Ajit Pai just stacked the FCC’s advisory panel with dingo babysitters from big telcomsOn August 11, 2017 by Kenna
Only two people on the 30-seat FCC advisory panel come from city governments and have experience overseeing telcoms regulation; the other 28 members are executives, consultants, lobbyists and think-tankies from the telcoms sectors.
Instead the FCC loaded the 30-member panel with corporate executives, trade groups and free-market scholars. More than three out of four seats on the BDAC are filled by business-friendly representatives from the biggest wireless and cable companies such as AT&T Inc., Comcast Corp., Sprint Corp., and TDS Telecom. Crown Castle International Corp., the nation’s largest wireless infrastructure company, and Southern Co., the nation’s second-largest utility firm, have representatives on the panel. Also appointed to the panel were broadband experts from conservative think tanks who have been critical of FCC regulations such as the International Center for Law and Economics and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
The same lopsided ratio can be found on the BDAC’s four working groups that will propose changes to telecommunications policies that Pai views as barriers to broadband deployment. The municipal working group, with 24 members, is tasked with creating a model code for cities to follow that would expedite the deployment of cells and poles. The groups consist of BDAC members as well as additional people the FCC appointed, mostly from the telecommunications industry.
The FCC says the makeup of the BDAC and its subgroups represents a diversity of views and those who best understand the issues. But local officials say their exclusion from the committee reflects a not-so-hidden agenda—one pushed by Pai himself with help from his allies in Big Telecom: to create a set of rules that lets the telecom more easily put their equipment in neighborhoods with far less local oversight.
Almost All of FCC’s New Advisory Panel Works for Telecoms
[Blake Dodge/The Daily Beast]
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