The following statement can be downloaded here.
FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn:
I dissent. I dissent from this fiercely-spun, legally-lightweight, consumer-harming, corporate-enabling Destroying Internet Freedom Order.
I dissent, because I am among the millions who is outraged. Outraged, because the FCC pulls its own teeth, abdicating responsibility to protect the nation’s broadband consumers. Why are we witnessing such an unprecedented groundswell of public support, for keeping the 2015 net neutrality protections in place? Because the public can plainly see, that a soon-to-be-toothless FCC, is handing the keys to the Internet – the Internet, one of the most remarkable, empowering, enabling inventions of our lifetime – over to a handful of multi-billion dollar corporations. And if past is prologue, those very same broadband internet service providers, that the majority says you should trust to do right by you, will put profits and shareholder returns above, what is best for you.
Each of us raised our right hands when we were sworn in as FCC Commissioners, took an oath and promised to uphold our duties and responsibilities ‘to make available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States, without discrimination… a rapid, efficient, Nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges.’ Today the FCC majority officially abandons that pledge and millions have taken note.
I do not believe that there are any FCC or Congressional offices immune to the deluge of consumer outcry. We are even hearing about state and local offices fielding calls and what is always newsworthy is that at last count, five Republican Members of Congress went on the record in calling for a halt of today’s vote. Why such a bipartisan outcry? Because the large majority of Americans are in favor of keeping strong net neutrality rules in place. The sad thing about this commentary, it pains me to say, is what I can only describe as the new norm at the FCC: A majority that is ignoring the will of the people. A majority that will stand idly by while the people they serve lose.
We have heard story after story of what net neutrality means to consumers and small businesses from places as diverse as Los Angeles’ Skid Row and Marietta, Ohio. I hold in my hand letters that plead with the FCC to keep our net neutrality rules in place but what is striking and in keeping with the new norm, despite the millions of comments, letters, and calls received, this Order cites, not even one. That speaks volumes about the direction the FCC is heading. That speaks volumes about just who is being heard.
Sole proprietors, whose entire business model, depends on an open internet, are worried that the absence of clear and enforceable net neutrality protections will result in higher costs and fewer benefits because you see: they are not able to pay tolls for premium access. Even large online businesses have weighed in, expressing concern about being subject to added charges as they simply try to reach their own customers. Engineers have submitted comments including many of the internet’s pioneers, sharing with the FCC majority, the fundamentals of how the internet works because from where they sit, there is no way that an item like this would ever see the light of day, if the majority understood the platform some of them helped to create.
I have heard from innovators, worried that we are standing up a mother-may-I regime, where the broadband provider becomes arbiter of acceptable online business models. And yes, I have heard from consumers, who are worried given that their broadband provider has already shown that they will charge inscrutable below-the-line fees, raise prices unexpectedly, and put consumers on hold for hours at a time. Who will have their best interests at heart in a world without clear and enforceable rules overseen by an agency with clear enforcement authority? A toothless FCC?
There has been a darker side to all of this over the past few weeks. Threats and intimidation. Personal attacks. Nazis cheering. Russian influence. Fake comments. Those are unacceptable. Some are illegal. They all are to be rejected. But what is also not acceptable, is the FCC’s refusal to cooperate with state attorney general investigations, or allow evidence in the record that would undercut a preordained outcome.
Many have asked, what happens next? How will all of this – Net Neutrality, my internet experience, look after today? My answer is simple. When the current protections are abandoned, and the rules that have been officially in place since 2015 are repealed, we will have a Cheshire cat version of net neutrality. We will be in a world where regulatory substance fades to black, and all that is left is a broadband provider’s toothy grin and those oh so comforting words: we have every incentive to do the right thing. What they will soon have, is every incentive to do their own thing.
Now the results of throwing out your Net Neutrality protections, may not be felt right away. Most of us will get up tomorrow morning and over the next week, wade through hundreds of headlines, turn away from those endless prognosticators, and submerge ourselves in a sea of holiday bliss. But what we have wrought will one day be apparent and by then, when you really see what has changed, I fear, it may not only be too late to do anything about it, because there will be no agency empowered to address your concerns. This item insidiously ensures the FCC will never be able to fully grasp the harm it may have unleashed on the internet ecosystem. And that inability might lead decisionmakers to conclude, that the next internet startup that failed to flourish and attempted to seek relief, simply had a bad business plan, when in fact what was missing was a level playing field online.
Particularly damning is what today’s repeal will mean for marginalized groups, like communities of color, that rely on platforms like the internet to communicate, because traditional outlets do not consider their issues or concerns, worthy of any coverage. It was through social media that the world first heard about Ferguson, Missouri, because legacy news outlets did not consider it important until the hashtag started trending. It has been through online video services, that targeted entertainment has thrived, where stories are finally being told because those same programming were repeatedly rejected by mainstream distribution and media outlets. And it has been through secure messaging platforms, where activists have communicated and organized for justice without gatekeepers with differing opinions blocking them.
Where will the next significant attack on internet freedom come from? Maybe from a broadband provider allowing its network to congest, making a high-traffic video provider ask what more can it pay to make the pain stop. That will never happen you say? Well it already has. The difference now, is the open question of what is stopping them? The difference after today’s vote, is that no one will be able to stop them.
Maybe several providers will quietly roll out paid prioritization packages that enable deep-pocketed players to cut the queue. Maybe a vertically-integrated broadband provider decides that it will favor its own apps and services. Or some high-value internet-of-things traffic will be subject to an additional fee. Maybe some of these actions will be cloaked under nondisclosure agreements and wrapped up in mandatory arbitration clauses so that it will be a breach of contract to disclose these publicly or take the provider to court over any wrongdoing. Some may say ‘Of Course this will never happen?” After today’s vote, what will be in place to stop them?
