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Ajit Pai to step down as FCC chair Jan. 20

Pai's five-year term wasn't set to end until July 2021.

Ajit Pai

Pai will depart the FCC on Jan. 20.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The chairman announced his decision to leave his post before the end of his term in a statement, saying it has "been the honor of a lifetime" to serve in that role. "To be the first Asian-American to chair the FCC has been a particular privilege," Pai wrote. "As I often say: only in America."

In his statement, Pai listed what he believes are some of the agency's signature accomplishments during his tenure, including "closing the digital divide; promoting innovation and competition, from 5G on the ground to broadband from space; protecting consumers; and advancing public safety."

Pai has been a controversial figure in tech circles for his decision to roll back net neutrality protections and his crackdown on subsidies to get low-income people connected to the internet. His departure comes at a time when students across the country are being left out of remote learning due to a lack of devices or internet connection or both.

While it's not unusual for agency heads to step down after a new president assumes office, Pai's five-year term wasn't set to end until July 2021.

Read more about the likely candidates to take his place under President-elect Biden's administration.

Twitter’s future is newsletters and podcasts, not tweets

With Revue and a slew of other new products, Twitter is trying hard to move past texting.

We started with 140 characters. What now?

Image: Liv Iko/Protocol

Twitter was once a home for 140-character missives about your lunch. Now, it's something like the real-time nerve center of the internet. But as for what Twitter wants to be going forward? It's slightly more complicated.

In just the last few months, Twitter has rolled out Fleets, a Stories-like feature; started testing an audio-only experience called Spaces; and acquired the podcast app Breaker and the video chat app Squad. And on Tuesday, Twitter announced it was acquiring Revue, a newsletter platform. The whole 140-characters thing (which is now 280 characters, by the way) is certainly not Twitter's organizing principle anymore. So what is?

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David Pierce

David Pierce ( @pierce) is Protocol's editor at large. Prior to joining Protocol, he was a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, a senior writer with Wired, and deputy editor at The Verge. He owns all the phones.

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