Gary Shapiro 

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, my name is Gary Shapiro and I'm President and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association and I have a question for you: are you  CES Ready? I thought so good, because with me is Chairman Joe Simon's Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. Welcome to CES. Is this your first CES?

 
Joseph Simons 

This is and I'm so excited to be here.

 
Gary Shapiro 

That's great. What do you think so far?

 
Joseph Simons 

Well, I have, this is the so far.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Okay. So what do you think of the audience?

 
Joseph Simons 

I'm really looking forward to walking around and I'm not gonna be like a little kid in a candy shop.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Well, you know, I started out at CES a long time ago. And what excited me is that it was the free marketplace, going back years in force, where you could see competitors positioning themselves right next to each other like the old markets. And that's what, what to help us out. I see most people know what the Federal Trade Commission is, why don't you just explain what the Federal Trade Commission does?

 
Joseph Simons 

So the Federal Trade Commission has a broad very broad dual mission. We do Competition and Consumer Protection. So competition relates to enforcing our antitrust laws and Consumer Protection has a whole host of statutes that we that we enforce. We are very active combating fraud. We try to do our best combating robo calls. Of course, we have a big privacy program and a data security program as well.

 
Gary Shapiro 

That's a it's a very big mandate. And I want to thank you for coming here. You know, you your bidding job without two years or so?

 
Joseph Simons 

 Yeah, about 18, a year and a half roughly.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Well, the important thing is actually managed to beat a Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, it's taken him three years actually to get to CES and it's takem you about a little less than two. So thank you. Good. But it's been an incredibly busy time for the agency that you've been doing so many different things. You have broad discretion and authority over competition policy, and consumer protection, as you mentioned, and basically your agency spans the whole economy, which is important. And you know, we've been saying every company as a tech company, we've been saying for years, we're definitely seeing that. Yes, and that means we have a lot to talk about. So I want to get right into this. absence of I can and start off with, with what we all value, which is privacy, right? And data security. So you, like the Consumer Technology Association have called for a federal privacy law. Why is that important? And what do you envision there?

 
Joseph Simons 

Okay. So, you know, as we get further and further into the digital age, privacy concerns are obviously becoming more important, seemingly almost by the minute. And up to now, our primary privacy statute is a 100 year old piece of legislation called the FTC Act. And so I think it really is time for Congress to think about whether we should do something more modern. We've got a situation where the state are becoming very active California is already in effect. And we should see whether it makes more sense to have a federal statute in some way and how that interacts with the states. how it interacts with their legislation, as well. So yeah, we think we think It's time.

 

Gary Shapiro 

You know, when the European privacy law GDPR went into effect, what we saw is a lot of Europeans were barred from visiting us sites, because a lot of us companies didn't have the resources to comply, we saw a lot of smaller businesses go effect. And now of course, we're dealing with California and there's a little bit of a timeframe a time period to, to comply with it for the smaller companies. But what do you concern about a net? Like, do you think it's better to have every state have 50 different laws and and what impact would that have? And why is it federal law? Maybe a better alternative?

 
Joseph Simons 

I think it just depends on how the states evolve and how the federal law evolves. I mean, it conceivably could happen, the states do something that's relatively consistent, and doesn't kind of create conflicting requirements, and then that would be okay. Or maybe that's a problem and the federal legislation might be able to kind of avoid that issue.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Do you think is it makes sense to look at some of these laws as a barrier to entry like big companies like A Google or a Facebook or anyone else, it's big. That's my number one probably upset with me for saying this they could comply with as opposed to a startup company. We have 1200 startups here in Eureka park in the sands Convention Center. And I look at those companies. And these are people that are, you know, they're they're incensed, maxed out their credit cards, that they're betting everything in the community isn't showing something, they might have a website, they're trying to sell it or do something. And, you know, when they hear about complying with the privacy law in different states, they get pretty concerned.

 
Joseph Simons 

You know, one of the things that we have talked to the Congress about, is doing privacy legislation in a way that doesn't reduce competition. And one of the things we're particularly worried about is, is legislation that would essentially entrench the big dominant tech platforms, and disadvantage the new players and the small guys and the new entrance. So that that's a real serious concern. There's actually some evidence that GDPR is in fact having that impact. And so that's something we should be very concerned about, and be careful terms of privacy legislation that the Congress adopt.

 
Gary Shapiro 

I appreciate hearing that guys, you have to say it is a policy position supported by our big companies, I should point out as well, that we want to see make it easy for new entrants to come into the the technology marketplace. It's it's what fuels this trade show. It's what fuels our industry. And it's a principle that I've heard about since my first board meeting of the organization, and we always have to make room for the person with a new idea to come in. And especially with CES be exposed to investors, partners, buyers, media, retailers, etc. So there's a summer one Congress to pass a law requiring this new kind of federal privacy regulator, it's you know, it's been talked about a little bit in the presidential debates and others are, what do you think about that?

 
Joseph Simons 

Oh, I think that'll be a huge mistake. Of course, I'm the FTC chairman. And of course, I would say that but I really do mean it. The FTC has been enforcing in the privacy area very aggressively where the I think we're the most active privacy enforcer on the planet and we're doing that with 100 year old statue. So we've been very creative in how and how we set that up I I credit my predecessors for doing that, that terrific job. So our folks have a lot of experience. They have a lot of expertise. The agency is itself is very productive, very high functioning, very high morale. In fact, their recent rankings came out from the Partnership for Public Service which ranks Best Places to Work in the government. And I'm happy to say that the Federal Trade Commission was ranked number two for midsize agencies and perhaps even more impressive, the Bureau of the Bureau of Consumer Protection which houses our privacy division was ranked number 6 out of over 420 government sub units.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Why? What was the criteria?

 
Joseph Simons 

Oh, this is just a long questionnaire

 
Gary Shapiro 

Oh, okay. When you say you're a good place to work, is this the guy at the top's a nice boss or is it you know,

 
Joseph Simons 

I think hopefully the guy at the top is nice to the people, the other people there, but I I think it's a function. You know, it's been like this for quite a while. And it's it's the mission is very important that people view it that way. They're all on board with it. The places is pretty bipartisan, which is hard to, you know, sometimes hard to do in Washington these days.

 
Joseph Simons 

And we have really good people.

 
Gary Shapiro 

I confessed to you backstage that I started out as a law student, a jurist and trying to eat my macaroni and cheese by working for an FTC law firm of a few lawyers. So I actually started out reading a lot of FTC cases and doing a lot, but I actually,

 
Joseph Simons 

so I'm a Georgetown alum, too.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Oh, well, that's why we're up here together. You know, that's I, I should have known that, of course. So one of the first things you did as you as chairman was you organized a set of public hearings, actually 14 of them on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st century. And the last time the FTC did that was in the mid 1990s.

 
Joseph Simons 

Yeah. 1995 I think.

