tv Republican Natl Lawyers Association Conference - FCC Chair Ajit Pai CSPAN April 28, 2018 3:12am-3:52am EDT
>> like to introduce dick wiley the cofounder and partner of wiley run. he's had numerous accolades in the most influential -- in the united states. one of the top 100 men and century. the list is huge. and i won't go through all of them. is also chairman of the federal communications commission. is well-known to the organization. he's the member of the board of governors one of two people who has received both republican lawyer of the year. with that,.
[applause] thank you. >> several years ago we were very privileged to have commissioner with us from the fcc were very happy today his back for a return engagement. this time as chairman. know what in tremendously active year he has had at the home, both substantively and procedurally. >> we grew up as the son of indian immigrants, both doctors we then went on to harvard and the university of chicago law school graduating with honors his professional career includes chief counsel of the office of
legal policy, chief counsel and the associate general counsel verizon and a partner at a law firm here in washington. it's good to have you back. we have a room full of lawyers from around the country but when he to not practice in the communications field. as we discussed that perhaps you can provide some background. i thought we start with network neutrality. it's a very often discussed issue. can you tell us what that issue is about and why it is so controversial. >> sure. think to the republican national lawyers association for have me
back. thank you for the kind words of introduction. i was struck to buy -- as a deep thinker. my job is different. when everybody came play connective game is it angry birds. we do have an important mission. that neutrality is something you seen in the news. typically it's a question of what is it exactly. one reason is that it's alluded the definition over many years. it's come to mean anything people wanted to mean. i think others have casted is whether the internet is going to survive after they made their decision some proclaimed it the end of the internet as we know it. the internet is still in
existence and still works. part of the problem is there's no definition. how do you want the government to regulate this thing called the internet? she wanted to be preemptive regulation based on regulations in 1934? or do you want more light touch market-based right which is pioneered in the clinton administration and serve the economy so well in till 2015. we took a look and determine the better approach was to return to what they imposed in 2015 and at the insistence of the previous presidents these regulations would be treated as a utility.
the argument we made is that if you want something to operate like a slow-moving utility there's no a better way to ensure by regulating it as such. i spoke with people all across the country and they want more access. they want competition in the internet to be better, faster, and cheaper. to ensure that we need to make sure companies can build these networks. building and internet infrastructure requires a lot of expenses. were hopeful that by moving back to these market-based regulations we can return to that framework from 1996 all the way until -- we've empowered the federal trade commission to take
action we've imposed a transparency rule that requires internet service providers to be clear with consumers and commission about what they're doing. our framework is best calibrated to promote a good online experience and promote infrastructure and make sure the federal trade commission is empowered. >> what you think lies ahead in the courts in this issue? >> this is been litigated for a while. a number of petitions were filed in the case is now been transferred back to the d.c. circuit. i'd imagine they'll make a decision. >> this issue has gone back and forth, to think the ultimate answer with buying congress? perhaps and congress that would deal with this issue once and
for all. >> that's ultimately were most people like to see it. i've consistently said the ideal solution would be to turn to congress let them update the rule of the row. were now operating based on a statute by congress in 1996. the error of -- this is the area which were crafting these rules. he would be great we don't want companies blocking access or any kind of prioritization these are what people can agree on. it takes congress to take the
pen and put it into law. the last thing we want is for these -- what about fast lanes and slow lanes? >> another questioning congress is tackled you can envision procompetitive arrangements the sense that if you're running a telemedicine operation trying to helping them remotely you may think it's more important. especially as we enter a 5g environment this be in the next generation of technology one can also see a competitive arrangement. the fact intensive question. we want to have a flexible approach as opposed to say we know that every hypothetical
arrangement will ban it as such. probably the problem is that you might take off the table some of these arrangements player taken off the table a lot of contracts and agreements that could benefit consumers in the end. >> you enter mentioned 5g. wireless broadband is becoming increasingly important. what's 5g gonna do that we don't currently have? >> were excited about the potential of 5g. yesterday there is a tweet that someone's on 3g most people are 4g. now are talking about 5g, the next generation. 5g is different.
