If you caught an Ajit Pai speech at a telecom trade show in the last couple years, you quite likely heard his opinions that he wanted to see the FCC’s operations become more transparent to the public. Now that his title has moved from commissioner to chairman, it’s apparent he’s looking to have a lot more say in the matter.
In a statement released Thursday, Pai points out that FCC proposals and orders aren’t a secret exactly, but average U.S. citizens probably won’t see them. “Lobbyists with inside-the-Beltway connections are typically able to find out what’s in them,” Pai says. “But the best that average Americans will get is selective disclosures authorized by the chairman’s office − disclosures designed to paint items in the most favorable light. More often, the public is kept completely in the dark.”
Pai announced a pilot project that he notes “if successful, will become a Commission practice − one that will give the public much more insight into the Commission’s activities.” Specifically, he released two documents that he presented to his fellow commissioners for a vote at the FCC’s February meeting. They include a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that seeks comment on allowing broadcasters to use ATSC 3.0. The second is a report and order giving AM radio broadcasters more flexibility in siting their FM translators.
Pai’s fellow Republican FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly cheered the moves.
“Today is a major step forward for the agency in terms of transparency and accountability,” O’Rielly says in a statement. “While it may make our jobs a bit more challenging, it is the right thing to do for the American people, the practitioners before the Commission, and the professional press who report on Commission activities.”
O’Rielly further states that he thinks it could prove a significant upgrade in terms of quality of feedback and quality of process.
Filed Under: Industry regulations