 
Gary Shapiro 

So how is the FTC is role in technology markets evolved since that time and what was your takeaways from those hearings?

 
Joseph Simons 

So I think pretty substantial.

 
Joseph Simons 

Our privacy program began shortly after that. The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act was was passed in 1998. my predecessors there, the FTC developed this privacy program really out of whole cloth. As I mentioned earlier, the statute is 100 years old. And clearly when they passed that law, the Congress back then was not was not having privacy concerns like we see today in their minds. So what the commission did is part of our, our consumer protection mandate involves acting against deceptive advertising. And what my predecessors did is they came up with an approach where they told businesses that it was a best practice to have a published privacy policy. And that now is quite standard. And the way we handle that is if you if you have a published privacy policy, and you deviate from it, and a significant way, then we can launch an enforcement action to stop that from happening and make sure you're disclosing what you're supposed to be disclosing. And that's the primary privacy vehicle that for regulating that we have used in the last 20 years or so. And so that was an adapt ation to the new privacy concerns that were coming out in the late 1990s. And through the 2000s. The other thing that we're doing for technology is the

 
Joseph Simons 

you want a drink of water?

 
Gary Shapiro 

 I got one thanks.

 
Joseph Simons 

Okay, I have the other one. I have extra.

 
Joseph Simons 

So the other thing we're doing is we set up this technology Enforcement Division. And the reason we did that is because everyone in this room knows this. But the big tech platforms are becoming so consequential to our lives and so large that as an antitrust enforcer, those are the areas you worry about where any competitive conduct committee could be occurring. And those are the those are the areas which which are fertile grounds for antitrust investigations. So we set up the technology Enforcement Division, which focuses solely on investigating and monitoring the big tech platforms. So those are two things related to the technology.

 
Gary Shapiro 

well, since you raised the big tech tech platforms, I have to ask a question about whether you consider that the United States has the good fortune of hosting many, if not most of the major internet platforms in the country. That's not

 
Joseph Simons 

that's not by chance.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Okay, tell me what you think.

 
Joseph Simons 

So I think our our economic environment is conducive to the growth, that type of growth. And so I think that's why you see that over here, and you don't see it in other places.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Well, sometimes when I look at what Europe is done with their intense regulation, and they're hitting our companies with taxes and restrictions, I think that's not really a good innovation strategy. It's just just a we're kind of jealous and we want to go after the stress.

 
Joseph Simons 

People, people have characterized it that way.

 
Gary Shapiro 

So but so how does that way? How does that like the fact that we're, we're an American association with a global event, and obviously we we like our American companies to be strong? How does that weigh into your consideration? Because we, you know, tech does amazing good things. Obviously, the job of government is in part to create some guardrails. And also, I think, part of government job is to not only create guardrails to make sure that companies know what they're doing is legal, there should not be ambiguity are coming, and they shouldn't have to ask permission. Right? And if you agree with all that, how does that weigh into your policy on big tech companies?

 
Joseph Simons 

So let's take that in two bites at least. So the first bite is should you have when I heard you say, or the way I interpreted is, should we have something like a national champion program, which the Europeans are trying to have done in the past and it seems like they're kind of pushing that now. I think that would be an enormous mistake. Right, you want to subject our companies to competition, including foreign competition, so they get better. The competition is what drives companies to produce, produce better products at cheaper prices. And that's that will get that full benefits the country and that's something we, we want to we want to encourage. And then And then secondly, we don't go after companies just because they're big and successful. Okay? They actually have to commit an antitrust violation have to do something that's anti competitive, as opposed to competitive. And even taking that to, to an extreme. It's been kind of doctrinal law, in the anti trust in this country, that we encourage firms to compete. And when we do that, and they become successful, and maybe even to the extreme of monopolizing the market, if they've done it legally, we shouldn't then turn around and penalize them for success because that creates bad incentives. Right? So we want companies to be competitive and to to produce better products and better and cheaper prices. So we don't we have to commit an anti competitive act, you have to harm consumers. We don't just break companies up because they're big. We think that's very bad policy.

 
Gary Shapiro 

I appreciate hearing it. I can now I know we did both go to Georgetown Law School because we learned well.

 
Joseph Simons 

Did you have Bob Buttowski?

 
Gary Shapiro 

Pardon me?

 
Joseph Simons 

Did you have Bob Buttowski for antitrust?

 
Gary Shapiro 

No, I did not.

 
Joseph Simons 

But did you take antitrust?

 
Gary Shapiro 

Yes, I did.

 
Gary Shapiro 

I it's very important in the trade association world to know antitrust. So tell me if my analysis is correct. So would your is done is they've really clamped down on privacy?

 
Joseph Simons 

Well, then has the law. Okay, that would permit them to really clamp down

 
Gary Shapiro 

well, but they also have the right to be forgotten. They have they have other structures that are is very privacy oriented a little bit more than we are.

 
Joseph Simons 

Yeah, there's a there's a question about the law versus the enforcement of the law. So whatever we have whatever laws we have, we enforce and that's the question as they might have a stricter It was an interesting article political recently which made this point they talked about how people were. were complaining that yes, we have this new law GDPR in Europe, but one of the real what's the real effect of it? What's the enforcement?

 
Gary Shapiro 

Well, there's a lot of lawsuits brought, we don't know how they'll play out. And it's it's, it's it's chilling, but the right to be forgotten. For those that don't know, if you have, even if you're a public figure, you have a right to tell, to have removed true facts from you of the internet. And Google gets several hundred thousand requests almost weekly or monthly to remove facts. So Europe has a much higher at least legal obligation on privacy and theoretically, right, China does not the privacy there is more theoretical. Every citizen is rated social rated, but they have a lot of data that they accumulate and data is this is the bloodstream for artificial intelligence. And while the US is I like to think the US is Goldilocks and the Three Bears were we got it Right, right now we don't want to mess it up,

 
Joseph Simons 

you have a situation right where if you require opt in consent for every piece of personal information, then you might be in a situation where you're dramatically impacting the effectiveness of advertising markets, you might dramatically be impacting the ability of small firms and new entrants to get data that they need, like from data brokers, for example, so they don't have to do it themselves. And if you make if you have a regime where it's very hard to have data brokers at all, then you could be seriously disadvantage because you the, the, the smaller players and the new entrants.

 
Gary Shapiro 

So you think in part, the free market works it out. Because if you're a company that is very cautious and sharing data, and you make that well known, you keep to your word that may enhance your brand and be a strategy.

 
Joseph Simons 

I that that's the whole point behind our privacy program where we encourage companies to have privacy policies and adhere to them. But the market the market needs some type of like antitrust regulation, for example. So So firms don't don't collude with each other and They don't they don't engage in exclusionary monopolizing practices. So, absent that, yes, then it's usually a good idea to let let the market function.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Good. So maybe this is an uncomfortable area, but I feel I have to raise it. Last summer, the FTC announced settlements with Facebook $5 billion, and YouTube $170 million over the company's respective Privacy Practices. What do you think of the broader ramifications of these decisions? Like what is the lesson that other companies should get from that, and and how companies conduct themselves and how they deal with the FTC.