What we do know, is that broadband providers did not even wait for the ink to dry on this Order before making their moves. One broadband provider, who had in the past promised to not engage in paid prioritization, has now quietly dropped that promise from its list of commitments on its website. What’s next? Blocking or throttling? That will never happen? After today’s vote, exactly who is the cop of the beat that can or will stop them?
And just who will be impacted the most? Consumers and small businesses, that’s who. The internet continues to evolve and has become ever more critical for every participant in our 21st century ecosystem: government services have migrated online, as have educational opportunities and job notices and applications, but at the same time, broadband providers have continued to consolidate, becoming bigger. They own their own content, they own media companies, and they own or have an interest in other types of services.
Why are millions so alarmed? Because they understand the risks this all poses and even those who may not know what Title II authority is, know that they will be at risk without it.
I have been asking myself repeatedly, why the majority is so singularly-focused on overturning these wildly-popular rules? Is it simply because they felt that the 2015 Net Neutrality order, which threw out over 700 rules and dispensed with more than 25 provisions, was too heavy-handed? Is this a ploy to create a “need” for legislation where there was none before? Or is it to establish uncertainty where little previously existed?
Is it a tactic to undermine the net neutrality protections adopted in 2015 that are currently parked at the Supreme Court? You know, the same rules that were resoundingly upheld by the D.C. Circuit last year? No doubt, we will see a rush to the courthouse, asking the Supreme Court to vacate and remand the substantive rules we fought so hard for over the past few years, because today, the FCC uses legally-suspect means to clear the decks of substantive protections for consumers and competition.
It is abundantly clear why we see so much bad process with this item: because the fix was already in. There is no real mention of the thousands of net neutrality complaints filed by consumers. Why? The majority has refused to put them in the record while maintaining the rhetoric that there have been no real violations. Record evidence of the massive incentives and abilities of broadband providers to act in anti-competitive ways are missing from the docket? Why? Because they have refused to use the data and knowledge the agency does have, and has relied upon in the past to inform our merger reviews. As the majority has shown again and again, the views of individuals do not matter, including the views of those who care deeply about the substance, but are not Washington insiders.
There is a basic fallacy underlying the majority’s actions and rhetoric today: the assumption of what is best for broadband providers, is best for America. Breathless claims about unshackling broadband services from unnecessary regulation, are only about ensuring that broadband providers, have the keys to the internet. Assertions that this is merely a return to some imaginary status quo ante, cannot hide the fact, that this is the very first time, that the FCC, has disavowed substantive protections for consumers online.
And when the current, 2015 Net Neutrality rules are laid to waste, we may be left with no single authority with the power to protect consumers. Now this Order loudly crows about handing over authority of broadband to the FTC, but what is absent from the Order and glossed over in that haphazardly issued afterthought of a Memorandum of Understanding or MOU, is that the FTC is an agency, with no technical expertise in telecommunications; the FTC is an agency that may not even have authority over broadband providers in the first instance; the FTC is an agency that if you can even reach that high bar of proving unfair or deceptive practices and that there is substantial consumer injury, it will take years upon years to remedy. But don’t just take my word for it: even one of the FTC’s own Commissioners has articulated these very concerns. And if you’re wondering why the FCC is preempting state consumer protection laws in this item without notice, let me help you with a simple jingle that you can easily commit to memory: If it benefits industry, preemption is good; if it benefits consumers, preemption is bad.
Reclassification of broadband will do more than wreak havoc on net neutrality. It will also undermine our universal service construct for years to come, something which the Order implicitly acknowledges. It will undermine the Lifeline program. It will weaken our ability to support robust broadband infrastructure deployment. And what we will soon find out, is what a broadband market unencumbered by robust consumer protections will look like. I suspect the result will not be pretty.
I know there are many questions on the mind of Americans right now, including what the repeal of net neutrality will mean for them. To help answer outstanding questions I will host a town hall through Twitter next Tuesday at 2pm EST. What saddens me is that the agency that is supposed to protect you is abandoning you, but what I am pleased to be able to say is the fight to save net neutrality does not end today. This agency does not have, the final word. Thank goodness.
As I close my eulogy of our 2015 net neutrality rules, carefully crafted rules that struck an appropriate balance in providing consumer protections and enabling opportunities and investment, I take ironic comfort in the words of then Commissioner Pai from 2015, because I believe this will ring true about this Destroying Internet Freedom Order:
I am optimistic, that we will look back on today’s vote as an aberration, a temporary deviation from the bipartisan path, that has served us so well. I don’t know whether this plan will be vacated by a court, reversed by Congress, or overturned by a future Commission. But I do believe that its days are numbered.
Amen to that, Mr. Chairman. Amen to that.
The following was copied/pasted and then formatted on 9/14/17 from the real-time transcript at https://www.fcc.gov/general/live.
FCC STAFF: THE FOURTH ITEM ON YOUR AGENDA WILL BE PRESENTED BY THE WIRELINE COMPETITION BUREAU AND IS ENTITLED RESTORING INTERNET FREEDOM. KRIS MONTEITH, BUREAU CHIEF, WIRELINE COMPETITION BUREAU WILL GIVE THE INTRODUCTION.
CHAIRMAN PAI: WHENEVER YOU’RE READY, THE FLOOR IS YOURS.
