Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve a Fourth Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration, Memorandum Opinion and Order, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and Notice of Inquiry that would immediately eliminate affordable broadband choices for residents living on Tribal lands, and begin consideration of proposals that amount to an unprecedented rollback of America’s longstanding commitment to universal service and affordable basic telecommunications services for low-income families.
Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve a Report and Order, Declaratory Ruling, and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order to roll back consumer protections established in the agency’s 2015 Technology Transitions Order.
Today, Public Knowledge joined Communications Workers of America and 20 rural, consumer, civil rights, labor, and other groups in a letter urging Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to retain the agency’s tech transitions rules that protect consumers while providers like Verizon transition from copper to fiber networks. The agency plans to roll back these consumer protections on November 16, effectively downgrading rural America.
On his very first day as the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai dedicated himself to closing the digital divide and to “work to bring the benefits of the digital age to all Americans.” Sounds promising for America, right? Unfortunately, Chairman Pai hasn’t followed through with this promise. Instead, the Trump-appointed FCC Chairman has rubberstamped the elimination of several policies and protections that are critical to closing the digital divide.
In April of this year, the Federal Communications Commission began a wireline infrastructure proceeding designed to accelerate broadband deployment. The proceeding contains multiple proposals to remove barriers to broadband deployment and infrastructure, such as reforming pole attachment rates and preempting state and local laws. Buried within these proposals is a plan to eliminate “tech transitions” rules, which outline the responsibilities of phone carriers when they choose to retire copper networks or discontinue service.