Ajit Pai appointed to lead US Communications Commission

 

Ajit Varadaraj Pai has been appointed as the Chairman of the United States Federal Communications Commission, appointed by President Donald Trump in the earliest days of that administration. He is the first Indian American to hold the office.

Ajit Pai is the senior Republican on the Federal Communications Commission. He was nominated to the FCC by President Barack Obama and was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate on May 7, 2012.

Commissioner Pai’s regulatory philosophy is informed by a few simple principles. Rules that reflect these principles will result in more innovation, more investment, better products and services, lower prices, more job creation, and faster economic growth.

Pai introduced a proposal that would not only extend that waiver for a full five years, but expand it. If passed by the rest of the agency’s commissioners, any service provider with fewer than 250,000 subscribers will not be bound by the transparency requirements.

The plan mirrors a similar, bipartisan proposal in Congress, and Pai, in a statement, argued that the regulations would have an unreasonable impact on small business. “Federal regulations have a disproportionate effect on small businesses — businesses that are often the linchpin of a more competitive marketplace and that don’t necessarily have compliance resources,” he said. Still, it will likely be disappointing to any customers buying service from one of those providers and hoping to keep track of what they’re paying for.

When the FCC passed its net neutrality rules in 2015, they included transparency measures for internet service providers. Big providers were required to submit information to regulators and consumers on data caps, fees, and speeds, but the order also included a temporary waiver for providers with less than 100,000 subscribers. After a re-extension, the transparency requirements would have gone into effect this month. Pai has made no secret of his hostility to the net neutrality rules, saying recently that the rules’ “days are numbered.”

Commissioner Pai has been an outspoken defender of First Amendment freedoms. Public safety is a top priority for Commissioner Pai. He took action to ensure that consumers can reach emergency services whenever they dial 911. Commissioner Pai has fought to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in federal programs. He was the first commissioner to demand an end to corporate welfare in a recent major spectrum auction; the agency ultimately agreed, saving taxpayers over $3 billion. Pai was the first member of the FCC in over two decades to call for revitalizing the AM radio band; the basic reforms he proposed were adopted in 2015. He also urged the FCC to create a task force to study the “Internet Protocol Transition” and report on obsolete rules that could be repealed; that task force was created. He proposed a way for the FCC to address petitions filed by the public much more quickly; that “rocket docket” is now in place and has dramatically sped up the agency’s decision-making.

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