FCC STAFF: THINK IT IS STILL GOOD MORNING SO GOOD MORNING CHAIRMAN AND COMMISSIONERS. THE WIRELINE COMPETITION BUREAU PRESENTS FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION A DECLARATORY RULING REPORT AND ORDER AND ORDER ON RESTORING INTERNET FREEDOM. THE ITEM WOULD ELIMINATE BURDENSOME REGULATIONS THAT STIFLE INNOVATION AS THE FIRST INVESTMENT AND EMPOWER AMERICANS TO CHOOSE THE BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS SERVICE THAT BEST FITS THEIR NEED. I WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE COMPETITION POLICY DIVISION TEAM FOR THEIR AMAZING WORK ON THIS PROCEEDING. WE ALSO RECEIVED INVALUABLE INPUT FROM OUR COLLEAGUES IN THE WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS BUREAU, CONSUMER AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS BUREAU, ENFORCEMENT, MEDIA AND PUBLIC SAFETY AND HOMELAND SECURITY BUREAU AS WELL AS FROM THE OFFICES OF GENERAL COUNSEL AND STRATEGIC PLANNING. SEATED AT THE TABLE WITH ME FROM THE WIRELINE COMPETITION BUREAU ARE MADELEINE FINDLEY, DEPUTY BUREAU CHIEF, ERIC RALPH, CHIEF ECONOMIST, DANIEL KAHN, DIVISION CHIEF, COMPETITION POLICY DIVISION, MELISSA KIRKEL, ASSISTANT DIVISION CHIEF, COMPETITION POLICY DIVISION, DEBORAH SALONS, ATTORNEY ADVISOR, COMPETITION POLICY DIVISION. JOINING ME AT THE TABLE FROM THE WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS BUREAU ARE DONALD STOCKDALE, BUREAU CHIEF, WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS BUREAU, NESE GUENDELSBERGER, DEPUTY BUREAU CHIEF, WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS BUREAU, JERRY ELLIG, CHIEF ECONOMIST, OFFICE OF STRATEGIC PLANNING. DEBORAH WILL NOW PRESENT THE ITEM.
FCC STAFF: GOOD MORNING MR. CHAIRMAN AND COMMISSIONER’S. THIS DECLARATORY RULING, REPORT AND ORDER AND ORDER TAKE SEVERAL ACTIONS TO RESTORE INTERNET FREEDOM. FIRST, THE DECLARATORY RULING RESTORES BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS SERVICE TO TITLE I INFORMATION SERVICE CLASSIFICATION. THE ITEM FINDS THAT RECLASSIFICATION AS AN INFORMATION SERVICE BEST COMPORTS WITH THE TEXT AND STRUCTURE OF THE COMMUNICATIONS ACT, SEND PRECEDENT AND THE POLICY OBJECTIVES. IN DOING SO THE ITEM ENDS HEAVY-HANDED UTILITY STYLE REGULATION OF THE INTERNET IN FAVOR OF A LIGHT TOUCH FRAMEWORK, WHICH WORKS FOR DECADES PRIOR TO 2015. THE DECLARATORY RULING ALSO REINSTATES THE PRIVATE MOBILE SERVICE CLASSIFICATION OF MOBILE BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS SERVICE AND RETURNS TO THE COMMISSION’S DEFINITION OF INTERCONNECTED SERVICE THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO 2015. THE ITEM RESTORES THE AUTHORITY OF THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION TO ENFORCE CONSUMER PROTECTION AND ANTITRUST LAWS. IT ALSO CLARIFIES THE EFFECTS OF THE RETURN TO AN INFORMATION SERVICE CLASSIFICATION AND OTHER REGULATORY FRAMEWORKS INCLUDING THE NEED TO APPLY A UNIFORM FEDERAL REGULATORY APPROACH TO INTERSTATE INFORMATION SERVICES LIKE BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS SERVICE. NEXT THE REPORT AND ORDER ADOPTS A TRANSPARENCY WORLD THAT WOULD REQUIRE YOUR INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS TO DISCLOSE INFORMATION ABOUT THEIR PRACTICES TO CONSUMERS ENTREPRENEURS AND SMALL BUSINESSES AND THE COMMISSION. HE RETURNS TO THE TRANSPARENCY ROSE THE COMMISSION ADOPTED IN 2010 WITH CERTAIN IMPROVEMENTS TO PROMOTE ADDITIONAL TRANSPARENCY. THE REPORT AND ORDER ALSO ELIMINATES THE CONDUCT RULES BASED ON THE EVIDENCE IT FINDS THAT THE RULES ARE UNNECESSARY BECAUSE THE TRANSPARENCY REQUIREMENTS TOGETHER WITH ANTITRUST AND CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWS ENSURES THAT INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS ENGAGING IN BEHAVIOR INCONSISTENT WITH AN OPEN INTERNET CAN BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE. THE ACTIONS TAKEN IN THIS ITEM WILL ADVANCE THE COMMISSION’S CRITICAL WORK TO PROMOTE BROADBAND DEPLOYMENT IN RURAL AMERICA AND INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT THROUGHOUT THE NATION. BRIGHTENING THE FUTURE OF INNOVATION BOTH WITHIN THAT WORK AND AT THEIR EDGE AND MOVE CLOSER TO THE GOAL OF ELIMINATING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE. THE BUREAU RECOMMENDS ADOPTION OF THIS DECLARATORY RULING, REPORT AND ORDER AND ORDER AND REQUEST EDITORIAL PRIVILEGES EXTENDING ONLY TO TECHNICAL AND CONFORMING EDITS. THANK YOU.
CHAIRMAN PAI: THANK YOU FOR THE PRESENTATION. WE NOW TURN TO COMMENTS FROM THE BENCH BEGINNING WITH COMMISSIONER CLYBURN.
COMMISSIONER CLYBURN: THANK YOU. BEFORE BEGINNING MY STATEMENT I WOULD LIKE TO NOTE THAT CONGRESSMAN JERRY MCNERNEY, A MEMBER OF THE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE THAT HAS OVERSIGHT OVER THIS AGENCY REQUESTED THE OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK TODAY. HE WAS DENIED, BUT I HAVE A COPY OF A STATEMENT THAT THE CONGRESSMAN WOULD HAVE DELIVERED HAD HE BEEN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY AND MR. CHAIRMAN, RESPECTFULLY I REQUEST YOU INCLUDE THIS IN THE OFFICIAL RECORD OF THIS PROCEEDING IF YOU WILL ALLOW.
CHAIRMAN PAI: WITHOUT OBJECTION.
