FCC Chairman Ajit Pai
Two of the Federal Communications Commission’s top priorities are closing the digital divide in rural America and advancing United States leadership in 5G, the next generation of wireless connectivity. The commitments made today by T-Mobile and Sprint would substantially advance each of these critical objectives.
Based on a thorough review of the record, I have serious concerns about the Sinclair/Tribune transaction. The evidence we’ve received suggests that certain station divestitures that have been proposed to the FCC would allow Sinclair to control those stations in practice, even if not in name, in violation of the law. When the FCC confronts disputed issues like these, the Communications Act does not allow it to approve a transaction. Instead, the law requires the FCC to designate the transaction for a hearing in order to get to the bottom of those disputed issues.
Chairman Pai: "The report maintains the same benchmark speed for fixed broadband service previously adopted by the Commission, which we earlier proposed to retain: 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload. The report also concludes that mobile broadband service is not a full substitute for fixed service. Instead, it notes there are differences between the two technologies, including clear variations in consumer preferences and demands.
Much has been said and written over the course of the last week about the plan to restore Internet freedom. But much of the discussion has brought more heat than light. I’d like to cut through the hysteria and hot air and speak with you in plain terms about the plan. First, I’ll explain what it will do. Second, I’ll discuss why I’m advancing it. And third, I’ll respond to the main criticisms that have been leveled against it.
Rounding out our December meeting will be two matters that were previewed yesterday.
First, the Federal Communications Commission will consider an order that would restore Internet freedom and return to the bipartisan, light-touch framework that helped America's Internet economy become the envy of the world. And unlike the previous Administration, which pushed through its Internet regulations without letting the public see what was being proposed, anyone can read my plan. It's on the Commission's website —more than three weeks before our scheduled vote.
Chairman Pai Circulates Draft Order To Restore Internet Freedom And Eliminate Heavy-Handed Internet Regulations
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai released the following statement on his draft Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which was circulated to his fellow Commissioners Nov 21 and will be voted on at the FCC’s Open Meeting on December 14:
[Commentary] For over four decades, the Federal Communications Commission has restricted the ability of broadcast media outlets to also own newspapers, and vice versa, in the same market, under what is known as the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule. This rule was established in 1975 with the stated purpose of preserving and promoting a diversity of viewpoints. Arguably, it made sense at the time. But with the internet now dominating the news landscape, the rule is no longer needed, and may actually be undermining the diversity of viewpoints it was intended to foster.
We’ve gathered to discuss 5G security, of course, but I think it’s important to say up front that we can’t let these challenges hold back our efforts to unlock the possibilities of 5G itself. Over the past few years, the Federal Communications Commission has aggressively executed what we call our 5G FAST plan. This strategy for promoting 5G innovation and investment features three key parts: freeing up commercial spectrum, promoting the installation of wireless infrastructure, and encouraging fiber deployment.
From the outset of the pandemic, it was clear that we needed to do everything we could to connect patients with their health care providers. So back in March, the Federal Communications Commission immediately made an additional $42 million available through our Rural Health Care Program. We also waived socalled “gift rules” so that participants in the Rural Health Care Program could solicit and accept better services or additional equipment for telemedicine from their broadband providers. And thanks to Congress, we were able to do much, much more.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai implored governors around the country to take action to ensure incarcerated individuals can maintain vital community connections by addressing the too-often exorbitant rates and fees charged for inmates to make intrastate phone calls. Chairman Pai and Brandon Presley, President of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), wrote to the leadership of the National Governors Association to highlight this issue and focus the attention of state leaders on their unique power and responsibility to address this problem.