New FCC Chairman Ajit Pai reiterated his priorities following the Commission’s first meeting under the new administration Tuesday, singling out the need to close the “digital divide” and roll back burdensome regulation.
“On my first full day as chairman, I met with the commission staff in this very room and I made explicitly clear that there would be no higher priority to me than closing the digital divide that persists in this country,” Pai told reporters. “Another priority in the months ahead will be to remove unnecessary or counterproductive regulations from the books … We want to make sure that our regulations match the realities of the modern marketplace.”
Among the measures widely expected to be on the chopping block given Pai’s history of opposition to the measure is the much talked about Open Internet Order to ensure net neutrality. Pai indicated he and Commissioner Michael O’Rielly have written to associations representing small internet service providers and told them they would not be applying some of the rules laid out in the order to those smaller providers, in what he framed as a move to support the circulating exemption for small businesses.
Pai reiterated that he’s in favor of a free and open internet and opposes carrier reclassification under Title II. But the chairman was tight lipped about what other roll back measures might be on the table in terms of net neutrality and Title II, saying the commissioners “have not made any determinations at this time.”
Pai also responded to reporter questions about a rumored restructuring of the FCC that would shift some commission functions to other agencies. Similarly, Pai said he hasn’t yet made any determinations as far as a potential reorganization would go, nor has he had any conversations with the White House on the matter.
Additionally, Pai refused to comment on whether the AT&T-Time Warner merger would pass through an FCC review, though AT&T has indicated it doesn’t believe the FCC will need to have a hand in approving the transaction.
Filed Under: Industry regulations