“Do our rules help or hurt innovation,” said FCC Commissioner, Ajit Pai at the 2013 ACA Summit. Pai was talking about the dynamic nature of the telecommunications and video industry and how it is important that regulations stay current. He has a number of ideas the FCC can implement without Congressional action, including setting and sticking to deadlines, establishing sunset clauses to prevent the lingering of outdated rules and setting up an online dashboard to show FCC progress to its goals.
He points out that regulations from 20+ years ago need to change to reflect today’s competitive video marketplace. He suggests Congress could help the FCC do its job by allowing the FCC to grant forbearance for cable regulations (as with telephone regulations), so the FCC could refrain from enforcing a regulation or statute when the regulation no longer serves the public interest or facilitated competition.
Pai explained that there are certain areas, such as retransmission consent, where the FCC has limited ability to affect change without Congressional action. In a discussion with ACA’s Matt Polka, just before the above interview, he described one such proposal, the Next Generation Television Marketplace Act, from U.S. Congressman Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) and U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), as offering a fundamental transformation that would change the nature of FCC regulations in the video marketplace.
It is clear that Pai, who grew up in a small town approximately 3 hours south of Kansas City, KS, appreciates the importance and the challenges of bringing content and broadband to rural America, particularly with its low densities that make for relatively high-costs per subscriber.
2013 ACA Summit coverage brought to you by the ACA and ViodiTV.