Newly appointed Chairman Ajit Pai has wasted no time in putting his stamp on the Federal Communications Commission.
He recently named Commissioner and fellow Republican Michael O’Rielly to serve as Chairman of both the Federal-State Joint Boards on Universal Service and Jurisdictional Separations, as well as the Federal-State Joint Conference on Advanced Services.
Chairman Pai also instituted an internal reform measure by pledging that his office will share with every Commissioner every item that will be considered at Open Meetings, before his office discusses those items publicly, or the FCC releases the content of those documents.
His FCC fired a shot at net neutrality (Pai is NOT a fan) when the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau retracted its recent report on sponsored data and zero-rating practices in the mobile broadband market. The Bureau also sent letters to Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Comcast closing the inquiries into each company’s sponsored data and zero-rating practices, and took no further action on the inquiry.
The FCC also filed a motion with the D.C. Circuit Court, asking that it hold in abeyance the proceeding to review the Commission’s Lifeline Reform order. Per the motion, holding up this proceeding will give the newly reconstituted FCC the opportunity to determine how it chooses to proceed.
Pai, the former aide to Kansas Senator Sam Brownback and later an associate general counsel at Verizon, summed up his regulatory philosophy in a recent speech to the Free State Foundation: “We need to fire up the weed whacker and remove those rules that are holding back investment, innovation and job creation.”
It promises to be an interesting time at the FCC.