tv FCC Chair Ajit Pai on Net Neutrality CSPAN June 16, 2018 1:11pm-1:35pm EDT
a friend at an army base at fort irwin. we may head off to nearby vegas for a couple of days and then not be able to tell you what happened. then we're thinking about climbing a mountain. i'trying to find one that's not too steep. mike: congressman schiff, thank you very much for joining axios. thank you so very much. appreciate it. thank you very much, congressman schiff. >> thank you so much for being here. it is my pleasure to introduce the fcc chair to have a conversation about the regulation of the internet. thank you for being here. thank you again for joining us early in the morning. you had a busy week. some people in the audience may know this but you and i worked together at the fcc for about three years. i was the press secretary there while you were commissioner and now you are the ceo in charge.
that's exciting. ajit pai: we miss you. kim hart: thank you. thank you again for being here. i wanted to jump right in with just the news of the week and get some of your thoughts and then we would jump in around what else the fcc working on. ajit pai: i have a firm stand on ihop name change. kim hart: it's been a momentous week for internet policy and something you have but working on for a long time over there. dissolved net fcc neutrality rules that had been in place since 2015. on tuesday at&t's merger with time warner was effectively approved with no conditions. yesterday we now have a bidding , war for 21st centuryfox with comcast over disney. in a lot of ways, we are entering a new era for the internet at least in terms of
, internet policy and how consumers get their content. the internet still works. even though the net neutrality rules are gone, the on switch is still firmly on. no one has noticed a huge difference right now. the concern is that we may start to see differences in how consumers interact with the internet going forward, depending on how the fcc and other regulators intervene. i wanted to get your thoughts on , given all of these changes, and they are happening rapidly what is your hope for the , internet? what kind of interesting hope to see going forward after your chairmanship? ajit pai: great question. first and foremost i want to thank you and axios for hosting me. it's a pleasure to meet congressman schiff backstage. the internet is one of the greatest innovations in history. it is hard to remember this because we live in the day-to-day but if you go back to 22 years ago when the congress last pronounced judgment on what policy should be. we are in a different era. the internet has become
intertwined with everything we we educate our kids, grow our crops. it is increasingly important to have access. my goal going for is the light touch approach of the sec once but much more infrastructure investment, to get more people on the right side of the digital divide. there's many millions of americans who don't have access at all or have insufficient competition. we want to change that to make sure every american has digital opportunity. we also want consumers to be protected both through a transparency rule that requires every internet service provider big or small to disclose its business practices and with aggressive federal trade commission enforcement that will target any actor that is behaving in an anti-competitively. that approach served us well for about 20 years. we are confident the internet will be better than ever. kim hart: a lot of, pretty much
the major internet providers have said they also believe in net utrali. they don't plan on blocking or throttling or creating fast lanes. if they do offer a new bundle or service that changes the way consumers get content or how they receive data, they would have to disclose that. ajit pai: absolutely. if they do not do that, it is a violation. the ftc has authority on unfair trade practices to take action. the new chairman has stated before congress that he is willing and determined to do that. kim hart: do you intend, do you think the sec and ftc will work closely together to try to figure out if a company is transparent with you guys and therefore compliant with the fcc but the ftc may have concerns about what that means for consumers? you guys work together?
ajit pai: not only will we, but we are. we have a memorandum of understanding that the agencies have signed. going to workre and in glove to make sure consumers are protected. kim hart: you talked with -- about the importance of investment. when we are talking about these large providers and making sure that less regulation will help incentivize them to put more money back into the networks, are you concerned about some of these companies focusing more on the already served areas, and help making sure they can accommodate increasing traffic there rather than putting their money into expanding their infrastructure into the hard-to-reach areas? ajit pai: to me, this is the central problem with internet policy in the united states, there is simply not a business case to serve many parts of the country which are rural.
there are not many people per square mile. you get less return on investment in those areas and or , they are lower income so people might not be able to afford services. we need to have serious national effort to promote more access. the fcc is doing that. the regulations adopted across the board to modernize roles, smaller companies that are critical to provide access, to give them a stronger case to reach those individuals. one example is a small company that serves the parts of vermont that the bigger players do not serve. they submitted a letter unsolicited to the fcc and the senate appropriations committee in which they said, we are investing formally in dollars to upgrade our 4g lte service that rural vermonters, spending many more millions on fiber deployment and we are optimistic about the future.
