Chairman Pai is making lots of enemies on the road to 5G

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Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is angering a lot of powerful people as his chairmanship hits its fourth and potentially final year. The Pentagon, the Commerce Department and the Department of Transportation. Electric utilities, airlines and the auto industry. Public safety officials and weather forecasters. Top lawmakers of both parties, including Sen John Kennedy (R-LA) an ally of President Donald Trump’s who controls the FCC’s purse strings on the Senate Appropriations Committee. “I wouldn’t take him with me to buy a car because he’d pay full sticker price and then try to give the salesman a bonus,” Sen Kennedy said earlier in 2020, criticizing Chairman Pai's plan to offer satellite operators billions of dollars to give up their airwaves for 5G. 

And most of the criticism is because of actions Chairman Pai has taken in 2020. Barbs coming Chairman Pai’s way have multiplied in recent months as he leads the FCC in divvying up billions of dollars’ worth of wireless spectrum for a new generation of Wi-Fi and 5G wireless service — moves that are leaving a lengthening trail of winners and losers and putting Chairman Pai's decision-making and career experts under the microscope.

The clear winners include Comcast, Facebook, AT&T and other Silicon Valley and telecom titans that say Chairman Pai’s policies will help the US vie with China for technological supremacy. To his allies, Chairman Pai is heroic for taking on parochial interests keeping America from making the objectively best uses of its digital resources. To his foes, however, he’s going rogue in ways that waste taxpayer money and could endanger public safety.

Ajit Pai is making lots of enemies on the road to 5G