THANK YOU. I DISSENT. I DISSENT SENT FROM THIS SPUN-LEGALLY, LIGHTWEIGHT, CONSUMER-HARMING, CORPORATE-ENABLING, DESTROYING-INTERNET FREEDOM ORDER.
I DISSENT BECAUSE I AM AMONG THE MILLIONS OUTRAGED, OUTRAGED BECAUSE THE FCC PULLS ITS OWN TEETH, ABDICATING ITS RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT THE NATIONS’ BROADBAND CONSUMERS. SOME MAY ASK WHY ARE WE WITNESSING SUCH UNPRECEDENTED GROUND SWELL OF PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR KEEPING THE 2015 NET NEUTRALITY PROTECTIONS IN PLACE? BECAUSE THE PUBLIC CAN PLAINLY SEE THAT A-SOON-TO-BE TOOTHLESS FCC IS HANDING THE KEYS TO THE INTERNET, TO ONE OF THE MOST REMARKABLE, EMPOWERING, ENABLING INVENTIONS OF OUR LIFETIME, OVER TO A HANDFUL OF MULTIBILLION-DOLLAR CORPORATIONS. AND IF PAST IS PROLOGUE, THOSE VERY SAME BROADBAND INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS THAT THE MAJORITY SAID YOU SHOULD TRUST TO DO RIGHT BY YOU WILL PUT PROFITS AND SHAREHOLDERS RETURNS ABOVE WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU.
EACH OF US RAISED OUR HANDS WHEN WE WERE SWORN IN AS FCC COMMISSIONERS. WE TOOK AN OATH AND PROMISED TO UPHOLD OUR DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES TO MAKE AVAILABLE SO FAR AS POSSIBLE TO ALL THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES WITHOUT DISCRIMINATION, A RAPID, EFFICIENT, NATIONWIDE AND WORLDWIDE WIRED AND RADIO COMMUNICATION SERVICE WITH ADEQUATE FACILITIES AND REASONABLE CHARGES. TODAY THE FCC MAJORITY IS ABOUT TO OFFICIALLY ABANDON THAT PLEDGE AND MILLIONS ARE WATCHING AND TAKING NOTE.
I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THERE ARE ANY FCC OR CONGRESSIONAL OFFICES IMMUNE TO THE DELUGE OF CONSUMER OUTCRIES. WE ARE EVEN HEARING ABOUT STATE AND LOCAL OFFICES FIELDING CALLS AND ONE IS NEWSWORTHY THAT AT LAST COUNT AND I THINK THE NUMBERS RISING, FIVE REPUBLICAN MEMBERS OF CONGRESS WENT ON THE RECORD IN CALLING FOR A HALT TO TODAY’S VOTE. WHY SUCH A BIPARTISAN OUTCRY? BECAUSE THE LARGE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS ARE IN FAVOR OF KEEPING STRONG NET NEUTRALITY RULES IN PLACE. BUT THE SADDEST PART TO ME ABOUT ALL OF THIS, AND IT’S PAINFUL FOR ME TO SAY THIS, THAT THIS IS THE NEW NORM AT THE FCC. A NORM WHERE THE MAJORITY IGNORES THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE. A NORM WHERE THE MAJORITY STANDS IDLY BY WHILE THE PEOPLE THEY ARE COMMITTED TO SERVE, THAT THEY’VE TAKEN AN OATH TO SERVE, ARE ABOUT TO LOSE SO MUCH.
WE HAVE HEARD STORY AFTER STORY ABOUT WHAT NET NEUTRALITY MEANS TO CONSUMERS AND SMALL BUSINESSES FROM PLACES AS DIVERSE AS LOS ANGELES SKID ROW TO MARIETTA OHIO. I HAVE HERE LETTERS THAT JUST WERE SENT TO ME THAT PLEAD WITH THE FCC TO KEEP OUR NET NEUTRALITY RULES IN PLACE. BUT WHAT IS STRIKING, AND IN KEEPING WITH THE NEW NORM, IS THAT DESPITE THE MILLIONS OF COMMENTS, LETTERS, AND CALLS RECEIVED, THIS ORDER NOT EVEN ONE. THAT SPEAKS VOLUMES ABOUT THE DIRECTION THE CURRENT MAJORITY IS HEADING — THIS FCC IS HEADING. AND THAT SPEAKS VOLUMES ABOUT JUST WHO IS BEING HEARD AT THE FCC.
SOLE PROPRIETORS WHOSE ENTIRE BUSINESS MODELS DEPEND ON AN OPEN INTERNET ARE WORRIED THAT THE ABSENCE OF CLEAR AND ENFORCEABLE NET NEUTRALITY PROTECTIONS WILL RESULT IN HIGHER COSTS AND FEWER BENEFITS BECAUSE YOU SEE, THEY ARE NOT ABLE TO PAY THOSE PREMIUM ACCESS FEES. LARGE ONLINE BUSINESSES HAVE ALSO WEIGHED IN EXPRESSING CONCERNS ABOUT BEING SUBJECT TO ADDED CHARGES AS THEY SIMPLY TRY TO REACH THEIR OWN CUSTOMERS. ENGINEERS HAVE SUBMITTED COMMENTS INCLUDING MANY OF THOSE INTERNET PIONEERS. THEY SHARED WITH THE FCC MAJORITY THE FUNDAMENTALS OF HOW THE INTERNET WORKS BECAUSE FROM WHERE THEY SIT, THERE IS NO WAY THAT AN ITEM LIKE THIS WOULD EVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY IF THE MAJORITY UNDERSTOOD THE PLATFORM THAT SOME OF THEM HELPED TO CREATE.