it involves the use of spectrum, the airwaves around us in a different way. it was thought to have lower band spectrum. now are talking about spectrum from 24 to make 28. second thing is infrastructure is going to look different. when i say wireless network you might have a 200-foot cell tower. but it will operate under were dense. we'll have many thousands of small cells operating at power connecting to devices. for many reasons they don't contemplate either that universal use of spectrum sore trying to modernize the rules to make sure that we claim leadership in 5g. we want america to be the haven
when it comes to 5g. >> are we in a global race with china on 5g? >> certain countries have seen 5g as an area they want to leave. we want to take the steps necessary to modernize regulations it's not just an interest. we all want the online economy to succeed. but it has tremendous benefits for consumers. imagine virtual reality may be medical students could be trained remotely on high death surgeries which will require 5g. or if your yogurt manufacture with the certainty of knowing that they remain a certain temperature need thousands if
not millions sensors to protect each box of yogurt. whether it's whatever application it is you can imagine 5g being important. i think historically in open market economy it devotes its energies to something and there's no telling how consumers can benefit. >> what about dealing with local communities? is it going to be easier with small cells than those large towers. >> historically we've had multiple levels of review for wireless infrastructure. especially if it's a siding on federal land this multiplied level of review is when you're talking about small cells.
if you're talking about 10000 different small cells each offering at low power inconspicuous in some you might not even or their futures looking around. some make sense to jump through those hoops. the review process is cumbersome and expensive. you just want take off. if you can't transmit the traffic over infrastructure itself or not. >> a lot of us haven't worked with the fcc in the past. >> there's one thing you remember in this robo calls. telemarketing calls for homes and cell phones, what is the fcc doing about it? >> this issue generates a lot of
reaction from people. you're not a plot in the roble colors times soon. for wall while i could say i'm just a staffer but none the chairman so i have to say were taking action. first and foremost, the front-end we been aggressive in trying to crack down on unwanted robo calls. rehiring carriers to block calls that are spoofed. they appear to be from your area code but they're not from someone assignment number. we've allow carriers to take steps to block those. working with engineers to come up with the call authentication stander. imagine a digital fingerprint.
if we see a number that hasn't been programmed in say this is been assigned to an actual person and i can answer confidence. additionally on the backend we've done aggressive on enforcement cracking down on unwanted roble colors. the largest fine was under my leadership against the guy who unleashed hundreds of millions of robo calls in the last three months. we had a hundred $20 million fine against this individual. will be taking action against others. we been working with others and's coordinated with counterparts abroad were a number of these calls have come. we've secured and agreements
that's the kind of thing we're exploring to make sure the good guys, can get their calls through and the bad guys don't. >> let's turn -- >> robocall right on cue. let me know. we'll talk afterwards. >> let's turn to a different area. media ownership. for over 40 years, going gook my era. the fcc had rules for close forking one owner to have both a newspaper and a broadcast station, either raid you're or television in the same market.
