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FCC Chairman Pai on funding telehealth, 5G and the digital divide

Over the past four year, the Federal Communications Commission has made headlines over voting to repeal net neutrality rules, has pushed Congress for more funding for broadband expansion and has faced the ire of lawmakers who said the FCC should do more to assist low-income Americans to have digital access. The agency’s chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican appointed to the FCC in 2011 by President Barack Obama has also been vocal about the role telehealth played during the pandemic.

Modern Healthcare technology reporter Jessica Kim Cohen caught up with Pai to talk about challenges and opportunities for the agency’s connected healthcare work in 2021, closing the digital divide for internet access—increasingly considered a social determinant of health—and why he hopes to continue working on telehealth issues. The following is an edited transcript.

Modern Healthcare: We’ve seen a rapid rise in telehealth use amid COVID-19. From your vantage point, what was

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