New FCC Chair – Ajit Pai: opposed Net Neutrality, former counsel to Verizon

Here’s a brief description of the new FCC Chairman from Telecompetitor

Pai has opposed Open Internet, also known as Net Neutrality regulation, suggesting the future of that regulation could be in peril – as could the decision to classify broadband as a Title II telecommunications service, which was coupled with the commission’s most recent moves on Net Neutrality. Pai also has opposed regulating broadband business services – a move that the commission under Wheeler had been poised to make. He has opposed efforts by the FCC that would make it easier for municipalities to build their own broadband networks.  And he has opposed broadband privacy regulation.

Issues on which Pai has found consensus with Democratic colleagues include universal service reform, spectrum allocation and others

Apparently he has demonstrated an interest in rural broadband…

Pai grew up in Kansas and on various occasions has demonstrated an interest in and understanding of rural telecom issues, as well as fiscal conservatism.

Several months ago, for example, Pai advocated giving tax breaks to network operators to deploy gigabit service in certain rural areas and using 10% of the money raised from spectrum auctions for the deployment of mobile broadband in rural America.

Digging deeper into Pai’s previous recommendations, it looks like he’s a proponent of mobile solutions…

The Pai Gigabit Opportunity Zones proposal also calls for the creation of a Mobility Fund Phase II as part of Universal Service reforms. The program would cover some of the costs of deploying mobile broadband in high-cost rural areas and would be funded – at least in part – through spectrum auctions. Pai’s speech notes that the proposed program would have raised $700 million annually if it had been in place over the last 10 years

The idea of dedicating 10% of spectrum auction proceeds to mobile broadband deployment could be a compelling one at a time when some people have questioned whether the current Universal Service budget is sufficient to support the cost of nationwide wired and wireless broadband deployments. Currently the Universal Service program is funded through the telecom industry as a percentage of voice revenues. But proposals to expand the contribution base to include broadband services have met with strong resistance, even as the program has been expanded to fund broadband deployments.

This entry was posted in FCC, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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