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FCC's Pai Signals Publishing Meeting Items Will Become Standard Procedure

In a post on independent blogging platform Medium, FCC chairman Ajit Pai said Thursday that last month's process reform "pilot" project of publishing the text of two items—the ATSC 3.0 rollout notice and an AM radio order—before the February meeting was a success and that he was doing the same with all the items up for a vote at the March 23 meeting.

He did not yet say that the policy was officially changing to make that standard procedure but signaled that should soon be the case.

"We received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the public," he wrote. "Accordingly, today the FCC is expanding the pilot project. We’re publicly releasing the text of all six matters that will be considered at our March open meeting… I expect that we’ll be in a position to fully evaluate this pilot project and establish permanent procedures for the release of meeting items."

Publishing texts also got plenty of warm fuzzies from industry and the Hill.

As leader of the loyal opposition under former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, Pai was a frequent critic of FCC process, saying it lacked transparency—he has long argued for letting the public know what is being voted on at public meetings—and the kind of regulatory certainty that a competitive marketplace needs.

Wheeler argued that the text of documents being voted was still work product and that what should be published was the final version, which includes edits that may come after the vote. To his credit, he generally got those versions out faster than his predecessors.