Speaking at Barcelona's Mobile World Congress (MWC), the newly-appointed chief of the United States telecoms watchdog doubled down on his previous pledges to loosen industry regulations, The Verge reports, claiming they stifle innovation and competition.
During his speech at MWC, Pai likened the move to "last-century, utility-style regulation. Rules developed to tame a 1930s monopoly were imported into the 21st century to regulate the Internet", he argued. And all wireless carriers have invested in completing their 4G deployments and preparing for 5G.
"America's approach to broadband policy will be practical, not ideological. That should always be the test, regardless of what regulation we are speaking of", Pai said.
"Pai's frequent charge that investment has declined is based on the claims made by one industry-paid analyst, who selectively edits the figures reported by some of these companies".
In the little over a month since being tapped as chair, Pai has already gone to work chipping away at the rules enshrining net neutrality. "Networks don't have to be built". Risks don't have to be taken. Wider access to broadband internet and 5G wireless will continue what Pai described as "the democratization of the internet".
Since the FCC's net neutrality rules were imposed in 2015, Pai has called for them to be rescinded and with a Republican majority on the commission now, he's in a position to make that happen.
Both Comcast and Verizon also promised to increase investment in infrastructure, he noted - attributing that fact to "more network usage and - surprise! - that increased usage is driving more revenue per user".
"Chairman Pai wants people to believe that he's a champion for more open and affordable broadband. It's just that simple". "The more hard the government makes it to deploy investment, the less likely that broadband providers will take the risk".
If such actions were not taken, Pai, operators might not be willing to invest in more advanced networks needed to support 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) and USA businesses would suffer as a result.
An indication of the swift reversal of FCC policies by the new chairman was Pai's announcement of the end of an investigation into "zero-rating" or free-data services. Apparently that narrative is very much alive in Pai's head as well. They wrote, "Market realities refute any concerns about anticompetitive effects".
The FCC doesn't expect to review the AT&T-Time Warner deal, which is valued at more than $85 billion. Today, broadband companies are poised to introduce new connection technologies with the debut of 5G data and a constellation of smart appliances that can communicate with one another over the Internet. The Commission, he said will take "targeted action to address real problems" instead of using broad strokes to prevent hypothetical harms. "The same agency that should be the "cop on the beat" when it comes to ensuring appropriate consumer protections is leaving broadband customers without assurances that their providers will keep their data secure", she said in a statement.