 
Joseph Simons 

So those those settlements, imposed requirements that are foreign away greater than what the law itself requires, including transparency requirements. So Facebook and Google know that we are paying attention there we're monitoring them closely and we have the we have the information will have the information available as to do that. And if they if they can He knew to do what they were doing in the past and violate the privacy laws, then they can expect that the repercussions will be even more severe.

 
Gary Shapiro 

So, you know, I appreciate what you said about just being big is not bad. And I also think I heard you say giving something away for free is not necessarily an illegal act.

 
Joseph Simons 

Oh, absolutely on. I mean, we've been giving away over the air TV free for very long times. We've been giving away we've been giving away local newspapers, free for a very long period of time. So yeah, no, absolutely not. I'm sorry. The thing I was gonna tell you is I this is kind of like cyclical all these events we're talking about they kind of happened in the past in one form or another. It's interesting to see them come up again.

 
Gary Shapiro 

You know, I attended last year at an international conference on privacy in The Hague, and I was sitting with a couple of women, one from Latin, poor Latin American country and another from Africa. And they made the point because GDPR was just starting You don't get it, you know, we don't get this stuff. We can't pay for it. We don't mind the advertising. That is this privacy thing you're talking about. This is a first world problem don't deprive us of access to all these great things like search engines and social media. And, and that's the sensitivity that enables

 
Joseph Simons 

advertising sponsored content,

 
Gary Shapiro 

right. So it does encourage there's large parts of the world. It's just sometimes this isn't just about us in the US, right? You're wealthier than others. So I have a magic button. Question. Yeah. If you had a magic button, get Congress to change your law. What would it be?

 
Joseph Simons 

Oh, absolutely. It would change 13 via the FTC act.

 
Gary Shapiro 

For those who don't know, there's 13 big, or the first 12 big.

 
Joseph Simons 

So this is really important. So you know, I'm an FTC nerd. So we focus on these on these numerical things. So this is the statute, part of our act. That gives us the ability to go in court and collect monetary relief and do Consumer redress. And it's particularly important in the area of our fraud program, because we're able to go and a lot, you know, these fraudsters oftentimes have boiler room operations, and they dissipate assets very quickly. And so we're under this section of our act, we're able to go into court, get a court, freeze the assets and preserve them for a trial, so that we can then prove the fraud and then recover the money and use it to to provide consumer redress. Another example of, of our monetary program involved, something you're all probably familiar with. Its when Volkswagen engaged and kind of like somewhat of a false advertising with their clean diesel by rigging the the environmental tests, and we collected $11 billion for that. So these are programs that are very important to us. And lately, well, let me set them back up. Previously, most of the circuit courts in the United States agreed that we had the ability under our statute to get monetary relief in the way I've described. Recently, a cases come up involving this in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which went the other way and reversed itself. So now there's a lot of confusion with respect to consumer protection, also any interest people about whether we can get monetary relief, and it's really impacting the work that we do, and would have a huge damage to the fraud program if that if that seven circuit case became more widespread. So we would like the Congress to go through and clarify that we have the ability to get monetary equitable relief.

 
Gary Shapiro 

And where would that money go?

 
Joseph Simons 

Its consumers, to consumers, and and what's the big for the lawyers involved? We're the we're the lawyers involved, and we just get the regular government salary.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Okay, there you go.

 
Gary Shapiro 

So what do you want to do? Like what would make 2020 a successful year, the FTC.

 
Joseph Simons 

So my big my big mantra ever since I got there, back in May 2018, is vigorous enforcement. And I we did that last year, the year before we're doing it. We're going to do it again this year, and we're going to try to do it in a very bipartisan way. We've been doing that right all along. We don't always agree on everything. But we make an effort to try to accommodate and to take into account. All the commissioners concerns. And the agency has a very long history of bipartisan cooperation. We think that's really important, has been very important for us in the past and is even more important going forward in the future. So that's, that's one thing that's really important. The other thing is that I mentioned the technology Enforcement Division. That group is focused on investigating the high tech platforms. We've already confirmed what Facebook disclose that we are, in fact, investigating them for potential antitrust violations. And we have other investigations going on as well. We This is such an important area we want these investors want to make sure these investigations are done thoroughly. They're done properly and they're done efficiently. And we either decide something or to bring an enforcement action or not. We want to do that. We want to do that in the end. The best time frame possible. The other thing, we have a huge healthcare program where we we and this has been a bipartisan effort over probably 30 years, where we, we block any kind of hospital mergers, we block any competitive pharmaceutical company transactions, and medical device equipment makers. And then we we also have a group that focuses on conduct investigations in the healthcare area. So there are the things that maybe if some people have seen in the news, if you are in your Memphis, I'll be very impressed. We have these pay for delay cases where a brand company would pay a generic to stay out of the market and run up, you know, hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars of damage to consumers. So those things we want to we want to keep emphasizing and then finally, you mentioned the, the hearings that we've been having. So we want to make sure that the output comes out. in a timely way. So those are the things those are the things we're most prioritizing.

 
Gary Shapiro 

So if the back to the health care if it's damaged to the consumers, your active it would if it's damaged, and Medicare always has to pay more because of certain practices that outside your

 
Joseph Simons 

you the government can sue for government damage the DOJ,

 
Gary Shapiro 

but it doesn't.

 
Joseph Simons 

I mean, sometimes it does. Oh, yes, absolutely.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Well, the private equity is taking over a lot of medical practices. There's a lot of I mean, there's definitely maximizing revenue at this point using EMR to maximize billing, and use of equipment there. So that's Is that something we have to see we care about?

 
Joseph Simons 

We care about it? Because it's it's a big problem, but it's kind of beyond our mandate, because I think what you're describing really doesn't relate to to any competitors or tech. It's a regulatory issue. I think.

 
Gary Shapiro 

So, so the hospital mergers are they going up or going down? Or is it? Well,

 
Joseph Simons 

you know, I didn't I haven't looked at the numbers. Recently, historically, we had an interesting happened, it's kind of interesting to see this, we we were doing hospital murder cases in the 80s and into the 90s. And at one point, we lost 8 or 10 in a row of them, because the courts kept getting it wrong. And that may have been a function of how we presented the cases. So we went back and did a merger retrospective study on a bunch of hospitals. So we saw hospital mergers that went through their consummated. And we went and did a common econometric analysis to see what the impact was, where we thought they will probably be problematic, and lo and behold, they were and it helped us to figure out to show to the courts that hey, these murders do produce bad effects, they harm consumers. And, and we also figured out a better way to present the case to the court as a result of as a result of that. What a neatly tie a lot of us together. The reason I'm raising that it's a natural thing I was mentioned. So there was a big increase in hospital consolidation over the period where we were losing, and we were reestablishing our hospital merger program and I think it kind of leveled off after that.