the light touch approach is a major reason why. that letter is posted on the internet. happy to share it. that is an example of the power of the regulatory approach shaping how companies are willing to attack the divide. kim hart: in some ways it is less about the big companies that have the resources but more so about these small players who are operating who do not have the resources? ajit pai: i think that's right. another example uses rocket fiber. folks in detroit who were dissatisfied with some of the services the incumbent were providing. some of those were not serving parts of detroit. they were running into roadblocks. stuff like, how quickly and cheaply can we get access to utility poles, access to conduit. these are the companies necessary to provide a more competitive marketplace in
detroit and provide access in some parts of the city. we want to have a light touch approach because -- kim hart: you have said you think rolling back the net neutrality rules will be better , faster, cheaper internet access and help the competition. how will the fcc determine that? is it anecdotal? you have a lot of ways of tracking data and extensive reports on the state of competition. how do you think the fcc should continue to track that? is there a need for better data, more data? if you find that one of those values, if it's not ending up being faster or cheaper or not as much competition as you might have hoped this would spur, do you think the fcc should consider taking action? ajit pai: measure it in a few different ways. every broadband provider submits
a form in which they have to detail their services. aggregating that data gives us a picture of what internet access is and what isn't and where the trends are from year-to-year. we also have a universal service fund that subsidizes telecom buildout in parts of the country. where holding a option to put fixed broadband service to parts of america. more gar, we hope to get lte ton served parts of america and we track these providers in how that is going. that is on the aggregate. on the personal level, i try to travel to as many parts of the country as i can. >> you have been to 28 states? ajit pai: i see the promise in some parts of the country.
in places like west virginia. a resort for many years was unable to attract as many customers as they would like because they lack access. we want to make sure we give them a sense through the process about how internet access can be promoted. kim hart: we were talking about the big platform companies, the net neutrality fight in a lot of ways is seen as this ongoing battle between the big companies, google, facebook of the world and internet service providers like fries and and comcast and at&t. in some ways if we're seeing directv, willns own time warner. interneteeing this
that is made up and controlled by these companies that have -- andleverage and kate can be gatekeepers? of my comments can be construed to discuss a pending transaction. we do want to make sure there is a competitive marketplace. that involves taking a holistic view of what the structure is. i know this is a task for the federal trade commission, where i used to work. they do want to have a firm sense of the denominator. the market is changing quickly. digital advertising is a good example. wentevenue growth and 2017 to two companies, google and facebook. what does that mean? the ftc andthing the doj are going to be interested in going forward. >> is that a case for allowing
different kinds of vertical combinations to create a new competition? or the advertising powerhouses? >> i cannot express an opinion. there could be pending transactions. we evaluate it on a case-by-case basis. we do not start with a promise which is vertical internation is good or bad. we view the facts of the transaction and determine whether the consummation of that would be in the public interest. we start from the ground up. >> we talked about the broadband networks that are in the ground. let's talk about wireless. you have made it a priority to make sure you are freeing up spectrum. over the next couple of years to fuel 5g. thatabout the pipeline you're trying to put in place. >> i'm excited about the promise
of five d. increasingly on smartphones, it is becoming clear the world is going wireless. we are now in the 4g era of course. but the 5g era can promise even better consumer benefits. superfast wireless connections, high capacity throughput for everything from virtual reality, artificial intelligence and the like. we want to make sure we set the stage for the u.s. to maintain leadership and in particular, in 5g. that requires policy that is smart and forward thinking. on the spectrum side, we have been aggressive in trying to open up more of the bands for commercial use. where holding the first 5g options in november. followed immediately by the 24 gigahertz band. the fcc has teed up a number of different bands for consideration.
we want to make sure we put as much spectrum out there for every entrepreneur to be able to use. in addition to the bands i describe, we're looking at mid-band and low band. we think there is potential in the mid-band's that would enable the next generation to experiment, what is the next great technology like wi-fi? we are confident people will be able to figure it out. >> how do you balance the need to make sure that the u.s. has stayed ahead in terms of 5g development and rolling out those next-generation networks, along with the other priority which is closing the digital the countryidering barely has two g and 3g. how do you balance where the resources go between the future of the internet and making sure where keeping up with china and south korea?
