Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has developed a plan top open up the commission and make it more transparent to the public. From The Hill:
“Today, we begin the process of making the FCC more open and transparent,” Pai told reporters. “I’m pleased to announce this morning a pilot project that, if successful, will become a commission practice — one that will give the public much more insight into the commission’s activities.”
Until now, the commission would announce items on the agenda for its monthly meetings, but the text of the rules would not be made public until after commissioners voted.
Pai also recently “circulated an order waiving the FCC’s Open Internet order’s enhanced transparency requirements for smaller ISPs for five years and upping the trigger for that waiver to 250,000 subs or fewer.” This fits with a bill the House passed in early January called the Small Business Broadband Deployment Act:
“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,” said Pai. “Accordingly, I believe the FCC should be sensitive to the impact regulations can have on such businesses. I have proposed and voted in favor of this exemption in order to be faithful to that commitment, and I am pleased to report that I am not alone. My colleague Commissioner Michael O’Rielly has authorized me to say that he has done the same.”
“I remain hopeful that the full Commission will adopt this bipartisan compromise swiftly. Further delay will only force the companies to divert scarce resources away from investing in rural America and toward filling out needless paperwork.”
Pai’s decisions have pleased House Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Technology Subcommittee Chairwoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN):
“This is the type of transparency we’ve been urging the FCC to implement for the last several Congresses. Then-Commissioner Pai and Commissioner O’Rielly had long pushed for greater transparency during Chairman Wheeler’s tenure, and we are pleased to see that just two weeks into Commissioner Pai’s chairmanship we are already seeing positive changes at the commission,” Walden and Blackburn said in a joint statement.
To show he’s ready for transparency, Pai discussed two items on the FCC’s agenda for February. These include the FCC “seeking public input on a proposal to allow television broadcasters to use the ATSC 3.0, a next-generation standard” while the other wants to “give more flexibility to FM radio stations rebroadcasting AM programming.” From The Hill:
“Should things go well, my hope is to make it the norm to publicly release, well in advance, the text of all agenda items for monthly commission meetings,” Pai said. “And my goal is a simple but powerful one: equal access to the administrative process.”
President Donald Trump received praise for appointing net-neutrality foe Pai as chairman. As GOP commissioner to the FCC “he voted against the net-neutrality order in 2015.” He told the Free State Foundation in December that he remained confident “that the current net-neutrality law’s ‘days are numbered,’ and that he’d like the future FCC to ‘fire up the weed wacker’ and remove numerous regulations currently in place.”
He spoke with ReasonTV in February 2015 about why net neutrality will not work:DONATE
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