 
Gary Shapiro 

So the fastest growing area of this event CES is healthcare technology, and the theory and it's also a fast growing area of our membership. And the theory we have is that and I'll give you the CTA theory for all of you just in 30 seconds. We think the biggest one of the biggest threats to the US economy is our deficit and our debt. The only area that seems to be out of control at this point is health care spending. technology provides all sorts of solutions for that where you may not have to go visit a doctor, you can be remotely monitored. You can do all sorts of things with technology you've been unable to do before it actually have healthy, healthier living in various ways. In terms of privacy. That was an issue we got together, actually, under the Obama administration, a private group, everyone involved in devices that you were from Fitbit to Apple to Samsung, Google others, and agreed on a set of privacy principles, which are just what you would expect transparency, simple language, opt out, don't resell without permission and That is been very effective. It's instill confidence. We're also trying to figure out ways we could bring down health care costs without people going to surgery, drugs, pain management without addictive drugs thing. There are other alternatives out there. The technology is increasing. And that's what you'll see at the show floor. Should you want to look forward to that. So you've been chairman for a while. I mean, you're Yeah, beyond the honeymoon. What are you proudest of?

 
Joseph Simons 

Yeah. I would say that the two most significant things I've done and worked on were the were the two privacy cases, the the Facebook case and the YouTube case. The the Facebook case, in particular, was very long, hard fought case, very extensive negotiations to get where we got to, and it was it was very gratifying to to, to get to the end of the road and and enter into that agreement.

 
Gary Shapiro 

So there are people in the audience here with companies and they have ideas and they have products and they may not know whether or not What they are doing is clearly legal. Is there a mechanism of the FTC where they could go? And they could ask, Is this okay? Or is that doesn't mean that doesn't exist? that the best thing you have to hire a former FTC employee

 
Joseph Simons 

to do that you they don't have to bend to the FTC, the antitrust laws are relatively straightforward. I think if you if you, you, would you, yourself, probably witnessed as a as a younger lawyer. So you know, you know, the FTC is not in the business really providing advice, although we do provide guidance, generally, like so for example, one of the things that we're going to do is we're going to, we're going to put out guidance involving high tech platforms and how we are going to be evaluating them under the under the antitrust laws. We have merger guidelines that are out that describe how we, we evaluate mergers, and we have guidelines involving horizontal cooperation between competitors, which is often bad, but sometimes good. And so we do provide that kind of guidance in a broad way, but we wouldn't be taking in Actual questions from people. Okay, well, that's helpful. As a trade association, we are horizontal competition among competitors. So walking conspiracies, but

 
Gary Shapiro 

but we do have Noah Pennington and other freedoms to petition our government and ask questions and provide information and run events that promote itself.

 
Joseph Simons 

So petitioning for good, good reasons that are valid, legitimate is great petitioning for sham purposes. Not so good.

 
Gary Shapiro 

I don't but I know you guys have never done anything Sham in my life, honestly. So how can we be helpful to you as an industry as individual companies, what is it you want from us to do your job better?

 
Joseph Simons 

So the most important thing is if you are sitting in this audience, wherever you're sitting, and you are having problems that look like they're improperly affecting your ability to compete, and particularly if it's a high tech platform, or even if it's not, we would like to hear about it. Those calls we take

 
Joseph Simons 

slightly.

 
Gary Shapiro 

If there's a something you think Smells. Yeah. Tell you

 
Joseph Simons 

Yeah, call.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Okay. Well, Chairman Simons, I want to thank you very much for your time and sharing. Ladies and gentlemen, please give it up for Chairman Simon's sharing with us. Thank you.

 
Joseph Simons 

It's terrific to be here. Thank you so much.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Thank you very much. Appreciate it. So in the tradition of CES seamless transitions, I am now going to see if I'm going to be joined by somebody else. We'll see you know, he said he was coming a couple of times, and he didn't show up. So ladies and gentlemen, hopefully he's backstage. Please welcome to the stage. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Thank you. I am so pleased to welcome you to the stage.

 
Ajit Pai 

You say that to all the chairman.

 
Gary Shapiro 

No, I'd like to say I

 
Ajit Pai 

You literally just said it to the other chairman.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Well, I'd like to say I would I really wanted to say I'm pleased to welcome you back to the stage but because this is the first time he's done a one on one at CES and you've been FCC Chairman for almost

 
Ajit Pai 

three years

 
Gary Shapiro 

three years. Wow. Yeah. I'm actually concerned that he might actually pull a runaway bride on me again, but you?

 
Ajit Pai 

Well, the way I would address that is

 
Gary Shapiro 

Out of fairness, the FCC, the government was closed last year at this time the federal government.

 
Ajit Pai 

Yeah, no, the way I would address it is if you remember a Fellowship of the Ring, Lord of the Rings, Gandalf is telling Frodo why it was that he couldn't meet him at the end of the Prancing Pony and breed. He says with some understatement. I was delayed and that's how I say it in this case, too.

 
Gary Shapiro 

So, you have been a visible figure occasion. controversal always articulate and passionate and smart.

 
Ajit Pai 

Man, this is good.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Keep All right, I'll keep going.

 
Ajit Pai 

adjectives are my friends.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Let's talk about some of the work you've done. Actually. I want to Address, what would a two years ago would have been the elephant in the room? So the, you know, one of the big discussion items then which caused some crazy action by people was the issue of net neutrality. And I've been engaged in that issue for a long time. Happily, I've committed myself to stay in the sidelines for 15 years and save a lot of effort. But at CTR position was pretty clear. We like competition, and that would solve a lot of problems. And we had voluntary guidelines. I advocated in lobby the FTC. And I think last century FCC, I'm sorry, and that those voluntary guidelines were in effect, and then when your predecessors came along and stood on this stage in this room and said, you know, we had to change those because President Obama, the only thing he ever The only thing, the only FCC thing he had talked about in this campaign, and he felt he had to do it. Congress didn't like it was a lot of debate. I'm summarizing 20 years here. And then you came along. You know, you're really This doesn't make any sense. And everyone said the sky is gonna fall. Chairman pie. If you do this, there was like demonstrations, there was horrible. I would go to FCC dinners and events are with FC. Communications bars recognize and protest. Were there things like that. So it's been in effect now what two years?

 
Ajit Pai 

Yeah. Two years in June.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Has the sky fallen yet?