I HAVE HEARD FROM INNOVATORS WORRIED THAT WE ARE STANDING UP A MOTHER-MAY-I-REGIME WHERE THE BROADBAND PROVIDER BECOMES THE ARBITER OF ACCEPTABLE ONLINE BUSINESS MODELS AND YET I HAVE HEARD FROM CONSUMERS WHO ARE WORRIED GIVEN THAT THERE BROADBAND PROVIDERS HAVE ALREADY SHOWN THAT THEY WILL CHARGE INSCRUTABLE BELOW THE LINE FEES, RAISE PRICES UNEXPECTEDLY, AND PUT CONSUMERS ON HOLD FOR HOURS AT A TIME, WHO WILL HAVE THEIR BEST INTEREST AT HEART IN A WORLD WITHOUT CLEAR AND ENFORCEABLE RULES OVERSEEN BY AN AGENCY WITHOUT ANY CLEAR AUTHORITY? WITH THAT AGENCY BE A TWO LIST FCC? THERE IS A DARKER SIDE TO ALL OF THIS THAT WE HAVE WITNESSED OVER THE PAST TWO WEEKS. THREATS AND INTIMIDATION, PERSONAL ATTACKS, RUSSIAN INFLUENCE, STATE COMMENTS. THESE ARE UNACCEPTABLE. SOME OF THESE ACTIONS ARE ILLEGAL. THEY ARE ALL TO BE REJECTED.
BUT WHAT IS ALSO NOT ACCEPTABLE IS THE FCC’S REFUSAL TO COOPERATE WITH THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL INVESTIGATION OR ALLOW EVIDENCE IN THE RECORD THAT WOULD UNDERCUT WHAT CAN ONLY BE DESCRIBED AS A PREORDAINED OUTCOME.
MANY HAVE BEEN ASKING ME, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? HOW WILL ALL OF THIS NET NEUTRALITY COME UP MY INTE RNET EXPERIENCE LOOK AFTER TODAY’S DECISION? MY ANSWER IS A SIMPLE ONE. WHEN THE CURRENT PROTECTIONS ARE ABANDONED AND THE RULES THAT HAVE BEEN OFFICIALLY IN PLACE SINCE 2015 ARE REPEALED, WE WILL HAVE A CHESHIRE CAT VERSION OF NET NEUTRALITY. WE WILL BE IN A WORLD WHERE REGULATORY SUBSTANCE FADES TO BLACK AND ALL THAT IS LEFT IS A BROADBAND PROVIDERS TOOTHY GRIN, THEY HAVE TEETH. AND THOSE OLD COMFORTING WORDS,
“WE HAVE EVERY INCENTIVE, DON’T WORRY. WE HAVE EVERY INCENTIVE TO DO THE RIGHT THING.”
BUT WHAT THEY WILL SOON HAVE IS EVERY INCENTIVE TO DO THEIR OWN THING. THE RESULTS OF THROWING OUT NET NEUTRALITY PROTECTIONS MAY NOT BE FELT, RIGHT AWAY. MOST FOLKS WILL GET UP TOMORROW MORNING, GET READY FOR WORK AND OVER THE NEXT WEEK, WADE THROUGH WHAT WOULD BE HUNDREDS OF HEADLINES. WE WILL GROW TIRED OF THOSE HUNDREDS OF HEADLINES AND GROW TIRED OF HEARING FROM ENDLESS PROGNOSTICATORS AND QUICKLY EMERGE OURSELVES INTO A SEA OF HOLIDAY BLISS.
BUT WHAT WE HAVE BROUGHT TODAY WILL ONE DAY BE APPARENT AND BY THEN, WHEN YOU REALLY WAKE UP AND SEE WHAT HAS CHANGED, I FEAR IT MAY BE TOO LATE TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT BECAUSE THERE WILL BE NO AGENCY EMPOWERED TO ADDRESS YOUR PROBLEMS. THIS ITEM ENSURES THAT THE FCC WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO FULLY GRASP THE HARM IT MAY HAVE UNLEASHED ON THE INTERNET ECOSYSTEM. AND THAT INABILITY MIGHT LEAD DECISION-MAKERS TO CONCLUDE THAT THE NEXT INTERNET STARTUP THAT FAILS TO FLOURISH, THAT ATTEMPTED TO SEEK RELIEF BY WHATEVER AUTHORITY MAY OR MAY NOT BE IN CHARGE, WITH HOW MANY TEETH THEY MIGHT HAVE LEFT, SIMPLY THAT MAYBE THEY HAD A BAD BUSINESS PLAN WHEN, IN FACT, THE ACTUAL CORPORATE WOULD BE ABSENCE OF A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD ONLINE.
PARTICULARLY DAMNING AS WHAT TODAY’S REPEAL WOULD MEAN FOR MARGINALIZED GROUPS LIKE COMMUNITIES OF COLOR THAT RELY ON PLATFORMS LIKE THE INTERNET TO COMMUNICATE. TRADITIONAL OUTLETS RARELY IF EVER CONSIDER THE ISSUES OR CONCERNS OR THEIR COVERAGE. IT WAS THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA, REMEMBER, THAT THE WORLD FIRST HEARD ABOUT FERGUSON MISSOURI BECAUSE THOSE LEGACY OUTLETS DID NOT CONSIDER THEM WORTHY ENOUGH FOR COVERAGE UNTIL THAT HASHTAG STARTED TRENDING.
IT HAS BEEN THROUGH ONLINE VIDEO SERVICES THAT TARGETED ENTERTAINMENT ECOSYSTEMS THRIVE WHERE STORIES ARE FINALLY BEING TOLD BECAUSE THOSE VERY SAME PROGRAMS THAT WERE SUBMITTED FOR CONSIDERATION WERE REJECTED TIME AND TIME AGAIN BY MAINSTREAM MEDIA AND DISTRIBUTION — MAINSTREAM DISTRIBUTION AND MEDIA OUTLETS. AND IT HAS BEEN THROUGH SECURE MESSAGING PLATFORMS WHERE ACTIVISTS HAVE COMMUNICATED AND ORGANIZED FOR JUSTICE WITH GATEKEEPERS WHO MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE DIFFERING OPINIONS.