recently you eliminated that russian although there are attempts to do it earlier, you finally got the job done. why was that good act. >> i think the best evidence i can give but why this was appropriate was given by a prominent national newspaper which said the case for getting rid of this outdated ruled is easy, and the right wing rag that said this was "the new york times" in 2003. so we finally took the step in 2017 of saying, we recognize that the media marketplace is different now in 2017 than back in 1975. when a certain chairman who shall remain nameless, was heading the agency. i kid chairman wiley about this all the time. a different marketplace so that's one thing we have said countly. regardless of what the area is we regulate, whether media or wireline or satellite. it's a baseline proposition your regulations to smash the reality of the modern marketplace and
these were created when we didn't have cable news networks and internet and news outlets. getting rid of the broadcast newspaper cross ownership ban would allow competitive arrangements to be exploder, and i think it's striking that the previous administration, which refused to recognize reality, blessed the $49 billion merger of a prominent telecommunications company and a direct broadcast satellite company. blessed the $78 billion combined merger of the second, fourth and fifth largest cable companies in the united states and a broadcast nation iowa, tried to join forces, oh, my god, the world is going end. a hysterical reaction to the relaxation of the cross-ownership band. and reasonable people looking at the record will agree this ban was outdated. >> you similarly altered the rules on local television
ownership. can you tell us how and why you did that. >> yes. we obviously believe that localism is critical. when i travel around and visit local tv stations, it's very distinctive. whether it's kom in my market in southeast kansas, southwest missouri, localism is up. localism is what defines the successful stations. they don't succeed unless they cover the news and information that is relevant to their community of interest. and so we want to he promote more of that. one thing we have done in terms of localism rules is to make sure we allow the pro competitive combination, the relaxation of some prohibitions on a case-by-case basis. we're not saying it's a complete free for off. the fcc will evaluate any application that could be in the public interest and we'll make a determination accordingly. >> you foresee other changes in the age old media ownership rules?
>> so we were duty-bound by congress to every four years issue what is called a quad dronal review of -- quad dronal review and, and i have long said it's time to put the quad back in quad dronal. the fcc ignored this congressional mandate and at the last time they justified the cross-ownership ban was in 2000. so for 167 years the fcc completely abdicated its duty. that's not going to happen. 2018 is the next cycle and we'll have to tee up the next iteration of our examination. we are are go where the facts lead us. >> er let's turn to video transmission in the mid-1990s the fcc adopted a new television transmission standard which made possible wide screen, high definition television, something enjoyed by a lot of our citizens. but now the commission is
authorized another standard to be deployed on a voluntary basis so-called nextgen tv. what's that all about. >> first you deserve tremendous credit. those who don't know, chairman wiley is widely recognized as the father of hd, and so especially on a sunday afternoon when you're plopping down to watch the upcoming super bowl champions kansas city chiefs win, it's thankfully due to chairman wiley. i'm forecasting. >> go redskins. >> good luck with alex smith. that's ail can say. but next jen is the hd on steroids. we want to make sure that broadcasterses just like any other sector, are able to innovate, able to reach consumers in a way that appeals to them, and of course nowdays everybody seems to be carrying around a smartphone or tablet or other connected device. nextgen tv is the internet
version of broadcast transmission. it marries the best of broadcast, that one to many architecture and get your message tout a lot of people, with the power are the internet which is hyperlocallized. imagine the marriage of those two things, see a storm bearing down in washington, dc, the ability to target very specific public and safety information to particular neighborhoods is something i think would be very appealing, or in terms of nothing news as well, able to target the news to people that is relevant to them. same thing with advertisers if you're a local car dealership. if you're in virginiaing might not make much sans to advertise in the entire dmv if you have to cover the ad cost for going the eastern shore of maryland could be appeal to advertisers to have the more targeted information. we think that nextgen tv could be more resilient when times are tougher and we're hopeful the voluntary experiment addition were the nextgen tv standard
will be success: we have had been from multilanguage broadcasters and we're hopeful. the nextgen tv will be seen as hd is now. something we take for granted because it works so well. >> here's the key question. we all have to go out and pony up for new television sets. >> that's one thing we made clear in our current rulemaking is is that this is a volunteer tear experimentation peered where peek. use a nextgen tv standard and still have to seem simulcast and consumers don't need to -- >> a transition period. >> correction. >> mr. chairman, do you the future really is -- you mentioned the internet -- is television signals being streamed via the internet? >> that's a good question. increasingly it seems to be the
