New FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, and his regulatory philosophy

Written by on January 30, 2017 in Guest Blog with 0 Comments

On 24 January 24, President Trump made it official – Ajit Pai is the new FCC Chief. Ajit Pai was widely expected to be appointed chairman on at least an interim basis, but Politico says Trump is appointing him as a long-term chair. That would mean Ajit Pai could lead the commission throughout Trump’s four-year term in the White House.

“Pai, who met with Trump in New York, had been seen by many as a top contender for the job given his reputation as a telecom law expert who’s comfortable in front of the camera,” Politico wrote. “But his selection is also somewhat of a departure for the incoming administration, which has tapped people outside of Washington for many top positions.”

Ajit Pai’s Regulatory Philosophy

(From the FCC website) 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.

  • Consumers benefit most from competition, not preemptive regulation. Free markets have delivered more value to American consumers than highly regulated ones.
  • No regulatory system should indulge arbitrage; regulators should be skeptical of pleas to regulate rivals, dispense favors, or otherwise afford special treatment.
  • Particularly given how rapidly the communications sector is changing, the FCC should do everything it can to ensure that its rules reflect the realities of the current marketplace and basic principles of economics.
  • As a creature of Congress, the FCC must respect the law as set forth by the legislature.
  • The FCC is at its best when it proceeds on the basis of consensus; good communications policy knows no partisan affiliation.

Ajit Pai has long maintained that the FCC under former chairman Thomas Wheeler had overstepped its bounds, suggesting that he would steer the agency in a direction more favorable to big phone and cable companies. In a December speech, he expressed confidence that the 2015 net neutrality rules would be undone and said the FCC needed to take a “weed whacker” to what he considered unnecessary regulations that hold back investment and innovation.

Consumer advocates have been concerned that a deregulation-minded FCC could potentially allow more huge mergers, overturn new protections for internet users and lead to higher costs for media and technology companies that rely on the internet to reach consumers.

Ajit Pai opposed online privacy regulations that force broadband providers to ask consumers for permission before using their data, saying they are more onerous than the requirements for internet companies like Google and Facebook.

This appointment could signal a very rapid unravelling of the FCC’s Net Neutrality stance and have some interesting implications. Tom Wheeler’s legacy may be facing an Obamacare-like fate, he can’t really be too happy about it.

More here [Politico], here [FCC] and here [ABC].

This article was first published on Pricing Data Plans.

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About the Author

About the Author: Jonathon has been lurking around the Telecoms and Internet space for the last 20 years. He is now a man on a mission – that being the reformation of the Industry Analyst business. He is working with his co-conspirators on transforming the Industry Analyst world forever as an Expert with EMI. .

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