Pai: Leaving FCC in a Better Place


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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says he’s leaving the agency better than it was four years ago. In recent speeches and interviews, he’s called leading the Commission “the greatest honor of my professional life.”

Pai recently told The Freestate Foundation, a think tank, that since he began as a Commissioner in 2012, “I spent a lot of time thinking about what I could and would do if I had the chance to help make the FCC more effective.”   

In terms of process reform, Pai’s proud of bringing more transparency and accountability to decision makers. For decades, prior to the Commission’s monthly meeting, his predecessors would circulate their proposals or orders to the other Commissioners’ offices—only. The public only saw the text after the final vote.

“This never made sense to me,” said Pai. “I was offered a smorgasbord of excuses why it couldn’t be done.” He made it happen two weeks into his tenure. “You shouldn’t have to show up to the FCC or hire a lawyer and lobbyist with FCC connections to know what we’re doing,” said Pai. “Whether you’re in D.C. or Des Moines, you should have equal insight into our work.”

The FCC became one of the first federal agencies to shift to a work-from-home environment due to the pandemic. Pai said at the time, the move “generated some disapproval” from others in the federal government.

He’s also proud to highlight economic and data analysis and maximizing the effectiveness of the FCC’s biggest asset, its people. “We made the agency more transparent. We cemented the importance of good economic analysis,” he said. “And we put our people first. Thanks to these key reforms, I would like to think I’m leaving the agency better off than when I arrived.”

Pai said earlier he intends to leave the agency January 20, Inside Towers reported. To listen to the Wireless Water Cooler podcast of January 8, 2021 with Pai, visit the Inside Towers website, Spotify, Amazon or iTunes.

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