 
Ajit Pai 

I not yet. In fact, the indicators are in the other direction since we made our decision in December 2017. speeds are up for fixed broadband over 60%. According to UCLA, broadband infrastructure investment is up, more Americans are getting connected to the internet than ever before. more fiber was laid in 2019 to homes and businesses in the United States than in any year since they've been keeping records breaking the record we set in 2018. And I would like to say that thanks to our efforts, more Americans than ever before, faster than ever before, are able to hate tweet their favorite FCC Chairman and that I think is it indicator of our success. And so at the end of the day, Look, I know that people are passionate about this issue. But let's focus on the things that we can actually agree on those core principles of an open Internet that we all agree upon no blocking, no throttling, no any competitive conduct transparency. I've just described in five seconds a bill that should sail through Congress. But this has become more of a political issue than a policy one. So I'm going to keep my nose focused on what matters to the American consumer. Those folks I've met on tribal reservations in rural communities, in lower income urban areas and in other places, and they are focused on having access to digital opportunity, not the political back and forth in Washington on this issue and others.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Well, I want to get to that broadband for all seven, but I want to stick with net neutrality for a second. Do you track their complaints about actual throttling and things like all the bad behavior and how what's the trend line? How's it going the last two years, a year and a half since this happened,

 
Ajit Pai 

the trend line has been positive. We do monitor among other things and Internet Service Providers transparency disclosures, any complaints we get in the like and again, going back to your earlier point, we do track some of the predictions that were made a couple of years ago that you will get the internet one word at a time, you will have to pay $5 per tweet or my favorite. This is the end of the internet as we know it and every now and then I view with equal parts amusement and perplexity that the fact that I get emails and tweets saying that you destroyed the internet over the internet. And so I think, to me, at least it just a signifier that there's a larger political impulse motivating a lot of this debate. And so I want to, again, focus on the merits of the issue and you put a lot of the poisonous rhetoric and in some cases, unfortunately, action over the past couple of years in the rearview mirror.

 
Gary Shapiro 

That's me honestly, the only time I've felt my internet was throttled was this morning at a headquarters hotel with everyone seemed to wake up at the same time and go online and it just wasn't working for me. But that's, you know, the crowds and, and one of the things that we hope will solve that is 5g and related, super Wi Fi. Can you talk about that and what the FCC's role is and

 
Ajit Pai 

Absolutely, and 5g is a part of a whole suite of new services. We want To encourage in the United States, whether it's five G, or Wi Fi six, or innovation in space, or electric utilities, getting the business, it is all part of a mosaic of encouraging every company using whatever technology to provide access to the American people to gain digital opportunities, like pointed out earlier. And so 5g is something we're very excited about. We want to promote American leadership in 5g. And we're doing that in part through what we call the 5g fast plan, getting more spectrum in the commercial marketplace, making it easier to deploy the wireless infrastructure of the future small cells and the like, and promoting more fiber deployment which is of course critical for carrying all that internet traffic into the core of the networks and we've been aggressively executing on each of those. And I'm proud to say that we've been making putting a lot of points on the board more points to come Of course, but it's actually making a mark you see now in the marketplace that some of the major carriers are advancing 5g that T Mobile reaches something like 200 million Americans with low band 5g sprint has I believe it's nine sites activating its two dot five gigahertz holdings. at&t and Verizon have on the several dozen sites that are activated. So the future is very bright for 5g in this country, we want to make sure that we continue to put those building blocks of innovation in place for the benefit of the American wireless consumer.

 
Gary Shapiro 

You know so much and you're talking very fast. I'm worried about the sign language interpreter. Oh, God keep up with.

 
Ajit Pai 

I am so sorry. I always apologize to our interpreter at the FCC. I'm sure they've got some voodoo doll with me in the back when they're making me speak slower. So

 
Gary Shapiro 

well. It's also really for me, because I

 
Ajit Pai 

 thank you for what you do. And I appreciate it. I will try to speak slower.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Well, it's also for me, I can't think fast enough to understand.

 
Gary Shapiro 

You're like, you're speaking in 5g and I think in 4g. So it seems like every 10 years, there's a new G. And And where's the start of a new decade, it's a new G and everything's always gotten better with that next G. What do you see is the barriers to 5g implementation in the United States?

 
Ajit Pai 

That's a good question. I think there are many unfortunately, one of course, is costly. It is not cheap to build a 5g network and the the scale of the network that you have to build is pretty massive if you want to create a nationwide network. Secondly, getting access to spectrum is of course, one of the constraints spectrum being one of the the lifeblood of the 5g networks, of course, additionally, just getting the work crews to build some of these networks in many parts of the country, it's difficult to find people who are able to do this work and I've visited some of these wireless infrastructure companies in places like Gulfport, Mississippi, in Pembroke, New Hampshire, there aren't a lot of cruise people able to do the work and so that's a constraint as well. Another one is just

 
Gary Shapiro 

the since I'm doing an interview in the next hour or two talking about workforce, it's a little publicity shortage

 
Ajit Pai 

I haven't heard about that. Is that right?

 
Gary Shapiro 

The shortage of workforce for that, is that is that highly skilled labor or is it just the sheer number we have full employment which is

 
Ajit Pai 

To me at least is just the job is extremely demanding. And I've gotten a little taste of it having climbed 131 foot tower myself, you're bragging now. I mean, some of these folks, I've got to say, we were climbing up there, we get to the top and I asked one of the guys who's with me, this has got to be what a 501,000 foot tower He's like, which means this is only 130 feet, we do 2000 feet. And I've got to say, when you're swinging up there on the top of the tower, and you're carrying a heavy pack, and I'm not even carrying antennas and other gear that these folks carry, you quickly recognize that this is not a job that is easy to do. And I know it's not the sexiest thing to talk about how demanding it is to get up a tower and install this infrastructure. But that really is one of the core jobs of building these networks. And it's very hard work outside. In many cases, the conditions aren't great, it's raining or cold and the like. And especially with younger people. This is a younger person's job, in many cases, a physically demanding job and a lot of younger people feel they have better opportunities, especially indoor opportunities that aren't as physically demanding. And so that's one of the challenges we're going to have to think about is How to develop the workforce of the future when it comes to building these wireless networks.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Hmm, I had not thought I since the HGTV transition HDTV transition when I actually climbed a couple of broadcasts, and I see exactly what you're saying it looks high when you're high out there, but and it's and it does way they do actually. So it's a little scary. It wasn't aware that but but one of the things people I want to talk about 5g and two others one is it. A lot of people say well, 5g is the best solution because we have a rural broadband issue. But my perspective, is it really the rural broadband is a different piece. This is really an urban and suburban solution. Is that correct?

