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Chairman Pai Compares His FCC to Reagan Era

Randy Sukow

The need for greater access to broadband internet was one of the chief themes of a speech FCC Chairman Ajit Pai delivered yesterday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA. Reagan-style deregulation is one of the paths to rural Internet growth, he said.

So far during his tenure as chairman, Pai has emphasized rolling back regulatory measures adopted by the previous FCC, especially the reclassification of internet service as Title II telecommunications. During his speech, he invoked Reagan’s FCC Chairman, Mark Fowler, who led a similar array of deregulatory measures in the 1980s to promote growth of broadcasting and cable TV growth.

Pai quoted Fowler as saying: “We want to eliminate, as much as we can, government regulation of the telecommunications marketplace so as to permit present players to provide new and innovative services to consumers and likewise permit new players to come in and compete.”

He characterized that statement as “basically our approach today.” He said that the current FCC’s “market-based, light-touch” approach will provide incentive for investment in wireless and wireline high-speed networks.

“We’re also trying to make it easier for new technologies and services to enter the marketplace,” Pai said. “We’ve approved the next-generation of satellite constellations. We’ve encouraged new fixed wireless companies to innovate. And we’ve proposed to make it easier for small fiber companies to string lines, whether in the Louisiana bayou or inner-city Detroit.”

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