snowstorm has hit my a couple years ago when i was in chicago on a thursday night, picking up some food from a restaurant and realized the thursday night game was on and i decides to go on twitter and watch the broncos-chargers game on my phone and occurred to me, it wasn't that long ago win to watch a football game you had to be in front of your tv in your house, specific period in time to watch it on one of the three broadcasters out there. we taker grants how much technology changes. if my kids want to watch tv, the think let's get dad's ipad out and pull up the "sesame street" app and watch elmo. i don't know the full dales butter amazon worked out a deal with in the nfl for the thursday night games. can you imagine going back 30 years, 20 years, and saying this internet company is going to be doing a deal with a football league to stream music on a
smartphone. nobody would know what you were talking about but that's the norm now. so fast-forward, 10. >> 20 years, i can imagine that being the norm. >> how will this affect the existing transmission industries, broadcasting, cable, satellite, telephone? >> there's no doubt it's a challenge. i think every sector of the industry faces competition as never before. i'll same from a consumer perspective, these their best of times. you can choose the device you want, watch the content you want to watch, when you want to watch it. very different from when i was a kid to watch "the love boat" you had to be in front of your tv set at 8:00 p.m. now we can stream "love boat" whenever you want. so it's great for consumers and the more established industries have to figure out the business model for the digital era. how do you create content and distributes is in a way that's appealing and gaining a return on investment, given all these new technologies and
competitors. >> mr. chairman, beyond media ownership, what steps are you taking to eliminate unnecessary federal regulations. >> there's a lot on the books. so one thing we reek recognize is congress has given the fcc authority under section 10 only the telecom act of 1996 to get rifle of regulation outdated. there ones anything similar on the media side and we had 1,000 pinches media regulations on the books and didn't know which ones remain in the public interests or which wounds were outdated so we started may, what call the americaization of media regulation initiative. asking people to give us input on which ones no longer remain necessary. we have started to get rid of some of them. for example, it's still a requirement of cable operators keep in home offerses a list of the channel lineup. the last. within to the local cable ask to
ask for the channel lineup was long time ago. regulations like that. broadcasters having to keep a hard copy of the fcc rules in their offices when now it's a google search away. we're getting rid of those low-hanging fruit regulations. >> how about making government more transparent to the consumer? >> something that's very important to me, when i was a commissioner, i would constantly find it strange that the fcced a our monthly meetings were required by law to have a meeting each congress and shreds on things tee ode up by the chairman but don't release the text of the decisions until after we vote. sometimes days after or sometimes even weeks after. i said why don't we publish these decisions weeks in advance so the american miami, everybody can know what is in them. well-connect lawyers and lobbyists, they were the ones who got access to what they thought was in these decisions, and everyone else was left out in the cold.
so in the second week if was in offers, we started a process reform initiative. for every one of our monthly meeting issues we'll be voting on, i will publish three weeks in advance so everyone can see it on the internet, which still exists, the text of these decisions, and i was told by many, including my predecessor, this is a terrible idea. going create chaos, misinform people, chicken little parades of horribles tomorrow. the contrary it has been tremendous. anyone in this country can now see well in advance what it is we're proposing to do. you may or may not like it bat least you'll know well before the fcc votes what it is. that's the base level of expectation people have of government. when a congressman or senator introduces legislation, very soon therefore before it gets into it inee or voted on, people can see on the internet. the fcc should be no different and that's the process reform i'm the most proudest of.
we have dune other ones to promote transparency and at any rate an online dashboard, but complaints. so, i think it's just good government and doesn't rework to the benefit of any particular political spirit hope they'll stay long after i'm gone. >> few moments for questions from the floor for our distinguished guest. >> chairman whiley, i've had the privilege of working with your former counsel, ashton hardy, on many broadcast ventures. wonder if you could address on the what the status of the fairness doctrine in the commission in light of both the red lion case and the first amendment implications of buckley vs. leo and citizens united. >> that is a heck of the back of the napkin question i have to say. the good news is he fairness
doctrine is dead. a predecessor took it off the books. one of my other predecessors, chairman patrick in the 1980s, very courageously took on the fight defended the values undergirding the first amendments and i think he was absolutely flight doing that. and so for my part the question is how to carry on that torch so i have consistently stood up for what i believe are the values of the first amendments, free speech and free press, and free speech and the protection of the first amendments generally speaking require a culture that supports is and so i've spoken out, for example, about the new trends on college campuses where we don't see as much of an interest in open inquiry as we do on -- from the tribal instinct of wanting to shut down speech that one doesn't like. that's the kind of thing we needs guard against, and regardless of viewpoints, i think that's an important value for americans, it distinguishes our democracy from virtually never other. >> another question.