 
Ajit Pai 

It depends. We're still in the early stages. So I think people are still waiting to see how it plays out. What I would say is that the typical wireless solutions that we think about, obviously consumers using smartphones, I think there you might see a big cities being the use case, but I do think there are some real use cases that are appealing as well. For example, fixed wireless solutions. If you can use some of the millimeter wave spectrum or even mid band spectrum to provide access that would be a great Great thing and one of the reasons why I'm so bullish on the tribal rural tribal window that we set up in the 2.5 gigahertz band is that finally gives people who are willing to serve tribal communities a chance to enjoy some of the benefits of 5g. And so that's going to be one of the things we're looking forward to is in addition to that precision agriculture is another one. I visited a lot of farms and ranches over the last couple of years. And I can tell you that the needs of the modern American farm and ranch, it's not just downloading something from the cloud. It's symmetric. I mean, they need essentially a field now, it's not just the corn or soybeans or whatever you see physically, it's a bunch of data that needs to be uploaded into the cloud analyze and then quickly downloaded back down. And so I actually think for things like precision agriculture, or telemedicine, these are going to be rural use cases that are really important for us to

 
Gary Shapiro 

and they're all at CES, John Deere has an incredible tractor that's that's doing exactly what you're talking about. It does but it does assume they'll be a broadband connection and yeah, and those of us who live in suburban urban areas, you know, broadband, we just assume but the fact is, there is a divided in this country, the rural areas that there are a lot of places you just can't get a signal. So one of the solutions that's been proposed Microsoft has is to say, hey, broadcasters, you have some unused spectrum in rural areas. Could we use it to get broadband? Yeah. What do you think about that?

 
Ajit Pai 

I think Microsoft and other companies are exploring really innovative solutions. And we want to encourage all of them, I had a chance to visit a pilot project that Microsoft was doing in rural Virginia and to have a chance to sit down with a high school student who told me that for the first time, he was able to do his homework without looking at the weather forecast. I sort of looked at him wonder what are you talking about? He said, Well, before we only had Satellite Broadband, if it rained, then I knew that we weren't gonna be able to get a connection and I couldn't upload my homework or download the lesson plans and something that we take for granted.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Absolutely. You know, that panicky feeling that we all get almost every day when you misplace your phone for a second. I mean, imagine if not having your phone for usable

 
Ajit Pai 

not me. The only thing worse would be not having a mug saying mug to drink coffee out of your

 
Gary Shapiro 

coffee mug.

 
Ajit Pai 

Yeah, my case. But yes, no, I think we all saying you're always going to be connected. And it's one of the things that I think having spent a lot of time in rural America having grown up in rural America, I can tell you that there is a very clear feeling that opportunity is kept in some of these places that in order to reach your potential, you have to move to a bigger city, or your dreams are going to be limited. And I don't want that to happen for anybody in this country. And it's part of the reason why I've visited now 48 states will be 49 by the end of the week to explore and some of these candidates,

 
Gary Shapiro 

the 49 said because everyone's wondering, which is when you're not, which is the one you're dissing at this point.

 
Ajit Pai 

Well, not just anybody but as a dedicated public servant. I will be talking about telehealth and telemedicine in Hawaii. Okay.

 
Gary Shapiro 

And the 50th state,

 
Ajit Pai 

it'd be very easy to go to Wyoming and Idaho and Montana and January. Hawaii is where it really takes a lot of courage to get out.

 
Gary Shapiro 

And the 50th state?

 
Ajit Pai 

Ok so Alaska I've not visited this chart. 40 years ago, as a commissioner, I look forward to following

 
Gary Shapiro 

our history in rexy. Alaska is a 50 state, I think.

 
Ajit Pai 

Yeah, exactly. January 59.

 
Gary Shapiro 

So I want to get back to 5g because it is the big thing. I mean, why are we doing anything that we could do to encourage infrastructure? What else can we do at this point as a nation?

 
Ajit Pai 

That's a very good question. One obviously, is continue to execute on the 5g fast plan, which requires in parts action on spectrum, we've got a lot of irons in the fire, so to speak, a two dot five, three dot 5374 dot 9596. You name it all the way up to the millimeter wave bands. In fact, right now, we're in the middle of auction window. Three were bids. Last time I checked, it exceeded $6 billion. So

 
Gary Shapiro 

Does everyone understand what he's talking about? Oh, you're all dead.

 
Ajit Pai 

It's been a lot of airwaves being a lot of numbers being pushed in the marketplace for the benefit of consumers licensed and unlicensed. Right. So we're going to continue to execute on that. So that's one of the big things that we're going to continue.

 
Gary Shapiro 

So you agree it's a national priority?

 
Ajit Pai 

Oh, absolutely. It's I made clear when I introduced the five year Flat fast plan when I spoke at the White House with the president that this is an issue where we want America to lead and not just for the parochial pride of being able to say we lead, but we do believe that our model of innovation and investment is one that ultimately serves consumers. Well, here and around the world. You've raised just raised the issue of unlicensed spectrum.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Yeah. Could you talk about that, and I can walk around the 4400 exhibits around the floor, a lot of them dependent or innovations using unlicensed spectrum. And by definition, you know, the entrance fee is not high, to create something with unlicensed spectrum as opposed to having to buy spectrum and be a big company. You know, there's the zillions of costs right in that world. Could you talk about your view of unlicensed spectrum and what role it plays in innovation?

 
Ajit Pai 

I think it's tremendous. I think that 20 years ago, very few people would have thought that one of the factors that people would think about when checking into a hotel room would be whether there's Wi Fi, I think very few people thought about these internet connected devices using technologies like Bluetooth and I think unlicensed innovation is something that we've only begun to tap and right now, most people Experienced Wi Fi through the two dot four and five gigahertz bands. But we've recently adopted a proposal to look at the 5.9 gigahertz band allocating 45 megahertz more spectrum in the lower part of that band. And we've got an initiative on six gigahertz looking at a 1200 megahertz swad 1200 megahertz swath from 5925 7125. And that one in particular, it's unimaginable what the benefits could be at AR and VR, for example, or other advanced services we can't even conceive today. And so our goal is to remove spectrum as one of the constraints on unlicensed innovation so that 20 years from now, when we're sitting here, we're going to look back at this time is the Stone Age of Wi Fi, how on earth could they have done this with so many people having such slow Wi Fi connections, we want to remove that as constraint and I'm very confident that we'll be able to do that in the coming year. In fact, just yesterday, as I saw it Broadcom announced the first Wi Fi six chip, and so you're starting to see some of your members innovate around that expectation that consumer demand and regulatory action is ultimately going to create your tremendous value.

 

Gary Shapiro 

And what do you see as impediments to getting to that? promised land?

 
Ajit Pai 

So I've one of the things I've learned in Washington is that there are three things you do not discuss in polite society. Yeah, religion, politics, and sharing of spectrum. And so one of the things we are working through is some of the technical analysis regarding some of the incumbents who are using some of the six gigahertz band electric utilities, for example, of public safety entities and others. But I have to think that there is a wide variety of use cases that we can enable indoor and outdoor Wi Fi was one of the things we're looking at. But there's got to be a way for us to share some of these spectrum assets in a way that ultimately benefits consumers. Remember, this is at the end of the day, a public resource, and our top mission at the FCC, and regardless of any band is to make sure there's public resources being deployed for the benefit of the American people. And that's exactly what we're going to do.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Would you recommend any major changes in in spectrum policy in terms of what Congress should Oh,

 
Ajit Pai 

Well, how to answer that one?

