Transparency Pilot Program at the FCC

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced a new pilot program aimed at increasing transparency in agency proceedings. Under current procedures, agency actions do not get released to the public until after they are voted on by the commissioners. However, Chairman Pai moved on Thursday to test a change in that by publishing the drafts of an AM radio revitalization order and a Next Gen TV (ATSC 3.0) notice of proposed rulemaking in advance of the Commission’s next open meeting later in the month.

“Today, we begin the process of making the FCC more open and transparent,” Chairman Pai said Thursday. In anticipation of the pilot going smoothly, Pai hoped to make it a new norm for such items in circulation to be published well in advance. He added, “My goal is a simple but powerful one: equal access to the administrative process.”

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) issued a joint statement to applaud Chairman Pai’s action and said, “We’re glad to see these items being advanced and look forward to working with Chairman Pai to create a more open, transparent, and accountable FCC.”

Similarly, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) stated, “After leading an investigation last year into the FCC’s manipulation of information in advance of open meetings, I believe that a more transparent FCC will be more credible and more accountable. I am pleased that the new leadership is correcting this long-recognized process flaw.”

The next FCC Open Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 23.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: February 3, 2017

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