Posts Categorised: Ajit Pai

The FCC chair has proposed $954M to help fix comms networks there, but critics aren’t happy with his efforts

SAN JUAN — FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has answered a question that broadcasters likely had on their mind. Unfortunately, the answer is “no.”

On Tuesday, Pai had “proposed to direct $954 million toward restoring and expanding communications networks in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands” in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricane season. The initiatives are dubbed the “Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund” (Bringing Puerto Rico Together Fund) and “Connect USVI Fund Would Improve Connectivity for Residents “

The chairman’s trip to Puerto Rico and the proposal were not entirely well received. One particularly critical article came from the Register: “April Fool: FCC finally bothers with Puerto Rico as chairman visits .” Yikes.

On Thursday, Pai tweeted a photo of a San Juan sunrise with a seemingly innocuous caption detailing his itinerary — and got more than he bargained for.

Things got interesting when Juan Carlos Pedreira — a tech reporter for Univision in Miami who also has a J.D. — tweeted a question in reply:

Pai answered:

The internet, apparently, was not pleased by this response. A flurry of GIFs, sarcastic comments and other, more aggressive, replies followed.

This was not Pai’s first foray into the world of controversy. The chairman is active on social media, and Twitter has been a favorite platform for citizens to air their grievances over Pai’s position on Net Neutrality and other issues.

Pai leaves the island Friday and travels to the US Virgin Islands. 

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Pai Welcomes NTIA Spectrum Study

Will explore 3450-3550 MHz band’s suitability for commercial wireless services

WASHINGTON — “We are fully committed to collaborating with NTIA to ensure that the U.S. continues to lead the world in advanced wireless technologies as we chart the course to our 5G future,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement Monday.

Pai was reacting to the announcement that the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s has selected the 3450-3550 MHz band for a feasibility study exploring the band’s potential for commercial wireless services; this spectrum is currently used for federal purposes, according to Pai’s statement.

[Read more: “NTIA Offers Expanded Federal Government Spectrum Use Reports ”]

“The commission, working together with NTIA, has already made the 3.5 GHz band available for wireless services and we recently initiated a process to consider whether all or parts of the adjacent satellite spectrum can also be made available. Altogether, this could unleash a contiguous block of hundreds of megahertz of valuable spectrum for new technologies and services, including 5G,” Pai said.

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Publication of the final text of the decision signals that lawsuits challenging the rule rollback can be filed

WASHINGTON — It’s official. Thursday, Feb. 22, was the red letter day for court and congressional challenges to the FCC’s Dec. 14 decision to roll back FCC network neutrality rules and reclassify ISPs out from under Title II common carrier regs.

The FCC has delivered the final Restoring Internet Freedom order to the Federal Register, which has just signaled it would be publishing that order on Thursday.

Publication of the final text of the decision signals that lawsuits challenging the rule rollback can be filed, and triggers the FCC’s determination of the date when the rules go into effect — challenges can begin even before that effective date. That doesn’t necessarily mean the rules will go into effect soon. The FCC said in the order that it would not release an effective date until the Office of Management and Budget approves the new reporting requirements of the enhanced transparency rules and that, too, has been published in the Federal Register, which has not happened yet. That reporting requirement is central to enforcement of net neutrality in the absence of bright-line rules, since the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department will rely on what ISPs say they are doing to decide whether that is unfair or deceptive or anticompetitive.

Publication also triggers a 60-legislative-day deadline for Congress to vote on a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution, pushed by Democrats and net neutrality activists, to nullify the decision. That is a long shot bordering on simply a shot across the vow in advance of the legal challenges to come, and a way to keep the issue alive for Democrats who see it as a midterm election issue.

The FCC had already sent copies of the order to House and Senate, but the CRA clock does not start until Register publication, according to Hill and FCC sources.

On Dec. 14, in a politically divided 3-2 vote (On Dec. 14, in a politically divided 3-2 vote, the FCC chairman Ajit Pai-led Republican majority eliminated the rules against blocking, throttling, paid prioritization, as well as the “general conduct standard,” which gave the FCC a way to potentially prohibit anticompetitive or discriminatory ISP conduct that was not covered by the rules.

Importantly, it also reclassified ISPs as Title I information services, removing them from the common carrier regulatory bucket and giving chief oversight of ISP conduct to the Federal Trade Commission under its unfair, deceptive and anticompetitive authority.

The item restores the FTC’s authority over broadband regulation, and adopts a transparency rule that requires ISPs to let the government and web users know how they are managing their networks and what business practices they are using, which the FTC can enforce if those practices are unfair or deceptive or anticompetitive, and the Justice Department can enforce if they violate antitrust laws.

That means ISPs could block or throttle, though they have promised not to, and engage in paid prioritization, which some ISPs may want to try as a way to differentiate their services.

The FCC also asserts the ability to preempt state or local attempts to create their own net neutrality laws or regulations.

The Dec. 14 vote was a long-sought victory for ISPs, who argue that the Democratic-led FCC’s 2015 reclassification of internet access as a Title II common-carrier service subject to those bright-line rules was regulatory overreach that depressed investment and innovation to no pro-consumer purchase.

Among net-neutrality activists, who had pulled out all the stops in the last days to try to head off the vote, it was billed as a death blow to the open Internet by a former Verizon lawyer (FCC chair Ajit Pai) in service of the Trump Administration and communications monopolies looking for even more power.

Which side will ultimately prevail is now in the hands of the Congress and the courts, the latter just the latest in a series of trips over the past decade.

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Ajit Pai will visit islands to review recovery efforts

WASHINGTON — In a few weeks, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will head south to review the status of communications restoration efforts after the 2017 hurricane season, the commission announced.

From March 7–10, Pai will visit Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands along with members of the commission’s Hurricane Recovery Task Force. During this follow up to his November trip, they will meet with meet with leaders and service providers, according to the announcement.

[Read more: “Pai Visits Puerto Rico “]

“The FCC remains committed to supporting recovery efforts and helping to restore, and in some cases rebuild, communications networks as quickly as possible,” Pai said in the press release announcing his trip. “I look forward to leading a team to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to get a firsthand assessment of the situation on the ground. It’s important to learn what has worked well and what could be done better — and to apply those lessons to future storms.”

The announcement also chronicled what the FCC has done to help support broadcasters in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. They have:

  • advanced nearly $77 million in universal service funding
  • accelerated the post-incentive auction transition
  • granted temporary waivers of Lifeline’s recertification rules
  • expedited approval of an experimental license for Alphabet’s Project Loon
  • approved targeted and flexible E-Rate support to help restore connectivity of schools and libraries
  • and granted more than 500 waivers and requests for Special Temporary Authority to help reestablish communications

[Read more: “FCC Approves Project Loon’s Expansion Over Puerto Rico “]

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