I distinctly remember when Ajit Pai took the helm as Chairman of the FCC in 2016. I had just joined the agency's Wireless Bureau and was not only learning the ropes of working at a federal agency (up until then I had spent my entire career in the private sector), but also frantically working with my colleagues to adjust the policies we worked so hard on to fit the agenda of a new Republican Administration. Like all things new, the changes felt unsettling. But, as a former FCC staffer himself, Chairman Pai brought ease to the transition. Whatever you think of his policies, I've always appreciated his warm charisma and enjoyed working at the agency under his leadership. And as an Asian-American, I can't help but be inspired by his ability to break barriers and serve as the first Asian-American Chairman of the FCC.
Earlier this week, Chairman Pai announced that he will be leaving the FCC in January. His departure has reminded me that one of his top priorities when he took office was closing the digital divide. And the FCC has made several strides in doing so, completing the Connect America Fund Phase II Auction and recently conducting the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction. It also teed up the 5G Fund to support mobile services across the Nation. I hope whoever takes the reins at the FCC continues to prioritize the deployment of advanced communications services, particularly to unserved areas. As the current pandemic has shown us, the ability to stay connected is more important now than ever.
He’s regarded as either an exemplary change agent or an ideologue who forfeited consumer interests for commercial ones.