 
Gary Shapiro 

I finally stumped him? Wow

 
Ajit Pai 

I think one of the things that would be very helpful is just creating more clarity around spectrum policy. It's obviously we've been engaged in a lot of back and forth with other federal agencies, Capitol Hill with stakeholders on some of the spectrum issues. And in order to continue to deliver value for the American consumer, it's increasingly difficult. And there's not a lot of spectrum out there. In some ways. The the band, every single band we're talking about has incumbents. And so we've got to think very creatively about sharing models. And that's something that we would encourage congressional leadership on as well.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Under the sharing models. Do you think technology has to further evolve to allow sharing?

 
Ajit Pai 

I think it's evolved already. I mean, it's incredible to me. I gotten into this business some 20 years ago, and it's still incredibly when you think about something like massive my mo and when you think about That's an incredible technological innovation way massive my mo place. IMO being multiple input multiple output, essentially, you're able to, roughly speaking splits the use of channels that you're simultaneously using the same spectrum to deliver to multiple different groups of people. wireless connectivity. And that's something that was thought unthinkable in the old model was essentially zero sum. If you're using it, I can't use it. But now thanks to some of these innovations, like massive my Mo, we're able to do that. And that has huge benefits to the American people, whether you're in a big place like CES or a stadium, or even in some of these densely populated urban areas, and that could be as use a solution that really delivers a lot of value

 
Gary Shapiro 

in 5g's obviously, part of the solution. Yeah, getting said I wanted to mention right, and so 5g is a national security issue. Can you talk about that?

 
Ajit Pai 

Yeah, I've been spending a lot of time on that as well. And one of the great things about the 5g era is that it will enable all kinds of devices, billions more of them to be connected, but that also increases as they say the attack surface for those who would look to abuse the network. In order to create cyber security vulnerabilities and so we've been spending a lot of time at the FCC and I personally have been spending a lot of time on this issue. Last November, for example, we voted unanimously to prohibit the use of FCC funding from being spent on equipment or services that might present a national security threat. We've also taken a look at China Mobile, which was a Chinese carrier that got authorization to was seeking authorization to enter the United States market. In addition to that, I've been working with a lot of counterparts in the other federal agencies, DHS, State Department, NSC and others, to make sure we advanced the ball in terms of our strategy on 5g security. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago, I spent time with my counterparts in Malaysia and Singapore, in Japan and Vietnam, talking about some of these issues.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Yes, absolutely. a communist country of Vietnam, and they're talking about this with you.

 
Ajit Pai 

Oh, absolutely. No, I think the Vietnamese have a very keen understanding about the risk profile of some of the equipment and services that go into these 5g networks. And what I found from Brazil to Vietnam from Ireland to India is a desire to work together on a common understanding of that risk based framework, and we've already gotten some results, the Prague proposals which were adopted last spring, from certain whether those proposals are the Czech government hosted a forum involving over 30 countries, including the United States, to come up with some common understanding of what the cyber security risks were, and how to address those risks. And the result of that was what were called the Prague proposals, which you can find on the internet on the Czech government's website. And essentially, it's a framework for understanding the risk profile of different equipment or services not singling out any country or company, but just getting a common understanding of what the security issues are. And extending that framework to other countries to other types of services is going to be incredibly important for us. And so obviously, I'm spending a lot of time here at home, making sure that America leads the world in 5g but it's also important to hear from our partners around the world to see how they're thinking about the issues.

 
Gary Shapiro 

When you say America leads the world in 5g. Do you mean in terms of deployment or do you mean in terms of innovation?

 
Ajit Pai 

I think both. I think one goes with the other The networks don't exist in a vacuum, we want them to exist as a platform for all kinds of innovation. And to me at least, I still remember very vividly the introduction of the iPhone and 4g LTE in the late 2000s, the first part of the decade of the century and the mobile app economy, as we know, it now was just an incredible explosion of job creation and economic growth and innovation that benefited American consumers and 5g, if anything could be even more transformative.

 
Gary Shapiro 

So when you look at companies like Nokia, and Ericsson, which are European, pretty much the do you view them as like that's a security risk or when you say American needs to lead? Let's be honest, there's not that many counterparts to those companies out there. So how does that work? So how do we deploy quickly without, right those type of companies?

 
Ajit Pai 

So certainly when I say we want to leave what I'm talking about in terms of deployment and innovation, okay, but you're correct that there's no American based supplier of equipment as we currently conceive it, but one of the very interesting things is that people are innovating. Here in the United States and in other parts of the world to virtualize the radio access networks and other parts of the 5g infrastructure. I mentioned recently I was in Japan, one of the companies I met with was racket, and that is working on virtualized 5g infrastructure. And there are some very innovative American companies as well. I just met recently with lt a star, a Boston based company that is looking to pioneer that software layer innovation that will allow us essentially to bypass some of the security problems we've seen with a full stack solution that is presented by some of the other vendors, and also would decrease the cost element for building a broadband network, a 5g network dramatically. And if you think about it, software is one of the things that America has traditionally LED on. I mean, we really do have the lead in terms of software innovation, using the software layer to address not just as a security risks, but also the cost element of the cost problem for 5g networks, I think is a win for everybody.

 
Gary Shapiro 

So what would you describe as a stretch goal for the United States for 5g deployment in the next five to 10 years?

 
Ajit Pai 

5 to 10 is an exceptionally long Long time horizon, but, but I would say making sure that the supply spectrum continues to meet consumer demand, making sure that companies continue to deploy small cells at a rapid pace when I got this office for,

 
Gary Shapiro 

Could you give me numbers?

 
Ajit Pai 

It's difficult to say I mean, because it's not a linear growth pattern. But for example, when I got an office, we had something like 13,000 small cells in this country, we now have 200,000. And growing, we would like to see that grow, obviously, to meet the needs of wireless consumers everywhere, especially in rural areas. So that's one of the metrics we would look at fiber deployment is going to be critical. Look, we're a very big country, geographically, very diverse demographically. And I don't want fiber to be the bottleneck for some of the 5g infrastructure, 5g networks that need to be built. And so we need to make sure that fiber penetration is much deeper. How do we do that? A few different tools in the toolbox and one is making it cheaper and easier for companies to get access to utility poles and make it easier for companies to relax their investments and copper infrastructure and focus their investments on fiber, making it easier for company needs to participate in our rural broadband programs Universal Service Fund in particular, one of the innovations I pioneered a couple of years ago was allowing non traditional players to enter this space, in particular electric utilities, these companies have come off and cooperatives have a extremely deep footprint across the American populace. And so it only makes sense to encourage them to participate in our USF programs to enable them to string fiber on those utility poles. And so, frankly, we don't care what company is trying to pioneer fiber deployment. We want all of them to have a full and fair chance to compete.

 
Gary Shapiro 

So one of the we rank as an organization, each state by how innovation friendly they are, and we announced our results this morning.

