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In late March, Congress used the Congressional Review Act to reverse the FCC’s controversial Broadband ISP Privacy Order. The FCC had overwritten the FTC’s prior regulation of ISP privacy, after President Obama took to YouTube following the 2014 mid-term elections, to call for the regulation of ISPs as common carriers, under a framework dating from the monopoly provision of telephone service.
The current FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai has announced he aims to deregulate, focused on removing outdated regulations to encourage investment and innovation. Pai’s Digital Empowerment Agenda sees competitive broadband networks as engines of economic growth. Observers expect the underlying decision from the Obama era to regulate ISPs as common carriers – aka Open Internet or Net Neutrality – to be re-considered soon. The Chairman has also proposed revising broadcast ownership rules to reflect today’s more diverse media landscape, and repurposing spectrum to facilitate the next generation of mobile broadband and Internet of Things. Maximizing access to spectrum for “5G” broadband and IoT will require repurposing some federal spectrum, so the President’s federal spectrum manager at Commerce (NTIA) will play a critical role.
In our third segment of the Legal Options for the New Administration Teleforum Series, Bryan Tramont, Chair of the Federalist Society Telecommunications Executive Committee, moderated a discussion with Chairman Ajit Pai’s Senior Counsel, Nick Degani, and Patricia Paoletta, a telecom partner at the law firm of Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP.
- Nicholas Degani, Senior Counsel to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai; formerly Wireline Legal Advisor to FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai
- Patricia Paoletta, Partner at Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP, named by the Trump-Pence Transition Team to the FCC Landing Team
- Moderator: Bryan Tramont, Managing Partner of Wilkinson, Barker & Knauer, former FCC Chief of Staff; Chair of the Federalist Society Telecommunications Executive Committee