Ajit Pai to head FCC: Can wireless operators revive business?

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai
Ajit Pai, an Indian-American from Kansas, will be heading telecom regulator Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at a time when US wireless operators are looking for a favorable review of net neutrality guidelines under President Donald Trump’s administration.

Net neutrality guidelines under President Barack Obama’s administration had negatively impacted the broadband investment plans of top wireless operators in the U.S. Ajit Pai is against net neutrality rules. President Donald Trump is also keen to make changes in the current net neutrality norms.

Wireless operators are happy about the appointment of Ajit Pai as he next chairman of FCC because telecom operators such as AT&T and Verizon are aiming for a review of net neutrality norms.

Ajit Pai is also well known for supporting big telecoms’ merger movements that support the growth of the telecom industry in the U.S. Ajit Pai was instrumental in releasing spectrum for mobile broadband and advocating investment in innovation.

Comcast Corp, AT&T Inc, Verizon Communications Inc, Frontier Communications Corp, T-Mobile US Inc and Charter welcomed Pai’s appointment, Reuters reported.

“Chairman Pai will work with his fellow commissioners to quickly and decisively put back in place the commonsense regulatory framework necessary to support the president’s agenda,” AT&T said.

Advocacy group Free Press President Craig Aaron said Pai “has been on the wrong side of just about every major issue that has come before the FCC during his tenure. He’s never met a mega-merger he didn’t like or a public safeguard he didn’t try to undermine.”

U.S. Telecom, an industry trade group, said in a statement it shares Pai’s vision for a “future based on a bold but pragmatic strategy to erase the many regulatory barriers impeding the expansion of our nation’s communications infrastructure, and the jobs and economic opportunity that depend on it.”

5G Americas, a telecom industry body, congratulated Commissioner Ajit Pai on his designation as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by President Donald J. Trump. 5G Americas has long admired Ajit Pai’s leadership, particularly his focus on getting wireless spectrum to the market.

Ajit Pai’s background

Ajit Pai, a Republican member of the FCC, has been an FCC commissioner since 2012. Ajit Pai spent nearly 15 years in U.S. government. Ajit Pai worked as senate staff, FCC member, and in the Justice Department. Incidentally, Ajit Pai was a lawyer for telecom giant Verizon and an attorney at the law firm Jenner & Block.

“I am grateful to the President of the United States for designating me the 34th Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.  I look forward to working with the new Administration, my colleagues at the Commission, members of Congress, and the American public to bring the benefits of the digital age to all Americans.”

“Key to developing 5G in the U.S. is freeing up more spectrum, removing barriers to infrastructure deployment, and encouraging innovation and investment in the network and mobile technologies,” said Commissioner Ajit Pai as a speaker during 5G Americas’ technology briefing for government leaders in November 2015.

Ajit Pai, one of the two Republican commissioners on a 5-member panel, was a critic of net neutrality rules under President Barack Obama. Ajit Pai did not support the decisions of Democrats on the FCC.

Earlier, FCC chairman Thomas Wheeler had stepped down in the wake of Donald Trump becoming the new President. Thomas Wheeler requested the telecom stakeholders against reviewing the net neutrality norms.

Ajit Pai had also opposed online privacy regulations that force broadband providers to ask consumers for permission before using their data, saying they are more onerous than the requirements for internet companies like Google and Facebook.

Ajit Pai voted against approving Charter Communication’s $67 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable and a smaller company, Bright House, because some of the conditions required by the FCC, like barring data caps on home internet service, amounted to government meddling in business.

Ajit Pai voted to approve AT&T’s 2015 acquisition of DirecTV.

Baburajan K