 
Ajit Pai 

I'm sure Kansas is number one. Yes.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Well, that's one of the criteria we look at a lot of different things that states do into and a lot of them have to do with friendliness towards new types of technology like self driving cars, drones, other things like that, but we've added 5g for the first time. One of the concerns we have is it some localities are resisting 5g because There's some aesthetic purposes, perhaps or others. What role is the FCC play there?

 
Ajit Pai 

Here we have adopted a pretty basic philosophy is that we want to see a consistent, easy to understand set of regulations that anybody can innovate around. And you shouldn't have to be able to guess. If you're setting up a small cell, for example, in Oregon, what the FCC is going to say what the Oregon Public Utility Commission is going to say what this particular city might say, what any number of Indian tribes might say, you want to be able to have a consistent level of regulations. So what we've tried to do is to build on some of the progress that 28 very forward thinking states have done in setting up small scale legislation, creating a unified framework, because ultimately, we recognize that the more disparate these regulations are, the less likely it is that companies especially smaller companies, with with limited capital, and fewer compliance resources are going to be able to build these 5g networks and so we're going to continue that work. In 2020, looking at section 6409, which is a part of the law that was passed many years ago to encourage the approval of state and local, citing applications and the like. But this is one of this is going to be one of the roadblocks. I consistently hear it not just here, but around the world, that it's not just the national government that regulates in this area. It's many other layers of government. And that's not something that is conducive, I don't think to infrastructure investment in this area.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Well, you've been a strong and effective FCC Chairman, this is this is an election year. And you know, there could be someone else getting ready to enter the White House next year or it could be President Trump again, either way. Yeah. What is it you want to accomplish in the next 12 months?

 
Ajit Pai 

Well, we have a lot on the plate 5g, of course that continue to execute on the 5g fast plan that continuing close the digital divide, pursuing some of the other initiatives that I talked about, including Wi Fi six in the like, but one that I'll mention, which I understand is not going to make the show floor and might not be on the front minds, in front of the mind of many people. is a 988 we recently proposed to set up 988 is a national hotline for suicide prevention and mental health. And this is something that matters to me a lot. It is not a stranger to me, has affected my family and me personally. And one of the things I would like to be able to deliver on in the memory of those who've been suffering, and those who've unfortunately died by suicide, is making sure that anybody who was out there struggling in this country will one day be able to access the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is doing great work now. But they'll be able to have an easy to remember three digit number so that they don't take that step in those moments when they feel like they're alone. And again, I know it's not 5g or a whiz bang device, but to me, at least, I would love to be able to see a day when any American is able to get the help that he or she needs.

 
Gary Shapiro 

So what does it take to get there? Thank you. That's that's definitely worthy of obviously very laudable but what what is the impediment to getting to that what for those of us that don't understand or know, what is it you have to do? And who would oppose that? Or how does that work?

 
Ajit Pai 

So we've proposed recently and this is another proposal you can see on our website, number one, designate 988 as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, so we're taking comments on that. We're also looking at some of the technical issues. How would phone companies have to reconfigure their networks in order to direct a call that is dialing 988 to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline? So there's many steps that have to be thought about there we what is the cost of doing it, what network architecture needs to be changed, or tweaks in the like, and so there are a bunch of issues that we're working on, but I can't say enough how much I appreciate some of the supporters we've had from center stone to the National Center of behavioral health, Veterans Affairs Department, a samsa, which is a part of the HHS that focuses on suicide prevention. I've just been amazed how many people come out of the woodwork and have emailed or tweeted or otherwise privately told me yet look, this is one of the most important things you can do. And I think there are a lot of people who for many years, and we Fathers our culture and not advanced to the point where this is an issue that can be discussed openly. And I'm proud to say that in 2020, we have reached the point where we recognize it's a national issue and that people need to know they're not alone when they're struggling.

 
Gary Shapiro 

That's a very noble cause. I just want to get two quick things out before we end. Number one, something that I think everyone here probably has been frustrated by is phone spam, or whatever you want to call us. Is that your number one complaint that the FCC

 
Ajit Pai 

It is the city has been consistently our top consumer protection priority that getting rid of these unwanted robo calls. And that's one of the reasons why I'm grateful that Congress recently passed the tray stack and why we have been pulling out all the stops, making it easier to block robo calls by default using analytics snackable reassigned numbers database, I've demanded the major phone companies implement the shaken store caller ID authentication framework. Going after the robo callers that the people who are unleashing these robo calls on us it's a it's a scourge to anybody with a smartphone. If whenever you hear that phone ring or you see it vibrate with a number that isn't registered. You have to do that quick mental calculus. Okay, is this somebody who really wants to reach me a local pharmacy? Or is it a message in Chinese or new vacation? I have one from Marriott. And that's not the kind of thing that American consumers want to have to deal with. And I, this drives me crazy is consumer, not just as a regulator, so much more to come and 2020. Right.

 
Gary Shapiro 
Well, I appreciate that, as I'm sure everyone else does, because that's a scourge.
 
Gary Shapiro 
One final question. You are strong and articulate. As of next week, you'll have visited 49 states. I know if I asked you What's your dream job? You'll say you have it but I imagined is another dream job in your future. Does it involve politics and running for office?
 
Ajit Pai 
Well, what I will say about that is I've only voice to another person. One time
 
Gary Shapiro 

It's just between you and me. Yeah, no.

 
Ajit Pai 

Of course it's not gonna be live streamed right the internet having ended a few years ago, but so the one person I told about my ultimate ambition was Judge Judy, when I visited her, okay, I told her if you ever leave this job, I would love to dawn the robe and sit on the highest court in the land. I it's just an incredible vantage point to see human nature playing out in case by case and so

 
Gary Shapiro 

So you want to be a Supreme Court justice?

 
Ajit Pai 

will no, no, no, the highest court in the world...

 
Gary Shapiro 

I didn't mean to step on your line. But

 
Ajit Pai 

look, I'm I've really enjoyed the privilege of serving this position. It's been a great three years I have the honor of working with the greatest workforce that any agency head could ever ask for. I have the chance to work in such a technologically dynamic field that we're

 
Gary Shapiro 

in clearly you're very uncomfortable with it.

 
Ajit Pai 

Oh, no, I love it. I absolutely love it. And I love it. People in the real world and on Twitter and whatnot. Just enjoy some of these issues. And to me, I'm just having a great time and I'm so grateful to

 
Gary Shapiro 

everybody I know there is I should ask you in a year is what I'm hearing.

 
Ajit Pai 

Don't look I one thing I can tell you is I will not be playing for the Kansas City Chiefs this weekend. And that's all I can tell you my future plans.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Gentlemen, let's thank Chairman for his public service.

 
Ajit Pai 

Let's do it again next year.

 
Gary Shapiro 

Yeah, hope you come back. Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen. I hope you enjoyed this session.

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