Ajit Pai, '97: FCC Chairman Attended the Globes Business Conference

Ajit Pai: Light-touch regulation lets telcos invest

The US FCC chairman tells "Globes" that, "If regulation is not market-based enough, then companies will find they can't make a business case for deploying 5G networks."

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai was in Israel recently for the "Globes" Business Conference. The 45 year-old Harvard graduate and University of Chicago Law School graduate is the son of immigrants from India. He was appointed to the FCC in 2012 and became chairman in January 2017.

He diplomatically sidesteps an opportunity to criticize the heavy regulation in Israel's telecom sector, which is currently inhibiting investment in 5G and fiber optic networks. But in his interview with "Globes," he repeatedly espouses the virtues of "light-touch" regulation and letting the marketplace drive development - the opposite situation to Israel.

Globes: Can you give Israel some advice on the cellular market. Our prices went down but we have a problem with investment in 5G and fiber optic?

Every country has its own unique market structure and has to make its own determination on what regulations are appropriate. For our part at least, we have found that a more market-based approach has been the successful one in terms of promoting innovation and investment in wireless networks and services. So that means you're getting as much spectrum into the commercial marketplace, mainly regulating how the networks are constructed and managed and ultimately that will create a situation that will maximize the companies' incentives and ability to invest in these networks. So I don't think there is an optimal market structure necessarily but I do think that if the regulatory framework is certainly not market-based enough, then companies will find that they can't make a business case for deploying 4G and 5G network and especially in a country like Israel where there are densely populated areas with a high amount of upward mobility, I think you would find a massive case for wireless carriers to deploy and invest in networks."

Read more at GLOBES Israel's Business Arena