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FCC: Digital Divide Closing Under Pai Chairmanship

The FCC said that the digital divide narrowed under the first two years of FCC chair Ajit Pai's stewardship.

That is according to data from the FCC's new Office of Economics and Analytics and was announced the same day the White House was touting a new report on the Trump Administration's economic policies, including saying that regulation had been a hidden tax, so deregulatory policies--like those pursued by the Pai FCC--have been progressive.

According to the FCC, from December 2016 to December 2018, the number of Americans without any options for at least 250 Mbps/25 Mbps "plummeted" from by 74%--from 181.7 million to 47 million. At the same time, the number with "no options" for at least 25/3 Mbps, the FCC's current threshold for high-speed, decreased 30% from 26.1 million to 18.3 million.

That was based on data for both fixed and mobile broadband deployment and speeds as of Dec. 31, 2018.

“My top priority at the FCC is to expand broadband deployment and provide all Americans with digital opportunity, and the figures we are releasing today show once again that we are on the right track,” said Pai in a statement. “At that same time, however, our work is not done. That’s why we’ll continue out focus on eliminating regulatory barriers to broadband deployment and reforming our universal service funding programs, such as through the implementation of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.”

One part of that work, Pai has conceded, is gathering better data on where broadband is and isn't.