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Ajit Pai channels Ricky Bobby on 5G: ‘If you ain’t first, you’re last’

The FCC Chairman continued to quote Talladega Nights: “Hot, nasty, bad-ass speed”

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina–U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai–the guy appointed to oversee telecom- and communications-related policy decisions for the entire country–made incredibly topical and relevant remarks about 5G at the Connect X event that were largely borrowed from the Will Ferrell film “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.”

Hosted by the Wireless Infrastructure Association, Connect X is being held in Charlotte, NC, a state with a long history of NASCAR racing, which Pai apparently embraced. “Some say that there is a race to 5G,” he said. “Being here in NASCAR country, I couldn’t help but think of one of my favorite philosophers, Ricky Bobby.” Who said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last. We need to be aggressive in our policy decisions.”

Pai discussed the need for massive investment in network densification, largely based on small cell deployments, and highlighted FCC decisions that streamline the deployment process by removing environmental assessment, historical preservation and other policy guidelines.

Pai came back to the 2006 film directed by Adam McKay, which he characterized as a “cinematic classic,” quoting actor Gary Cole, who played Ricky Bobby’s father Reese Bobby. “You’ve got to learn to drive with a fear and there ain’t nothing more frightening than driving with a live cougar in the car.” The quote is apt, Pai said. “The path to 5G is fast-paced and it is volatile. Simply coasting along the road is not an option. If we do rise to the challenge, we can ensure” U.S. leadership in 5G.

“Wow,” WIA President Jonathan Adelstein said following Pai’s remarks; he lauded the FCC’s work to facilitate faster, lower cost deployment of wireless infrastructure.

Pai did not address ongoing legislative action to undo the FCC’s decision to kill net neutrality or take any questions from the audience.

Editor’s note: This is a real thing that actually happened. 






Sean Kinney, Editor in Chief
Sean Kinney, Editor in Chief
Sean focuses on multiple subject areas including 5G, Open RAN, hybrid cloud, edge computing, and Industry 4.0. He also hosts Arden Media's podcast Will 5G Change the World? Prior to his work at RCR, Sean studied journalism and literature at the University of Mississippi then spent six years based in Key West, Florida, working as a reporter for the Miami Herald Media Company. He currently lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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