March 22, 2013
Pai Chart – 4 Ways to Improve the FCC
By Joyce Wang
While it’s not clear yet who will be the new FCC chmn, one thing is for certain. It’s not going to be Ajit Pai unless he switches parties. We got a glimpse this week at what the soon-to-be lone Republican commish would do as chairman to modernize the FCC process based on his remarks at the at Free State Foundation, a free market think tank. FCC chairman Julius Genachowski and Republican commissioner Robert McDowell both announced this week that they will be leaving the agency in coming weeks. Pai won’t be the next FCC chief, but maybe the next one will take his suggestions under advisement.
1. Be Nimble: “I try to create a framework that maximizes incentives,” Pai said, calling on regulators to take a “holistic view” of the market. A failure regulators often come to is “they don’t recognize how dynamic the industry is,” he said.
2. Keep Deadlines: The Republican commish repeated his complaint that the agency needds to do a better job following deadlines and staying on schedule. Specifically, the agency should codify its 180-day “shot clock” deadline for reviewing transactions, he said. He also proposed imposing a 9-month deadline for acting on applications for review and a 6-month deadline for waiver requests. In addition, a digital dashboard should be created to allow the public to track the agency’s process reviewing applications.
3. Competition is Real: Not everyone will see eye-to-eye with Pai on this one. But the Republican said the agency needs to recognize that thanks to the industry’s transition to IP, there has been a lot more competition than ever before, regardless of different views on the competitiveness of the market. He referenced the upcoming IP transition. The reality is that the vast majority of Americans have different Internet service options, he said.
4. Go Big: When it comes to the pending incentive spectrum auction, the key to success is maximizing auction participation, Pai said. If the agency starts to pick and choose who may participate by narrowing the spectrum screen or setting a spectrum cap, it will result in less participation, less revenue and less spectrum available for broadband, he said.