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First on CNBC: CNBC Transcript: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Speaks with CNBC’s “Closing Bell” Today

WHEN: Today, Wednesday, April 26th

WHERE: CNBC's "Closing Bell"

Following is the unofficial transcript of a FIRST ON CNBC interview with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on CNBC's "Closing Bell" (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET) today, Wednesday, April 26th. Following is a link to the interview on CNBC.com: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000613533.

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

SARA EISEN: PRESIDENT TRUMP'S FCC CHAIRMAN PROPOSING A REVERSAL FOR INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS TODAY CHANGING THEM FROM UTILITY LIKE TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES TO INFORMATION SERVICE PROVIDERS. IT IS A CLASSIFICATION ISPS HAD TILL 2015 THE SWITCHBACK WOULD LEAVE ISPS WITH FEDERAL OVERSIGHT DESIGNED TO ENSURE THAT ALL ONLINE CONTENT IS TREATED THE SAME BY THE COMPANIES THAT DELIVER BROADBAND SERVICE TO AMERICANS. IT IS TECHINCAL.

GRIFFETH: IT IS HIGHLY TECHINCAL BUT IT HAS BEEN VERY CONTENTIOUS AT THE SAME TIME AND JOINING US NOW IN A FIRST ON CNBC INTERVIEW WE WELCOME BACK FCC CHAIRMAN AJIT PAI. MR CHAIRMAN GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN WELCOME BACK.

AJIT PAI: GREAT TO BE WITH YOU.

GRIFFETH: I CAN IMAGINE, YOU'VE JUST BEEN WAITING, BIDING YOUR TIME UNTIL YOU COULD REVERSE THE NET NEUTRALITY RULES IMPOSED TWO YEARS AGO, YES?

PAI: WELL, NOT SO MUCH BIDING MY TIME BUT TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THE RIGHT WAY FORWARD IS FOR AMERICANS ONLINE, AND TO ME, AT LEAST, IF WE WANT TO PRIORITIZE INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT, WE WANT MORE COMPETITION IN THE BROADBAND MARKETPLACE, IF WE WANT TO GIVE MORE CONSUMERS BETTER, FASTER, CHEAPER INTERNET, GETTING RID OF THESE HEAVY-HANDED ECONOMIC REGULATIONS INSPIRED IN THE GREAT DEPRESSION IS THE WAY TO DO IT.

EISEN: BUT AS CONSUMER WE ALSO DON'T WANT SOME OF THE INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS, AT&T, OUR PARENT COMPANY COMCAST TO BLOCK WEB TRAFFIC OR SLOW IT DOWN OR CHARGE HIGHER RATES. SO HOW DO YOU ANSWER SOME OF THOSE CONSUMER CONCERNS THAT FELT PROTECTED BY THESE NET NEUTRALITY RULES?

PAI: I COULDN'T AGREE WITH THEM MORE. THE BEST EVIDENCE THAT A LIGHT TOUCH REGULATORY FRAMEWORK THAT STARTED IN THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION WORKS IS THAT WE DIDN'T SEE COMPANIES BLOCKING ACCESS TO LAWFUL CONTENT IN THE 20 YEARS PRIOR TO THE FCC'S IMPOSITION OF THESE RULES IN 2015. GOING FORWARD, I HAVE LAID OUT AN AGGRESSIVE AGENDA FOR INCENTIVIZING MORE COMPETITORS, MORE SMALLER COMPANIES TO ENTER THE MARKETPLACE, TO DEPLOY INFRASTRUCTURE. THAT'S THE BEST WAY I THINK TO PROMOTE CONSUMER WELFARE, NOT PREEMPTIVE RULES THAT PRESUME EVERY SINGLE COMPANY IS INCOMPETITIVE MONOPOLIST.

SANTOLI: WHAT WOULD BE SOME OF THE EXAMPLES, IF YOU CAN GET SPECIFIC ABOUT WHAT YOU CONSIDER OUTDATED RULES THAT ARE CREATING THESE UNECONOMIC SITUATIONS WITH SOME OF THE COMPETITION HERE, AND IT IS RETARDING INNOVATION? A LOT OF PEOPLE SEE IT AS ALREADY BEING A BIT OF A FREE-FOR-ALL WITH SOME OF THE LEGACY COMPANIES FEELING THEY HAVE TO MOVE FAST TO KEEP UP.

PAI: JUST GIVE YOU ONE EXAMPLE. THE FCC HAS A LOT OF RULES ON THE BOOKS THAT REQUIRE TELEPHONE COMPANIES TO MAINTAIN THEIR COPPER LINE NETWORKS ALMOST AT ALL COSTS. IT MAKES IT REALLY DIFFICULT FOR THEM TO UPGRADE. WHEN I TALK TO CONSUMERS THEY WANT MORE FIBER AND NEXT GENERATION TECHNOLOGY DEPLOYED TO THEIR HOMES. BY DEFINITION, EVERY SINGLE DOLLAR THE COMPANY HAS TO SPEND MAINTAINING YESTERDAY'S FADING NETWORKS IS BY DEFINITION A DOLLAR THEY CAN'T SPEND LAYING FIBER AND TOMORROW'S TECHNOLOGY. THAT'S ONE OF THE MANY EXAMPLES WE'RE TRYING TO ADDRESS DURING MY TIME AS CHAIRMAN.

GRIFFETH: WHAT'S THE TIMELINE HERE? WHEN DO YOU HOPE, EXPECT TO BEGIN THE PROCESS OF ROLLING THAT BACK?

