Pai to leave FCC; Rosenworcel new Chair?

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Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has announced his intention to leave the Commission on January 20, 2021, coinciding with the incumbency of President-Elect Biden.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve at the Federal Communications Commission, including as Chairman of the FCC over the past four years,” said Pai in a Statement. “I am grateful to President Trump for giving me the opportunity to lead the agency in 2017, to President Obama for appointing me as a Commissioner in 2012, and to Senate Majority Leader McConnell and the Senate for twice confirming me. To be the first Asian-American to chair the FCC has been a particular privilege. As I often say: only in America.”

“I also deeply appreciate the chance to have worked alongside the FCC’s talented staff. They are the agency’s best assets, and they have performed heroically, especially during the pandemic. It’s also been an honor to work with my fellow Commissioners to execute a strong and broad agenda. Together, we’ve delivered for the American people over the past four years: closing the digital divide; promoting innovation and competition, from 5G on the ground to broadband from space; protecting consumers; and advancing public safety. And this FCC has not shied away from making tough choices. As a result, our nation’s communications networks are now faster, stronger, and more widely deployed than ever before,” he stated.

“I am proud of how productive this Commission has been, from commencing five spectrum auctions and two rural broadband reverse auctions in four years, to opening 1,245 megahertz of mid-band spectrum for unlicensed use, to adopting more than 25 orders through our Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative, to aggressively protecting our communications networks from national security threats at home and abroad, to designating 988 as the three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and much, much more. I’m also proud of the reforms we have instituted to make the agency more accountable to the American people. In particular, for the first time ever, we’ve made public drafts of the proposals and orders slated for a vote three weeks before the agency’s monthly meetings, making this the most transparent FCC in history.”

Current Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel is hotly tipped to be nominated as Chair by Biden. She originally served on the FCC from May 11th, 2012 to January 3rd, 2017, and was confirmed by the Senate for an additional term on August 3rd, 2017.

Pai was the senior Republican Commissioner when named as Chair to replace Tom Wheeler, whose resignation as coincided with President Trump’s inauguration.


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