President Trump's FCC Chairman pick Ajit Pai received harsh criticism from Ro Khanna, California's Democratic Congressman for District 17, who directly stated his opinion on the new FCC and the person leading it during the latest episode of the Recode Decode podcast. While speaking on that occasion, Khanna called Pai "one of the worst picks possible in government," and went on to say that Pai is "a mouthpiece for telecom companies," pointing to a recent decision that Charter would not have to offer high-speed internet in areas where competitors already offer it, which critics argue is fostering a monopoly in the industry.
Khanna also predicted that Trump's most loyal base, i.e. rural voters and those in Middle America will be hit hardest by Pai's FCC and its recent decisions. According to Khanna, many of those people will be stuck with a single option or no options at all for some FCC-regulated services because of Pai's tendency to side with corporate interests. The Democrat also criticized the FCC's stance on net neutrality, saying that the decision to do away with the rules ensuring open internet could result in less competition in regards to internet providers, and could also hurt innovation, both by providers and by content creators on the World Wide Web.
The Congressman also laid into the FCC's decision to repeal Tom Wheeler-era protections against ISPs selling consumer information that would have gone into effect later this year if they weren't revoked, asserting that removing such protections is unwise as internet companies need more regulation while the main argument for the repeal was leveling the feel between them and ISPs. Instead, he proposed an "internet bill of rights" that would protect consumers' privacy and data, among other things. The idea would be to not target one certain type of corporate entities but offer consumers protection from anybody who may want their data for their own reasons, including the likes of Google and Facebook that Khanna named specifically. Finally, Khanna said he'd support a bill that would put the same restrictions on internet companies that telecom entities would have been subject to, even if that bill was introduced by a Republican.