WHERE WILL THE NEXT SIGNIFICANT ATTACK ON INTERNET FREEDOM COME FROM? MAYBE A BROADBAND PROVIDER ALLOWING HIS NETWORK TO CONGEST MAKING A HIGH TRAFFIC VIDEO PROVIDER ASK WHAT MORE CAN IT PAY TO MAKE THAT PAIN GO AWAY? THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN YOU SAY. NEWS FLASH, IT ALREADY HAS.
THE DIFFERENCE NOW IS THE OPEN QUESTION OF WHAT IS STOPPING THEM? THE DIFFERENCE AFTER TODAY’S VOTE IS THAT NO ONE WILL BE ABLE TO STOP THEM. MAYBE SEVERAL PROVIDERS WILL QUIETLY ROLL OUT PAY-PRIORITIZATION PACKAGES THAT WILL ENABLE DEEP-POCKETED PLAYERS TO CUT THE CUBE. MAYBE A VERTICALLY-INTEGRATED BROADBAND PROVIDER DECIDES THAT IT WILL FAVOR ITS OWN ACTION SERVICES OR SOME HIGH VALUE INTERNET OF THINGS TRAFFIC WILL BE SUBJECT TO AN ADDITIONAL FEE.
MAYBE SOME OF THESE ACTIONS WILL BE CLOAKED UNDER NONDISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS AND WRAPPED UP IN MANDATORY ARBITRATION CLAUSES SO IT WILL BE A BREACH OF CONTRACT TO DISCLOSE THESE PUBLICLY OR TAKE THE PROVIDER TO COURT IF THERE IS ANY WRONGDOINg. SOME MAY SAY OF COURSE THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN BUT AFTER TODAY’S VOTE, WHAT WILL BE IN PLACE TO STOP ANY OF THIS?
WHAT WE DO KNOW IS THAT BROADBAND PROVIDERS DID NOT EVEN WAIT FOR THE INK TO DRY ON A PROPOSED ORDER BEFORE MAKING THEIR MOVES. ONE BROADBAND PROVIDER WHO HAD IN THE PAST PROMISED TO NOT ENGAGE IN PAY PRIORITIZATION IS NOW QUIETLY DROPPING THAT PROMISE FROM THIS LIST OF COMMITMENTS ON ITS WEBSITE. WHAT IS NEXT? BLOCKING OR THROTTLING? THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN YOU SAY.
AFTER TODAY’S VOTE EXACTLY WHO IS THE COP ON THE BEAT THAT CAN OR WILL STOP THAT? AND JUST WHO WILL BE IMPACTED THE MOST? CONSUMERS AND SMALL BUSINESSES, THAT’S WHO. THE INTERNET CONTINUES TO EVOLVE AND HAS BECOME EVEN MORE CRITICAL FOR EVERY PARTICIPANT IN OUR 21ST CENTURY ECOSYSTEM, GOVERNMENT SERVICES HAVE MIGRATED ONLINE AS HAVE EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES, JOB NOTICES AND APPLICATIONS.
BUT AT THE SAME TIME BROADBAND PROVIDERS HAVE CONTINUED TO CONSOLIDATE, THEY HAVE BECOME BIGGER. THEY OWN THEIR OWN CONTENT, THEY OWN THEIR OWN MEDIA COMPANIES. AND THEY OWN AND HAVE INTEREST IN OTHER TYPES OF COMPETING SERVICES SO WHY ARE MILLIONS OF AMERICANS, SO ALARMED? BECAUSE THEY UNDERSTAND THE RISK THIS ALL POSES AND EVEN THOSE WHO MIGHT NOT EXACTLY KNOW WHAT IT MEANS WHEN SOMEBODY SAYS TITLE TWO AUTHORITY, WHAT THEY KNOW IS THAT THEY WILL BE AT RISK WITHOUT IT.
I’VE BEEN ASKING MYSELF REPEATEDLY WHY THE MAJORITY IS SO SINGLE FOCUSED ON OVERTURNING THESE WILDLY POPULAR RULES. IS IT SIMPLY THEY FELT THAT THE 2015 NET NEUTRALITY ORDER WOULD THROW OUT OVER 700 RULES WOULD DISPENSE WITH MORE THAN 25 PROVISIONS WAS TOO HEAVY-HANDED? IS THIS A PLOY TO CREATE A NEED FOR LEGISLATION WHERE THERE WAS NONE BEFORE OR IS IT TO ESTABLISH UNCERTAINTY WHERE LITTLE PREVIOUSLY EXISTED? IS IT A TACTIC TO UNDERMINE THE NET NEUTRALITY PROTECTIONS ADOPTED IN 2015 THAT ARE CURRENTLY PART OF THE SUPREME COURT? YOU KNOW, THE VERY SAME RULES THAT WERE RESOUNDINGLY UPHELD BY THE DC CIRCUIT LAST YEAR.
NO DOUBT WE WILL SEE A RUSH TO THE COURTHOUSE ASKING THE SUPREME COURT TO VACATE AND REMAND THE SUBSTANTIVE RULES THAT WE HAVE FOUGHT SO HARD FOR OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS BECAUSE TODAY THE FCC USES LEGALLY SUSPECT MEANS TO CLEAR THE DECK OF SUBSTANTIAL PROTECTIONS FOR CONSUMERS AND COMPETITION. IT IS ABUNDANTLY CLEAR WHY WE SEE SO MUCH BAD PROCESS WITH THIS ITEM BECAUSE THE FIX WAS ALREADY IN. THERE IS NO REAL MENTION OF THE THOUSAND OF NET NEUTRALITY COMPLAINTS FILED BY CONSUMERS. WHY? THE MAJORITY HAS REFUSED TO PUT THEM IN THE RECORD WHILE MAINTAINING THE RHETORIC THAT THERE HAVE BEEN NO REAL COMPLAINTS OR NO REAL VIOLATIONS. RECORD EVIDENCE OF MASSIVE INCENTIVES AND ABILITIES OF BROADBAND PROVIDERS TO ACT IN ANTI-COMPETITIVE WAYS ARE MISSING FROM THE DOCKET. WHY? BECAUSE THOSE IN CHARGE HAVE REFUSED TO USE THE DATA AND ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE AGENCY DOES HAVE AND HAVE RELIED ON IN THE PAST TO INFORM OUR MERGER REVIEWS. THE MAJORITY HAS SHOWN TIME AND TIME AGAIN THE ABUSE OF INDIVIDUALS DO NOT MATTER. INCLUDING ABUSE OF THOSE WHO CARE DEEPLY ABOUT THE SUBSTANCE, BUT MAY NOT BE WASHINGTON INSIDERS.
