the most enthusiastic net neutrality advocates. If Comcast started charging web services for faster internet speeds, Facebook and Alphabet’s Google would have no trouble paying the tolls. Smaller companies might, however, leaving them at further competitive disadvantage. There’s a pro net-neutrality school of thought that the rules are needed to prevent the internet giants from gaining an even greater advantage over smaller companies.

Chairman Pai has the votes to upend the way the federal government treats competition on the internet. His chosen plan has made many people very angry. So he’s taken the default strategy of anyone involved in American politics circa 2017 – whip up some anger of his own. 


How Silicon Valley Became the FCC Chair’s Scapegoat