Mediacom: FCC’s new anti-reg chair Pai really a populist who knows ‘struggles faced by working-class citizens’

Ajit Pai (FCC)
According to Mediacom, newly appointed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai “is personally aware of the daily struggles faced by working-class citizens living in small cities and towns across our nation.”

In the broader telecommunications industry, newly appointed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is known as a Republican with a decidedly antiregulatory agenda, opposing such consumerist movements as net neutrality and leased pay-TV set-top regulation.

According to Mediacom, however, the former Verizon corporate lawyer is just a simple populist who grew up in Parsons, Kansas, and “is personally aware of the daily struggles faced by working-class citizens living in small cities and towns across our nation.

“In his new role as Chairman, we hope he works to balance a regulatory landscape that today prioritizes the political agendas of Hollywood and Silicon Valley over the economic challenges faced by rural Americans,” Mediacom added in a statement.

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RELATED: Pai set to take FCC chairman seat in win for the cable industry

Mediacom was one of several cable-industry companies and groups that congratulated Pai after he was officially named to succeed outgoing Chairman Tom Wheeler on Monday.

"Over his many years of service as a Commissioner, he has demonstrated an extensive knowledge of communications law and policy and a deep understanding of the communications business and industry dynamic,” said American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew Polka, also in a statement. “Moreover, we at ACA have always found he has an open door to listen to our views and proposals. He respects and understands the concerns of independent cable operators, especially in those cases where they have been required to shoulder enormous regulatory burdens to the same extent as much larger providers, such as new obligations to comply with the Open Internet's enhanced transparency rules.”

Meanwhile, using the back of his hand to congratulate Pai from a different part of the political spectrum, former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, now special adviser to progressive group Common Cause, urged the new chairman to maintain his populist acumen.  

"I congratulate Ajit Pai on his elevation to chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. From personal experience I know it to be an intensely challenging but intensely rewarding job,” said Copps, also in a statement.

"As a bit of unsolicited advice I encourage the new chairman to take the commission outside of Washington, so commissioners can meet with and hear from the people who live with the policies they make. I am totally convinced the majority of Americans, including many who voted for the new president, strongly favor an open internet and a media ecosystem that is up to the task of informing democracy,” Copps added.  

Pai, meanwhile, announced his key staff appointments today. Matthew Berry, who served as chief of staff for Pai when he was on the commission, will maintain the same title. Nicholas Degani, who served as Pai’s wireline adviser, will move up to senior counsel. Meanwhile, Jay Scwarz will move over from the Office of Strategic Planning to serve as acting wireline adviser. 

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