indica News Bureau-
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said Tuesday during a session at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas that the agency made the correct decision in rejecting proposed net neutrality regulations in December 2017, according to published reports.
Pai, the first Indian American to hold the top FCC job, told CES attendees broadband speeds have increased by 60 percent and network access has improved since the FCC made its controversial decision, according to reports. Pai said industry players set a record by installing more fiber to homes and businesses in 2019 than in any other year. The chairman added that he has been tracking predictions of an internet catastrophe that net neutrality proponents made after the FCC’s 2017 decision.
“I still get emails and tweets that say you destroyed the internet, over the internet,” he said, according to reports.
Pai, in his CES debut as chairman, also discussed the state of the rollout of 5G service in the U.S., as well as the emergence of Wi-Fi 6 and other technologies.
Pai told the CES attendees he thought 5G wireless technology could help close the rural “digital divide” but conceded challenges existed to building out the next-generation technology where it is needed. “5G is something we’re very excited about,” he said. “We’re getting more spectrum into the marketplace and promoting more fiber deployment. We’re aggressively executing on each of those.”
He added T-Mobile is in the lead bringing, its 5G network to about 200 million people with other U.S. carriers close behind.
Pai addressed the costs of building 5G networks. “The scale you have to build is pretty massive,” he said, according to published reports. “Access to spectrum is one of the constraints. It’s the lifeblood of the 5G networks. You also need to get work crews to do this work.” He added that in some places there are not a lot of crews able to do the work.
Pai said there are no U.S.-based suppliers of 5G infrastructure and that U.S. carriers taking on risk by using foreign-sourced networking gear, but that some startups are working in the sector, according to published reports.