THERE IS A BASIC FALLACY UNDERLYING THE MAJORITY’S ACTION AND RHETORIC TODAY, THE ASSUMPTIONS OF WHAT IS BEST FOR BROADBAND PROVIDERS IS OBVIOUSLY WHAT IS BEST FOR AMERICA. CLAIMS ABOUT ON SHACKLING BROADBAND SERVICES FROM UNNECESSARY REGULATION ARE ONLY ABOUT ENSURING THAT BROADBAND INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS HAVE AND MAINTAIN THE KEYS TO THE INTERNET. ASSERTIONS THAT THIS IS MERELY A RETURN TO SOME IMAGINARY STATUS QUO CANNOT HIDE THE FACT THAT THIS IS THE VERY FIRST TIME THAT THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION HAS DISAVOWED SUBSTANTIAL PROTECTIONS FOR CONSUMERS ONLINE. AND WITH THE CURRENT 2015 NET NEUTRALITY RULES ARE LAID TO WASTE, WE MAY BE LEFT WITH NO SINGLE AUTHORITY WITH THE POWER TO PROTECT CONSUMERS. NOW THIS ORDER LOUDLY CROWS ABOUT HANDING OVER AUTHORITY OF BROADBAND TO THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION BUT WHAT IS ABSENT FROM THE ORDER AND GLOSSED OVER IN A HAPHAZARDLY ISSUED OF A MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING IS THAT THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION (FTC) IS AN AGENCY WITH NO, NO, NONE, NADA, WITH TECHNICAL EXPERTISE IN TELECOMMUNICATIONS.
THE FTC IS AN AGENCY THAT MAY OR MAY NOT EVEN HAVE AUTHORITY OVER BROADBAND PROVIDERS IN THE FIRST INSTANCE. THE FTC IS AN AGENCY THAT IF YOU CAN EVEN REACH A VERY HIGH BAR OF PROVING UNFAIR OR DECEPTIVE PRACTICES AND THAT THERE IS SUBSTANTIAL CONSUMER INJURY, IT MAY TAKE YEARS UPON YEARS FOR ANY REMEDY TO BE LEVIED AND MOST COMPANIES DON’T HAVE YEARS AND YEARS TO WAIT FOR AN ANSWER. BUT DON’T JUST TAKE MY WORD FOR IT. EVEN ONE OF THE FCC’S OWN COMMISSIONERS HAS ARTICULATED THESE VERY CONCERNS AND IF YOU ARE WONDERING WHY THE FCC IS PREEMPTING STATE CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWS IN THIS ITEM WITHOUT NOTICE,
LET ME HELP YOU WITH THIS SIMPLE JINGLE THAT YOU CAN EASILY COMMIT TO MEMORY THAT WILL UNDERSCORE ALL OF THIS.
“IF IT BENEFITS INDUSTRY, PREEMPTION IS GOOD. IF IT BENEFITS CONSUMERS, PREEMPTION IS BAD.“
RECLASSIFICATION OF BROADBAND WOULD DO MORE THAN WREAK HAVOC OVER NET NEUTRALITY, IT WILL ALSO UNDERMINE OUR UNIVERSAL SERVICE CONSTRUCT FOR YEARS TO COME — SOMETHING, WHICH THE ORDER IMPLICITLY ACKNOWLEDGES. IT WILL UNDERMINE THE LIFELINE PROGRAM. IT WILL WEAKEN OUR ABILITY TO SUPPORT ROBUST BROADBAND INFRASTRUCTURE DEPLOYMENT AND WHAT WE WILL SOON FIND OUT IS WHAT A BROADBAND MARKET UNENCUMBERED BY ROBUST COMMUNITY — CONSUMER PROTECTIONS WILL LOOK LIKE. I SUSPECT THAT IT WILL NOT BE VERY PRETTY.
I KNOW THAT THERE ARE MANY QUESTIONS ON THE MINDS OF AMERICANS RIGHT NOW INCLUDING WHAT THE REPEAL OF NET NEUTRALITY WILL MEAN FOR THEM. TO HELP UNDERSTAND OR TO ANSWER OR TO ADDRESS OUTSTANDING QUESTIONS, I PLAN TO HOST A TOWN HALL THROUGH TWITTER NEXT WEEK, ON TUESDAY AT 2:00 P.M. EASTERN STANDARD TIME BUT WHAT SADDENS ME THE MOST TODAY IS THAT THE AGENCY THAT IS SUPPOSED TO PROTECT YOU IS ACTUALLY ABANDONING YOU.
BUT WHAT I AM PLEASED TO BE ABLE TO SAY TODAY IS THAT THE FIGHT TO SAVE NET NEUTRALITY DOES NOT END TODAY. THE [FCC] DOES NOT HAVE THE FINAL WORD. THANK GOODNESS FOR THAT. AND AS I CLOSE MY EULOGY OF THE 2015 NET NEUTRALITY RULES, CAREFULLY CRAFTED RULES THAT ACTUALLY STRUCK AN APPROPRIATE BALANCE IN PROVIDING CONSUMER PROTECTIONS AND ENABLING OPPORTUNITIES AND INVESTMENT, I ACTUALLY TAKE WHAT I WILL CALL IRONIC COMFORT IN THE WORDS OF THEN COMMISSIONER PAI BACK IN 2015 BECAUSE I BELIEVE THIS WILL RING TRUE ABOUT THIS DESTROYING INTERNET FREEDOM ORDER.
