FCC to cite it in the 2015 net neutrality; it didn’t precisely because it
RUSH: Here’s what this guy is ultimately afraid of. He loves Netflix.
So he’s afraid that since Netflix uses so much bandwidth, so much
data, that they’re going to get preference in speeds and delivery
from the ISP, crowding out others who he may not want to patronize, or may want to patronize. In other words, Netflix is going to get
an advantage, because they have a lot of money, and they use a lot
of data and bandwidth, and it’s going to end up costing him extra
when it shouldn’t. That’s what he’s afraid of.
PAI: Right. I can understand that concern but ultimately for the
government to get involved in that marketplace there are going to
be all kinds of unintended consequences and that’s just not something I think the FCC’s equipped to do.
RUSH: As Chairman, what do you consider to
be the primary role of the FCC as it would impact daily consumer or daily life in America?
PAI: That is the fundamental question that I
had a chance to think about just prior to taking this job. The primary concern that I hear
from consumers when I travel is not net neutrality, the notion that certain internet service
providers are acting as gatekeepers. It is that
people want better, faster, cheaper internet options. They want to be connected to the network. They want digital opportunity. And so,
from our perspective, I think the FCC should
be focused on broadening internet access
throughout the country. Anybody who wants
access to the internet should be able to get it in
a competitive, innovative marketplace.
And speaking of left-wing publications, I
was amused to read another article summarizing that hearing where the writer expressed
disdain for the fact that senators focused not
on the hot button issues like net neutrality but on what this writer
called, quote, “The [FCC’s] banal duties, like figuring out spectrum
sharing and ways to deploy broadband to rural areas.” [Laughs] To
me, that’s not banal at all. That’s exactly what consumers want. They
want a government that’s focused on creating a regulatory environment in which the private sector has the maximum incentive to invest
in the networks. They don’t want a government regulator sitting
there picking winners and losers and trying to fix a problem that
didn’t exist in the first place. And that’s certainly the spirit with
which I’m going to embrace the job so long as I’m privileged to serve
RUSH: You have the uncanny ability to reduce things to their absolute essence. Because that’s exactly what it is. Take any American
you want, at home or in the office, when they go online they expect
the connection to work, they expect the speeds to be sufficient, that
they can do what they need to do in the amount of time it needs to
be done. They don’t expect it to cost an arm and a leg. They want it
to be dependable. And they want the data to arrive as they’ve requested it and ordered it.
Now to keep everything running, you have to be focused on spec-
trum, bandwidth, all kinds of things. There’s much more involved in
all this than anybody would ever stop to think about. Most people
probably don’t know what spectrum is, but it’s the range of frequen-
cies that the FCC regulates and assigns. For example, WiFi has a spec-
trum, Bluetooth has a spectrum, and so forth. What role does the FCC
have in making sure the spectrum expands and is also accessible by
any number of entities that can deliver it to people?
PAI: We have a huge role in affecting spectrum policy, and that’s one
of the concerns I have with net neutrality, is that it’s distracted a lot of
attention away from these types of efforts, efforts that would actually
deliver value for the American consumer. You know, one of the first
things that people do when they check into a hotel room, when they
go home, when they get on an airplane, is to figure out if there’s a
WiFi connection — and one of the things I focused on since I got
here was trying to get more spectrum into the commercial marketplace to make WiFi more usable, to make it faster, to allow you to
have more data that you can send over a wireless connection.
Some of those efforts have been sitting on a shelf, in part because we’ve been so focused on this phantom of net neutrality, that
we just haven’t been able to devote enough bandwidth, pardon the
pun, on things like WiFi. So one of the areas where I’m hoping to
really make a mark here at the Commission, is getting more spectrum available for WiFi, for cellular networks, and for any other
kind of wireless technology that could help people have a better
connection to the internet.
RUSH: I’m reading a lot about 5G cellular connection, T-Mobile,
AT&T, maybe Verizon too, that it will vastly increase speeds over
LTE [Long-Term Evolution]. That’s something you would be involved in regulating, policing, encouraging? Correct?
PAI: Absolutely. That’s one of the things I’ve been working extensively with the private sector on. From our perspective, it’s a question of getting enough spectrum out there for the engineers and
technologists to use. I’ve been meeting with some of these engineers, including just last week at a wireless conference, and they’re
showing me the ability to deliver multiple gigabits of data per second over these wireless connections in some of this 5G spectrum.
We stand on the brink of an incredible digital revolution if the