PAI: WE WILL BE VOTING ON WHAT IS CALLED NOTICE OF RULE MAKING ON GET RID OF SO CALLED TITLE 2 ON MAY 18th. THEN IN THE COMING MONTH THE PUBLIC WILL HAVE A CHANCE TO COMMENT ON THE PROPOSAL, AND AT SOME POINT AFTER THAT WE WILL TAKE STOCK OF WHAT'S IN THE RECORD AND MAKE THE APPROPRIATE DECISION FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

EISEN: HAVE YOU TALKED TO FACEBOOK ABOUT THIS OR GOOGLE OR SOME OF THE OTHER BIG TECHNOLOGY INTERNET SITES THAT ARE ON THE OTHER END OF THIS?

PAI: I HAVE. JUST LAST WEEK I WAS IN SILICON VALLEY, I SPOKE WITH FACEBOOK, A LOT OF INTERNET COMPANIES THAT ARE THE PRIDE AND JOY OF THE INTERNET ECONOMY, AND RIGHTLY SO. WHAT I TOLD THEM IS WHAT I'LL TELL YOU, IS THAT ALL OF US BELIEVE IN THE FREE AND OPEN INTERNET. IT HAS BEEN GOOD FOR EVERYBODY. THE INTERNET ECONOMY FROM ENTREPRENUERS TO CONSUMERS. WE DON'T WANT IS HEAVY-HANDED REGULATION STANDING IN THE WAY OF BUILDING NEXT GENERATION NETWORKS. HOW TO PRESERVE THOSE VALUES GOING FORWARD IS SOMETHING I'M GOING TO BE KEENLY FOCUS ON.

GRIFFETH: SPEAKING OF FACEBOOK, ON ANOTHER TOPIC HERE, YOU KNOW, LATELY -- I MEAN WE ALL KNOW THAT LIVE VIDEO IS BECOMING VERY POPULAR AND IT IS A GROWTH AREA FOR A LOT OF THESE SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES, BUT WE'VE SEEN SOME HORRIBLE THINGS ON THESE VIDEOS RECENTLY, MURDERS AND SUICIDES AND THINGS. DO YOU EVEN HAVE JURISDICTION OVER THAT? IF YOU DO, WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT THAT TO TRY TO CONTROL WHAT THESE LIVE VIDEOS THAT COME FROM THE GRASSROOTS?

PAI: THESE ARE REALLY DISTRESSING CASES. JUST YESTERDAY I READ A STORY ABOUT A FATHER IN THAILAND WHO FILMED HIMSELF DROPPING HIS INFANT DAUGHTER FROM A MULTI-STORY BUILDING. IT WAS REALLY DISTRESSING. AS A REGULATOR WE DON'T HAVE JURISDICTION AT THE FCC TO TELL FACEBOOK WHAT IT CAN AND CAN'T BROADCAST. THAT'S SOMETHING THAT'S BEYOND THE SCOPE OF OUR AUTHORITY.

EISEN: AND YOUR DEREGULATION PUSH, EVERYBODY IS WONDERING WHAT THE DEAL ENVIRONMENT WILL LOOK LIKE, THE SPECTRUM AUCTIONS ARE FINALLY UP, A DEADLINE FOR DEAL NEGOTIATIONS FOR THE TELECOM GIANTS CAN START THURSDAY EVENING. I KNOW YOU CAN'T COMMENT SPECIFICALLY ON THAT, BUT PART OF THE ASSUMPTION IS IT WILL BE A MUCH FRIENDLIER ADMINISTRATION WHEN IT COMES TO ALLOWING DEALS, ANTITRUST AND THE FCC IS THAT TRUE?

PAI: I CAN'T TELL YOU THAT SPECULATION MIGHT BE OUT THERE. BUT WHAT I CAN TELL YOU IS THAT MY CONSISTENT VIEW HAS BEEN THAT THE FCC SHOULD EVALUATE ANY TRANSACTION THAT COMES BEFORE US BASED ON THE PUBLIC INTEREST STANDARD. IF IT IS GOOD FOR CONSUMERS AND COMPETITION, WE WILL APPROVE IT. IF IT IS NOT, WE WON'T. THAT'S SOMETHING THAT IS HIGHLY FACT SPECIFIC-- WE NEED TO SEE THE PAPERS IN FRONT OF US AND LOOK AT THE ECONOMICS AND THE LAW AND MAKE THE APPROPRIATE DECISION. HERE IN THE VACUUM I CAN'T TELL YOU ONE WAY OR THE OTHER HOW WE MIGHT COME OUT IN ANY GIVEN TRANSACTION OR SERIES OF DEALS THAT MIGHT BE PRESENTED.

SANTOLI: WOULD A COMPANY, A BROADBAND PROVIDER THAT OWNED A CONTENT BUSINESS, WEIGHTING THAT PROPRIETARY CONTENT AT ZERO AND BEING GOOD FOR CUSTOMERS, IS THAT SOMETHING THAT WOULD BE ALONG THE LINES OF WHAT YOU THINK IS DESIRABLE?

PAI: IT DEPENDS ON THE FACTS OF THE PARTICULAR CASE SO I CAN'T SPECULATE. AGAIN, IF I WERE PRESENTED WITH A TRANSACTION THAT INVOLVED QUESTIONS LIKE THAT, I TAKE A FAIR AND FULL VIEW OF THE ISSUE, LET THE RECORD DEVELOP, LET PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES HAVE THEIR INPUT AND THEN ADMINISTER THE LAW AS BEST I CAN.

GRIFFETH: ALL RIGHT. MR. CHAIRMAN, GOOD TO SEE YOU. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME. APPRECIATE IT VERY MUCH.

PAI: THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

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