New FCC policymaker speaks

Ajit Pai is the new US FCC Chairman.  He spoke at the Mobile World Congress show in late February 2017 and made comments that set him apart from his predecessor.

He argued that the FCC will be pragmatic and pursue policies that accelerate broadband deployment.  Short-term, we do think that the new chairman’s stance will encourage capital spending by US communications providers.  Longer-term, it is unclear – especially in light of the fact that FCC chairs don’t last forever because they are political appointees of the President.  Pai is Trump’s appointee.

He was asked about his stance on consolidation in the US telecommunications market and said he cannot give a blanket statement about how the FCC will view M&A; instead he said each deal is reviewed uniquely and the FCC will take in mind what is expected to happen at that time.  We expect this new chairman will be more permissive of M&A, however.