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Indian-American Ajit Pai may be head US Communication commission

Currently, the FCC is headed by Tom Wheeler, a nominee of the Democratic Party, and a change in leadership is due with the election of Trump

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New York, Jan 19, 2017: Ajit Pai, a commissioner in the US communications regulatory agency, has met President-elect Donald Trump amid speculation that he could head the body that deals with cellphone spectrum and broadcasting.

Trump’s spokesperson Sean Spicer said on Tuesday that the meeting with Pai, who is the Republican nominee on the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), took place on Monday.

Currently, the FCC is headed by Tom Wheeler, a nominee of the Democratic Party, and a change in leadership is due with the election of Trump.

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The position of FCC chairman has to be approved by the Senate.

The FCC is the federal authority regulating radio, television, phone, cellphone spectrum and services, internet and satellite and cable.

Pai, whose parents are doctors who immigrated from India, is a lawyer and has served with the government, Congress and the private sector.

A free enterprise advocate in the Republican mould, he has been a critic of the functioning of the FCC and has clashed with its leadership.

Recently, he took issue with an FCC report that questioned the legality of offerings that are used by people to access online music, videos, and other content free of charge.

Trump has nominated two Indian-Americans to high-level positions: Nikki Haley as the Cabinet-level Ambassador to the United Nations, and Seema Verma as the head of the agency for government health insurance programmes.

In addition, Trump has appointed Raj Shah as his deputy assistant and research director on the White House staff.

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Another Indian American, Balaji Srinivasan, met Trump last week and Spicer said that he was under consideration for a role at the the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).

Srinivasan is a technology entrepreneur who has founded a biotech company and has been critical of the links between large pharmaceutical companies and the FDA and the agency’s reach that he asserted stifles tech innovations.

He currently heads a start-up that deals with bitcoin, the internet-based currency. (IANS)

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Facebook Is Planning To launch It’s Own Satellite ‘ATHENA’

A high altitude platform station (HAPS) system, Aquila's mission, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, was to connect the world and help people who do not have online access all the opportunities of the Internet.

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Facebook is working on launching Athena, its own Internet satellite, early in 2019, the WIRED reported. Pixabay

 As part of its plan to connect billions of people who are still offline, Facebook is working on launching Athena, its own Internet satellite, early in 2019, the WIRED reported.

According to an application Facebook appears to have filed with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under the name PointView Tech LLC, the project is designed to “efficiently provide broadband access to unserved and underserved areas throughout the world,” the report said on Friday.

Facebook, however, is not alone in aiming to increase Internet accessibility through satellites in low Earth orbit. Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Softbank-backed OneWeb are two other prominent names who have similar ambitions.

Facebook also confirmed that Athena is their project, according to the report in the WIRED.

“While we have nothing to share about specific projects at this time, we believe satellite technology will be an important enabler of the next generation of broadband infrastructure, making it possible to bring broadband connectivity to rural regions where Internet connectivity is lacking or non-existent,” a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying in a statement.

Facebook
The project is designed to “efficiently provide broadband access to unserved and underserved areas throughout the world,” the report said on Friday. Pixabay

While Facebook had long expressed its cherished goal of connecting billions of underserved people around the world, it has not had much success with two earlier projects.

In June, Facebook announced it decided to abandon its plan to develop high-flying solar-powered drones called Aquila that was aimed to deliver Internet to nearly four billion people in remote parts of the world.

A high altitude platform station (HAPS) system, Aquila’s mission, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, was to connect the world and help people who do not have online access all the opportunities of the Internet.

Facebook began Aquila project in 2014. In 2017, the solar-powered drone successfully completed the second full-scale test flight.

The social network also discontinued in 2017 a small helicopter drone project that could temporarily replace cellular services in emergency situations, The Verge reported.

Also Read-Facebook’s Helicopter Drone Project Got Grounded: Report

The idea was to send a helicopter equipped with telecommunications equipment hundreds of metres up in the air to be able to tether to fibre and power lines in places where wireless capacity was compromised due to disaster or other factors. (IANS)