The FCC recently issued an extensive list of Chairman Pai’s many accomplishments during his first three years as Chairman. Published just a few days before adoption of perhaps his biggest triumph to date, at least for small RLECs – the $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) – the list is nonetheless very impressive.
It is broken down into six major categories, beginning with Bridging the Digital Divide. Under this grouping are several key initiatives to expand broadband to rural America, as well as to make it better and faster. Included are $1.5 billion to bring broadband to more than 700,000 homes and businesses in rural America through the Connect America Fund; promoting broadband in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; and increasing broadband deployment on tribal lands.
The Promoting Innovation and Investment section of the report includes major successes in many areas, including promoting 5G connectivity. Of even greater impact is implementation of the extremely important Restoring Internet Freedom Order. This brought back lighter touch regulation to the internet, a much-needed reversal of the heavy-handed, utility-style regulatory burden placed on broadband providers in 2015 by the previous FCC.
The other categories in this report cover Protecting Consumers, Enhancing Public Safety, Transparency and Process Reform, and Eliminating and Modernizing Outdated Regulations. Each contains many positive innovations and improvements in such areas as robocalls, access arbitrage, cramming/slamming and rural call completion.
Including the recently approved RDOF, we believe that most RLECs, other carriers, consumers, regulators and many additional stakeholders have benefitted greatly from the policies of Chairman Pai and this Commission.