Commissioner Ajit Pai Supports FCC Process Changes In FCBA Speech
February 22, 2013 at 4:39 AM (PT)
FCC Commissioner AJIT PAI set forth his views on what changes need to be made in Commission processes at a FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS BAR ASSOCIATION luncheon FRIDAY, saying that the Commission needs "to be as nimble as the industry we oversee.... We can’t let regulatory inertia stand in the way of technological progress or deter innovation."
Among changes PAI said he would like to see are a process for handling applications for review similar to how the U.S. Supreme Court handles certiorari requests with automatic affirming of Bureau decisions if the full Commission doesn't act within 90 days; adding to the list of categories of small transactions that qualify for streamlined treatment; circulating a draft order addressing forbearance petitions at least four weeks before the one-year statutory deadline and requiring a vote of the full Commission to extend that deadline; and enacting the 180-day shot-clock for transactional review, a nine-month deadline for acting on petitions for reconsideration and applications for review, and a six-month deadline for acting on waiver requests. PAI also would like to see a "dashboard" on the FCC website to track the Commission's performance.
PAI also said that Congress should move to consolidate the Commission’s reporting obligations to Congress, block the Commission from adopting new rules based on Notices of Proposed Rulemaking more than three years old, allow more collaboration between Commissioners under the Sunshine Act, and modernize application fee statutes.
"FCC responsiveness isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue," PAI said. "It’s not a conservative, moderate, or liberal issue. Whether the matter before us involves a FORTUNE 500 company, a small start-up, a public interest group, or an individual consumer, the Commission should strive to respond promptly. Parties might not like the answer that we give them. But they deserve an answer. As one person said to me recently, “Tell me yes, tell me no, but just tell me.”