FCC's Pai Gets Industry Welcome for Return Engagement

Associations praise chair’s reconfirmation

FCC chair Ajit Pai may have been hammered by Senate Democrats trying unsuccessfully to block his confirmation vote, but he was feeling the love from industry players and some others as he was confirmed to a new, five-year term, retroactive to June 2016.

“I am deeply grateful to the U.S. Senate for confirming my nomination to serve a second term at the FCC and to President Trump for submitting that nomination to the Senate," said Pai following the vote. "Since January, the commission has focused on bridging the digital divide, promoting innovation, protecting consumers and public safety, and making the FCC more open and transparent. With today’s vote, I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to advance these critical priorities in the time to come.”

Related: FCC Chair Ajit Pai Confirmed to New Term

“I extend my congratulations and best wishes to Chairman Ajit Pai on his reconfirmation by the United States Senate," said Democratic commissioner Mignon Clyburn, herself a former FCC chair. "Even when our views differ, my admiration of the chairman’s commitment to public service remains. I look forward to continuing to work with him to advance our shared goals.”

Former Republican FCC chair Michael Powell, now head of NCTA-The Internet & Television Association, said: “We congratulate Ajit Pai on his confirmation for a new five-year term. During his tenure at the FCC, Chairman Pai has consistently demonstrated a thoughtful approach to policymaking that promotes consumer welfare through marketplace competition and innovation. We share Chairman Pai’s vision for policies aimed at spurring continued investment and expanding opportunity for all Americans, and we look forward to working with him and all members of the commission in pursuing policies that protect consumers and promote the continued growth of new networks and services.”

American Cable Association president Matt Polka said: "ACA congratulates FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on his Senate confirmation for a new five-year term. Since he took the reins of the FCC this past January, Chairman Pai has been implementing a forward-looking agenda by promoting investment in broadband networks, particularly in unserved areas, eliminating barriers that hinder private investment, and ensuring that public funds are distributed efficiently in areas that would most benefit. He also has focused on easing or eliminating outdated and unnecessary rules. This will enable small businesses throughout the country to spend time serving their customers instead of navigating the red tape of bureaucracy."

Patrick Butler, president and CEO of America's Public Television stations, said: “We are grateful for the Chairman’s support for public television and our work in education, public safety and civic leadership, and we wish the now-complete commission well in meeting the challenging agenda ahead. We look forward to working with the Chairman to ensure a smooth post-auction channel repacking process, expeditiously approve the Next Generation broadcast standard, and reform the broadcast regulatory structure to reflect the realities of the 21st century."

National Association of Broadcasters President Gordon Smith, said: “NAB congratulates FCC Chairman Pai on being confirmed to another five-year term at the commission. Chairman Pai understands broadcasting's unique role as an indispensable communications medium, and we appreciate his effort to ease outdated regulatory burdens on local radio and TV. We share his vision for a vibrant communications future that allows local broadcast innovation and robust competition to largely unregulated broadband and pay programming providers."

NTCA CEO, Shirley Bloomfield said: “NTCA congratulates Chairman Pai on his Senate confirmation to serve a second term on the Federal Communications Commission. Hailing from Kansas, he knows first-hand what quality and affordable communications mean to rural communities, and we are eager to continue working with the Chairman and his colleagues on removing barriers to investment and advancing and sustaining our nation’s universal service goals.”

USTelecom CEO Jonathan Spalter said: “The Senate made the right call today. FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s laser-sharp focus on closing the digital divide has the potential to make a significant difference in the lives of millions of Americans. At his core, he gets that broadband matters to our nation’s communities, be they large or small, urban or rural. The USTelecom community stands ready to work with him in the years ahead to promote more network investment and advance smart, common-sense policies that will put broadband first so that all Americans can access high-speed internet service, no matter where they live.”

Charter EVP Catherine Bohigian said: “We congratulate Chairman Pai on his confirmation to a new term at the Federal Communications Commission. His commitment to policies that spur innovation and investment in broadband technology will connect more people and businesses of all sizes, including those in rural America, to high speed Internet, create jobs and help grow the U.S. economy. We look forward to continuing to work with him and his colleagues at the Commission to usher in a new era of wired and wireless connectivity and help close the digital divide."

Mark Nielsen, EVP and general counsel for Frontier Communications, said: "Frontier Communications congratulates Chairman Pai on his Senate confirmation and new term leading the FCC. We also thank the chairman for his keen understanding of the public benefits, and special challenges, of the wireline industry."

AT&T EVP Joan Marsh said: “Today’s Senate vote to confirm Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai for a new term is a welcomed and wise decision. Chairman Pai has shown tremendous leadership during his short tenure as head of the FCC. His commitment to conducting fact-based and transparent Commission proceedings has resulted in the adoption of sound policies that will encourage investment in our nation’s wireless and broadband infrastructure and benefit the American people.”

Former Republican FCC chair Robert McDowell, chief public policy advisor for Mobile Future, said: “Today’s Senate vote to reconfirm my friend and former colleague, Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai, is a vote of confidence in his positive, constructive, inclusive and forward-looking vision for the future of America and our continued global leadership in communications and technology. I congratulate him on this great achievement. Early in his tenure, Pai acted quickly to bring greater transparency and accountability to the FCC’s regulatory process. His reforms have produced refreshing certainty for consumers and industry alike."

Meredith Attwell Baker, CTIA CEO and a former Republican FCC commissioner, said: "On behalf of CTIA and the wireless industry, we congratulate Chairman Ajit Pai on his reconfirmation to the Federal Communications Commission. Chairman Pai’s continued leadership and expertise is essential as we transition to next-generation 5G wireless networks. He understands the need for smart policies to spur investment, innovation and growth and the importance of America continuing to lead the world in wireless.”

Comcast senior EVP David Cohen said: “We commend the Senate’s decision today to reconfirm Ajit Pai as FCC chairman. Throughout his over five years at the FCC as a commissioner and during his nine-month tenure as chairman, Ajit Pai has favored deregulatory policies aimed at encouraging innovation, investment, job creation and economic growth – all in an effort to best serve consumers.  We look forward to continuing to work with him and the full slate of FCC commissioners, to modernize regulation while ensuring that every effort is made to connect all Americans.”

CenturyLink VP David Bartlett said: “CenturyLink commends the Senate for reconfirming Ajit Pai as FCC chairman, a position for which he is extremely well-qualified given his deep understanding of the complex challenges facing today’s communications industry. We applaud Chairman Pai for his strong sustained leadership on broadband deployment for all Americans in all parts of the country and for his work preserving an open Internet."