In first major speech, FCC's Pai proposes new office for speeding reviews


"Given these responsibilities, the FCC must act with the same alacrity as the industry we oversee," he said. "That’s not to say we should rush to regulate, but delays at the Commission have substantial real-world consequences: new technologies remain on the shelves; capital lies fallow; and entrepreneurs stop hiring or, even worse, reduce their workforce as they wait for regulatory uncertainty to work itself out."

He said the FCC should create an Office of Entrepreneurial Innovation to ensure that the commission decides whether to approve new technologies and services less than one year after their applications are filed.

He said the new office would also be tasked with assessing whether proposed regulations would slow down innovation.

Existing FCC offices have many other responsibilities, and creating a new office would make fast-tracking applications an agency priority, according to Pai.

"Entrepreneurs need an advocate at the FCC— one that will hold us accountable if we delay, rather than decide. And if OEI succeeds in its mission, we will see faster innovation, greater investment, and more job creation," he said.

Pai argued that in addition to the new office, the FCC needs to take its existing deadlines more seriously. He urged the commission to codify its informal 180-day "shot clock" for reviewing major transactions to force the agency to abide by the timeline.

He said the commission should adopt a nine-month deadline for review applications and a six-month deadline for waiver requests.

Pai said the FCC should create a single webpage for the public to keep track of whether the FCC is meeting its various deadlines. He also argued that the commission needs to accelerate its efforts for freeing up more frequencies for mobile broadband. 

He said he favors an "all of the above" approach for addressing the spectrum crunch, including making the federal government's use of its spectrum more efficient, expediting reviews of spectrum deals and sharing certain bands between multiple users. 

Pai said there is a place for unlicensed use, in which certain spectrum bands are open for use by any company.

Congress passed a law earlier this year empowering the FCC to incentivize television broadcasters to give up their spectrum for auction to wireless carriers.

Pai said the FCC should begin the rule-making process for the auctions by this fall and conduct the auctions by June 30, 2014.