PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Support Letter to United States Senate on Re-Confirmation of Ajit Pai as FCC Chairman

By at 27 September, 2017, 11:06 pm

The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Majority Leader

United States Senate

 

The Honorable Chuck Schumer

Minority Leader

United States Senate

Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer:

On behalf of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) and our nationwide membership of entrepreneurs and small business owners, I am writing to express strong support for the re-confirmation of Ajit Pai as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Competent leadership and stability on a host of issues at the FCC right now are critical, and Chairman Pai has been an extraordinary leader who has helped make the Commission more transparent, responsive and sensitive to the concerns and issues of our nation’s small business owners and entrepreneurs.

The small business community feels as though our concerns are being heard with Chairman Pai at the helm, and more importantly, that action is being taken. For example, Chairman Pai’s committed focus and desire to bring broadband and affordable choices to small businesses and entrepreneurs in areas that lack access is especially important in rural and underserved communities where many feel left behind by the weak economic recovery or have limited opportunities because they are not connected to the digital economy.  Chairman Pai has made important strides in this regard and is building momentum for significant progress.

On regulatory matters, Chairman Pai has been clear in noting that a light touch regulatory framework is critical for investment and small businesses. For example, it has served broadband investment, and our economy well, resulting in enhanced investment and innovations that mean more efficiency and growth for small businesses. The small businesses that operate in the telecommunications sector – 83.1 percent of employer firms in telecommunications have less than 20 workers and 94.8 percent less than 100 employees – feel their voice is being heard as Chairman Pai understands the disproportionate impact that red tape and rules impose on small firms.  He has also established a data-driven approach towards measuring and understanding the impact of FCC proposed actions, which will help to neutralize political ideology in rulemakings.

One of the FCC’s first actions under Chairman Pai’s leadership protected small businesses from the costly reporting requirements of the Title II Open Internet order (extending an exemption for five years). A move that enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress, and could have been acted upon by the previous Chairman.  In a statement advancing the order, Pai declared: “Our decision will help the country’s smaller providers—namely, those with 250,000 or fewer broadband subscribers—better serve their communities. For I firmly believe that these ISPs should spend their limited capital building out better broadband to rural America—not hiring lawyers and accountants to fill out unnecessary paperwork demanded by Washington, DC.  With this action, the small businesses that are critical to injecting competition into the broadband marketplace will be better able to do just that.”

With regard to Title II generally, Chairman Pai is on a thoughtful and productive path through the Restoring Internet Freedom initiative.  Unfortunately, investment has suffered under the uncertainty and harm of intrusive and unneeded (Title II) government regulation of the Internet, which means (as noted above) affordable and quality broadband access remains unavailable for many Americans.  Small internet service providers, rural broadband providers and other small businesses in the broadband space are disproportionately burdened by these misguided regulations, hurting their ability to compete, invest, and serve their customers with better broadband. In the end, the misguided Title II regulatory framework is crushing small competitors and will lead to fewer choices, and perhaps no choice at all in some areas of the country.

Chairman Pai is an inclusive leader and well respected.  The loud voices and interests that oppose his re-confirmation are merely annoyed that the Commission is now open to listening to the millions of Americans and entrepreneurs previously shut out by special-interest rulemaking.  I urge every Senator to support Chairman Pai’s re-confirmation.

Sincerely,

Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO

cc: United States Senators

News and Media Releases