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Pai: Biennial Reg Review Should Be Commission-Level Decision

FCC Friday released its regulatory review framework
and newly minted Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai is already making his
preferences known.

The framework is the voluntary -- but strongly
encouraged -- independent agency version of the plan required for federal
agencies by President Barack Obama.

In a statement, Pai said he hoped the FCC will
move promptly on the reg reviews, and suggested that its statutorily mandated
biennial review of telecom regs should now require a commission-level

"I am looking forward to the Commission's
2012 Biennial Review," he said in a statement. "Following this
review, the Commission is then required 'to repeal or modify any regulation it
determines to be no longer necessary in the public interest as the result of
meaningful economic competition between providers of such service.' In light of
the importance of this comprehensive retrospective analysis, I believe that the
2012 Biennial Review should take the form of Commission-level action rather
than Bureau-level recommendations."

The President has told agencies to review
their regs for those that might no longer be necessary or will be a drag on,
rather than a spur to, innovation, investment and the economy.

"Releasing the Final Plan for Retrospective
Reform is a result of the hard work of our staff, and affirms the agency's
extensive efforts to eliminate unnecessary regulations," said FCC Chairman
Julius Genachowski. "Our commitment to smart and streamlined government is
helping promote a healthy climate for private investment, innovation, and job
creation, benefiting all Americans."

Much of the report is a status report on open
proceedings, like media ownership rule reviews or the retrans proceedings. But
it also identifies regs teed up for separate retrospective reviews, which will
be assessed "independently of review of the substantive changes to any
regulations." Those include special access reform, dynamic spectrum
access, video relay service, IP-based telecom relay service reform, and cable
technical rule reforms, the last "in response to changes in cable
television systems technology."

The FCC released a preliminary plan last
November after the President issued an executive order making clear he wanted
independent agencies to review their regs as well.

Under Genachowski, the agency has already
gotten rid of 210 "outdated" regs -- that includes the so-called
fairness doctrine, which had still been on the books though not enforced for

The commission has also reduced its backlog of
license applications by almost a third (30%)
, according to Jennifer Tatel,
Associate General Counsel.