Pai Prioritizes Closing Digital Divide

New FCC chairman Ajit Pai has addressed his troops, as it were, and let them know that closing the digital divide will be an agency priority under his stewardship.

"One of the most significant things that I’ve seen during my time here is that there is a digital divide in this country—between those who can use from cutting-edge communications services and those who do not," Pai said in what is a traditional appearance before the amassed FCC staff. "I believe one of our core priorities going forward should be to close that divide."

That was also a priority of his predecessor, Tom Wheeler, but Pai signaled he was looking to the private sector to do the heavy lifting. He said he wanted to do "what's necessary to help the private sector build networks, send signals and distribute information to American consumers, regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or anything else."

"We must work to bring the benefits of the digital age to all Americans," he said.

Pai signaled that during his tenure he would be open to hearing from dissenters as well as supporters.

"I understand that not everyone will personally agree with every policy the FCC pursues," he said. "But I will do my best to hear all points of view — to approach every issue with a literal open door and a figurative open mind."

Read the new chairman's full remarks here.

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.