>> that is a great question. it is part of the reason i travel because i recognize parts of the country are still struggling to get the 4g access we enjoy today. we maintainnvolves leadership and pushing more bands out there. in terms of the other parts of the country involves updating our regulations and making sure infrastructure roles are as strong as possible to build the towers and is for -- and a ploy for these airways to be used. 5g could have a powerful business case for precision agriculture. visited virginia were the owner of redwood farms. he is the world record holder for corn yield, 542 bushels per acre. part of the reason why is because he has pretty strong 4g access.
imagine what he could do with 5g and being able to monitor every foot of his cropland. figure out where the fertilizer needs to be. deploying the water across the field a very smart way. these are the things 5g could portend and i'm confident we get the infrastructure out there in rural america, there would be incredible benefits. a lot of human capital in america is on the shelf in some cases because they don't have access to those technologies. i do not want that to be the case going forward. theseenefit of technologies and the speeds and the data that is being created is artificial intelligence. you guys are working on something. i wanted to let you talk about it. >> one of the best aspects is learning about new technologies. i don't think there's ever been a better time to work at the fcc. i feel like every day or every
week, there is some new technology i am learning about. abreast of fcc stay some of these? what i would like to do is start fora in which the fcc can bring in experts to talk about these technologies and we're going to cover different topics. withe end of beer, start artificial intelligence and machine learning. this is a huge area of innovation that is going to have effects on society. we want to explore what machine learning can mean for consumers and businesses in that marketplace. side, i had ar chance to meet with microsoft working on something called seeing ai, something to help people with disabilities to describe to them the world around them. what it canting for
mean for consumers going for. same on the business side. how will artificial learning affect our companies use spectrum more sprightly? -- more smartly? hopefully we will can that by the end of the year. the promise of artificial intelligence comes down sides. the more we are staring at our phones and the more we are on these apps, they are incentivized to make them as addictive as possible, we both have two kids. do you have fears for how your kids interact with the internet and communications in general as it becomes an increasingly central part of our lives? >> the positive part is great. some of the programs my kids are able to watch our educational. it is great seeing them learn
through some of these. i do worry about how it changes the way they interact with the world. when we grew up, when i was growing up, the world was defined through the analog communication system. i wonder sometimes, or my kids by the factaped they are interacting with a screen as opposed to reading something? one of the things i think about is we want them to be well so wed members of society want them to look around them in addition to what they see. it is a challenge. >> one of the things i have noticed is with the algorithms that tell you which new story to read or what kind of movies or shows or advertising to target
the people based on what they have seen. you're almost seeing a more curated version of the world rather than something i grew up with where it was more flat and open. in some ways, making it more narrow. is there a role for the fcc, or i'm not sure if there's a formal regulatory role but one of the things i think of as a parent, i don't allow my children to surf youtube unattended. see what the next video is that coming up. we don't want them to go down the rabbit hole for a variety of reasons. it is a thing a lot of parents are struggling with. we want our kids to learn everything. that's what a great things about the internet now. people remember not long ago kids had to open the encyclopaedia britannica or go to the library to find information.
the great thing about the internet is that everything is at your fingertips. sometimes you can end up focusing on a narrow sliver of the world. thatink that kids construe as the entirety of the world. i don't want my kids to have that narrow of a position. >> at the end of your tenure at the fcc, what do you think to find success for you? quite the digital device. if we can make a dent in that problem than our time would be viewed as a's does. as society becomes increasingly detent -- dependent on these digital platforms, people who don't have access will be left behind. that pains me as someone who grew up in world america. , iple who don't have access don't want that to happen. at the heart of every american
lies the first to give themselves and their kids a better life. i want them to make sure they had the opportunity to do that. obviously there are controversies of the day and whether people agree or disagree with fcc policy but what will really matter is in helping to get people onto the internet to give them access to the technologies. that will allow them to a give a better future to their families. >> thank you, chairman. >> today on the communicators we will take a look at the federal courts approval of att time warner merger. the merger had been opposed by president trump. we will look at the case and what it means for media companies and consumers. andguests are diana moss joshua wright.
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