Pai pledges to deregulate US telecoms market

James Pearce
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In a speech invoking Ronald Reagan, FCC chair Ajit Pai said he will "cut red tape" to drive investment and cut the broadband divide

FCC chairman Ajit Pai has said he plans to axe as much “government regulation of the telecommunications market place” as he possibly can.

The FCC chair used a speech at the Reagan Library in California to praise predecessors who served during the Reagan administration for their deregulatory philosophy, saying he “strives for that bar every day”.

Praising former FCC chairs Mark Fowler and Dennis Partick, Pai said: “Mark Fowler and Dennis Patrick each did a fantastic job leading the agency.  They moved aggressively to eliminate unnecessary rules and implement President Reagan’s deregulatory philosophy.  They set a high bar for those who came after them—and I strive for that bar every day.”

Before quoting a passage of a Ronald Reagan speech, Pai said that he believed the former president – “the eternal optimist” – would try to embrace the potential presented by new technology.

He pointed to statistics about the current state of connectivity in the US, with one quarter of Americans in rural areas lacking access to high-speed fixed broadband services, compared with just 2% in urban areas.

He said to tackle this, he would cut red tape. Pai explained: “The most powerful tool for expanding digital opportunity is market-based, light-touch regulation—for this maximizes private investment in high-speed networks.  That’s why we’ve sought to break down regulatory barriers to installing wireless and wireline infrastructure.  Too often, government at all levels makes it hard for companies to construct next-generation networks.  So we’re focused on cutting as much of this red tape as we can.”