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Pai Praises Verizon Fiber Buy

FCC chair Ajit Pai gave a shout out to Verizon's announcement that it will be buying more than a billion dollars’ worth of optical fiber from Corning.

The three-year deal (2018-2020) comes out to more than 12 million miles of fiber per year. Wireless service relies heavily on fiber backhaul.

“The FCC’s top priority is closing the digital divide that has persisted for far too long," Pai said. "And the key to meeting that priority is setting stable, market-friendly rules that will lead to investment in online infrastructure. The FCC has already taken significant actions to promote greater capital expenditure on broadband deployment, from reducing regulatory barriers to wiser spending of federal subsidies for build-out."

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The agency will vote at its monthly meeting this week on several proposals -- including, in an effort to spur facilities-based competition, the planned deregulation of broadband business data service -- that Pai said "would unleash major capital expenditures on next-generation networks."

"This agreement heralds the construction of ‘densified’ 5G networks that will benefit American consumers," Pai said. "It will create thousands of high-quality jobs building and laying fiber. And it will go a long way toward closing the digital divide," he said.

Pai signaled he would push policies that promote such investments, rather than what he called the "tired ideology of heavy-handed Washington micromanagement."

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.