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FCC chairman not attending CES 2019 due to shutdown

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FCC chairman not attending CES 2019 due to shutdown

U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai will no longer be attending the annual Consumer Electronics Show organized by the Consumer Technology Association because of the government shutdown, his office confirmed Jan 3.

The conference, which will run from Jan. 8-11 in Las Vegas, has had an increased focus in recent years on solutions expanding beyond personal devices to streets and cities. Artificial intelligence, driven by machine learning and the internet of things, and automation of transportation took center stage in 2018 during keynotes from large corporations such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Intel Corp. That trend will likely continue in 2019 as companies such as Dell Inc. promise to focus on the intelligent future.

Pai was scheduled to give an annual address Jan. 8 that was expected to touch on the future of 5G.

While the first 5G-enabled mobile devices may still be months away for the average consumer, a QUALCOMM Inc. executive recently confirmed that all major Android phone manufacturers have models in the works for 2019, and some companies could put their first 5G phones on display. Companies such as Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. will likely discuss the results of their 5G tests in separate keynotes.

Pai also skipped CES in 2018, reportedly over death threats in the wake of the commission's order repealing net neutrality rules.

It has become a tech tradition that the sitting FCC chairman speaks at CES.