>> right here. >> mr. chairman, i wonder if you could address some issues regarding privacy and the kind of thing have in mind are issues for the, one hand, the facebook scandal, with cambridge, and similarly, various reports about devices, your home tv, obviously, things like alexa and your refrigerator being able to spy on you, and what actions, if any, the fcc can take in regard to protecting privacy. >> very good question. one that has been intermitt at any timely in the news especially of late. i've consistently said if you look at my opinions back to 2015 and 20 receive i think consumers when they go online, whether it's surfing on a device or interacting waiver connected device live a refrigerator, they have a uniform expectation of privacy. they want their sensitive consumer information to be protected. part of the reason why the fcc
is net neutrality or title ii decision was misplaced in 2015 is it stripped the federal trade commission of jurisdiction of internet service providers when it came to privacy. the fcc create essentially a buy fishing -- bifurcate evidence system. ftc would have jurisdiction over online space. now we have unified authority by the ftc over privacy. and one thing they'll look at is how to consistently protect consumers across the internet economy. whether it's an internet service providesser or an online provider like facebook or whoever. i think they want and the new ftc commissioners have to make this decision. just confirmed last night. they will have to figure out how to consistently protect consumers. i think the core question is to make sure that regardless of the particular regulatory classification of the entity that holdings consumer information, that those consumers are protected. they eave uniform expectation of
that and i think the regular solutions respect that. >> final question. there's one back there. >> hi, mr. chairman. i have a low-tech question for you. >> a.m. radio. >> this deals with censorship. have you looked into the major news wires undertaking now editing of press releases behalf they go out to determine whether they are acceptable? >> that is not something that within our legal authority to do. traditionally going back to the early days of the commission, the agency is not looked into types of content regulation like that. if there is an issue of that might be within the purview of another agency but not within ours. >> thank you. >> tom, final question? >> the chairman has kindly grant me the ability to ask the final question because my kids are
blowing up my phone. they understand what you're talking about. the question i'll ask is, given you have talked but the regulations just are trailing the pace of innovation. what steps are you taking to expedite fcc action? >> one of them u.s. just being very agrees sniff terms of modernizing our rules. i don't think anyone views this fcc would say we have been inactive, signature on our heels. recognize the industry is moving quickly and we want to keep pace. i we don't want regulations to stand in the way of companies being able to deploy next generation networks. our going does make sure the networks are ubiquitous and we have moved very quickly under my leadership to approve the next generation of satellite consolations. companies like space he x or one web, envision the deploying thousands or hundreds of satellites into low earth
attorney beam internet access back to the land in a way that would be comparable to a terese central provider, great we of reaching rural and remote areas that have not had enough access or enough competition. on the wireless side we talk about 5g. moving to get the spectrum in place and infrastructure rules in place to enable wireless connectivity go forward. also thinking bat number of different issues. i'm always trying to keep abrevity of new technologies -- abrevity -- abreast of new technology. artificial technology, people nor but the user use case of machine learning, but i think have tremendous impact on telecom as well and that's something studying and hopefully be able to talk about more in the time to comp. it's challenge. the technology is growing so quickly and i think back last october i had the chance to meet with the chairman, president kennedy's fcc chairman in 1961
to 1963 and asking him about the challenges he was facing at the time, and it was new. back then in his time, the big challenge was this new thing called cable television and he was looking to get up to speed on and that set rauls rules of the road that would promote the marketplace of the future. nothing changed, just the pace of technology. >> mr. chairman, thank you for being with us once again. [applause] >> appreciate it. [applause] [inaudible conversations]