Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Pai Says FCC Can Do More With Less
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the commission can do more with less—102 fewer full-time employees, for example— while working toward its core mission to protect the public interest and close the digital divide.
Multi-Channel News reports Pai, joined by commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Michael O'Rielly, testified Tuesday on the FCC's budget before the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.
The FCC has asked for about $322 million, 5.2% less than the previous year, even though the FCC's budget has been flat since 2009.
Pai said that even with fewer people, the FCC had more than doubled the number of items it was dealing with at its public meetings—saying the average was now 5.83 items vs. 2.58 under his predecessor. He cited a number of cost savings as well, from closing an off-site warehouse to cutting down on the number of printers and copy machines.
The chairman also said he thought refraining from regulatory overreach would also cut costs.
According to Broadcasting&Cable, Pai also said that while reaching underserved communities continued to be important, the FCC would prioritize getting it to some of the 30 million unserved who have no access to high-speed broadband.
The focus on deployment was no surprise, given the number of subcommittee members from rural states. Subcommittee chairwoman Shelley Moore Capito is from West Virginia, which has the lowest broadband deployment of any state. She said without connectivity, communities would continue to struggle. She cited a lack of competition as one problem.
She said broadband should be easily available and affordable, adding: "It's that simple."
Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said that having to do more with less will eventually come to a point of diminishing returns, a point she said is fast approaching.
Posted 4:38:00 AM