Ajit Pai Exits FCC

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai
(Image credit: N/A)

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai issued a statement as he ended his tenure at the FCC, which he pointed out was 12 years as an employee, eight years as a commissioner, and the last four as chairman.

Senior Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel is expected to take over as either acting chairman by the end of the day--someone has to be in charge if a command decision is needed--or as chairman. 

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“Serving the American people as Chairman of the FCC has been the greatest honor of my professional life," Pai said. "Over the past four years, we have delivered results for the American people, from narrowing the digital divide to advancing American leadership in 5G, from protecting consumers and national security to keeping Americans connected during the pandemic, from modernizing our media rules to making the agency more transparent and nimble. It has been a privilege to lead the agency over its most productive period in recent history. 

“None of this—not a single action, big or small—would have been possible without the incredible staff of the FCC. They are remarkable public servants who brought to the task each day their expertise, diligence, and collegiality.  As I’ve had the chance to tell them during farewell events over the past week, they are inspiring public servants. I’ll miss working with our engineers, economists, attorneys, 24/7 public safety staff, consumer outreach teams, policy experts, administrative staff, and many others. Their accomplishments are even more remarkable considering that they have been working from home for the past ten months, as the FCC became one of the first federal agencies to implement comprehensive telework. I thank each and every one of our staff for their outstanding service to the Commission and to the country. 

Also Read: Pai Says He Is Leaving FCC Better Than He Found It

“Thank you to the American people for their support during my time at the FCC.  I look forward to the next adventure.”

Democrats have a different view of Pai's tenure given that they opposed his deregulation of media ownership rules--a challenge to which the Supreme Court heard arguments on this week--and his elimination of net neutrality rules, among other things.

Pai has not said what comes next for him, though almost certainly it will be in the private rather than public sector.

“Throughout his distinguished tenure, Chairman Pai has been a champion for innovation, a leader in enacting smart spectrum policies and common-sense infrastructure reforms, and an advocate for protecting consumers," said CTIA President Meredith Attwell Baker, herself a former FCC commissioner (Pai took her seat when she left). "We thank Chairman Pai for his years of public service and for his tireless work to connect Americans and ensure that we are poised to lead the emerging 5G economy.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.