FCC chairman Ajit Pai bails on CES appearance rather than face constituents

The annual Consumer Electronics Show is slated to begin next week in Las Vegas, but one notable speaker has just pulled out of the event. The Consumer Technology Association announced today that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will not be in attendance at CES, despite being scheduled for a sit-down interview…

Pai was slated to sit down with CTA president and CEO Gary Shapiro for a “candid conversation” covering “connectivity, spectrum issues, Next Gen TV, developments in broadband and competition policy, and a recap of the chairman’s impactful first year.”

The FCC refused to comment on Pai’s cancellation, while the CTA issued the following, albeit it brief, statement to The Verge:

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

Ironically, Shapiro was in favor of Pai’s push to reverse Obama-era net neutrality rules, so it’s unlikely the interview would have been anything other than a friendly, lighthearted discussion.

Of course, CES would have marked the first time that Pai faced a large number of his constituents since reversing the Obama-era net neutrality rules, and his welcoming by CES attendees would likely have been anything but pleasant.

With Pai’s cancellation, CES 2018 will be a rare case where the FCC chairman has not been in attendance. It’s become an annual tradition that the sitting FCC chairman speak at the event. Last year, Tom Wheeler was due to step down two weeks after CES, so Pai attended in his place.

While Pai won’t be there, the 9to5 sites will have numerous reporters on the ground at CES 2018, bringing you all of the news and hands-on coverage you need. Be sure to check back next week for that.

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