“I AM OPTIMISTIC,” HE SAID “THAT WE WILL LOOK BACK ON TODAY’S VOTE AS AN ABERRATION, A TEMPORARY DEVIATION FROM THE BIPARTISAN PATH THAT HAS SERVED US SO WELL. I DON’T KNOW WHETHER THIS PLAN WILL BE VACATED BY A COURT, REVERSED BY CONGRESS OR OVERTURNED BY A FUTURE COMMISSION BUT I DO BELIEVE THAT IT DAYS ARE NUMBERED.”
AMEN TO THAT MR. CHAIRMAN. AMEN TO THAT.
CHAIRMAN PAI: THANK YOU, COMMISSIONER CLYBURN. I WILL MARK YOU DOWN AS A NO? [LAUGHTER]
12/14/17 FCC Minority Press Conference
GOOD AFTERNOON. COMMISSIONER ROSENWORCEL AND I WOULD ENTERTAIN ANY QUESTIONS YOU WILL HAVE.
I DID GET ONE QUESTION FROM SOMEONE WHO COULD NOT JOIN US IF YOU WOULD ALLOW ME TO FEEL THAT. I DON’T NORMALLY DO THIS BUT THEY WENT OUT OF THEIR WAY. SO THIS IS LEVI FROM BAY AREA NEWS GROUP. HIS QUESTION, ASSUMING LEVI IS A MALE, CHAIRMAN PAI HAS REFUSED TO LISTEN TO THE OPPOSITION. HIS QUESTION, NOT MINE. DOES MS. CLYBURN, ME, FEEL THE VOICES OF THE PUBLIC HAVE BEEN HEARD?
MY ANSWER IS ABSOLUTELY NOT. I SAID VERY CLEARLY IN MY STATEMENT THAT IT IS TELLING THAT THIS ITEM THAT THE MAJORITY JUST PAST DID NOT CITE A SINGLE CONSUMER COMMENT LETTER, VOICEMAIL, OR CARRIER PIGEON MESSAGE. THAT TO ME SPEAKS VOLUMES ABOUT HOW THE MAJORITY VALUES THE MILLIONS OF CONSUMERS WHO TOOK THE TIME TO WEIGH IN ABOUT KEEPING THE INTERNET NET NEUTRALITY RULES IN PLACE. SO I WANTED TO TEE THAT UP AND I DON’T KNOW IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS. I KNOW THE OTHER COMMISSIONERS MENTIONED LUNCH BUT IT’S WAY PAST THE LUNCH HOUR.
I WILL DIVE RIGHT IN. BLOOMBERG LAW. I GUESS THIS IS FOR EITHER OF YOU ON MEDIA OWNERSHIP AND ALTERING THE CAP. I WANT TO KNOW IF YOU HAD ANY THOUGHTS ABOUT COMMISSIONER O’RIELLY JOINING YOU IN THE VIEW THAT YOU LACK THE AUTHORITY BUT STILL SAYING HE WILL HAPPILY VOTE TO ALTER THE CAP.
I DON’T WANT TO COMMENT ON WHAT COMMISSIONER O’RIELLY IS THINKING BECAUSE I’VE NO SPECIAL KNOWLEDGE ABOUT WHAT HE’S THINKING BUT I FUNDAMENTALLY AGREE THIS AGENCY LACKS THE AUTHORITY TO ADJUST THE 39 PERCENT CAP PUT INTO LAW BY CONGRESS IN 2004.
I WILL ADD THAT I THINK THERE WAS A MENTION TO AN ANSWER TO A QUESTION THAT MIGHT BE ON YOUR MIND THAT THE CHAIRMAN DID MAKE MENTION OF SOMETHING THAT HE CLASSIFIED THAT I TAKE ISSUE WITH. BACK IN 2004, THE WORLD LOOKED VERY DIFFERENT AS I AFFIRMED IN MY STATEMENT, THAT WAS FIVE YEARS BEFORE THE DIGITAL TRANSITION. I DID NOT SEE ANY MENTION OF UHF WHEN IT COMES TO THAT — THAT PARTICULAR ISSUE.
SO THERE WERE NOT THE DISTINCTIONS THEN THAT WE HAVE TODAY THAT OCCURRED AS THE RESULT OF A DIGITAL TRANSITION SO TO BRING UP SOMETHING THAT WE KNOW HAS CHANGED, BY THEIR OWN ADMISSION, IS TECHNOLOGICALLY OUT OF DATE, THAT WE RULED THAT IT WAS TECHNOLOGICALLY OUT OF DATE AND SO I TAKE ISSUE WITH THIS DECISION. WE REVERSED COURSE ON THAT. AND NOW THERE IS AN ABILITY FOR THOSE WHO WISH TO FURTHER CONSOLIDATE TO DO SO IN A MANNER THAT BASICALLY TRICKS THE PUBLIC INTO BELIEVING THEY ARE STILL COMPLIANT WITH THE 39 PERCENT CAP. THEN WE SAY, WELL, MAYBE WE WILL GRANDFATHER THEM. THOSE ARE THE QUESTIONS WE ARE ANSWERING. WE ARE GIVING A GREEN LIGHT FOR FURTHER CONSOLIDATION WITHOUT SHINING LIGHT ON THE FACT THAT COMPANIES HAVE THE POTENTIAL RIGHT NOW TO HAVE A 70 PLUS PERCENT SHARE OF THE US MARKET AND IT LOOKS LIKE IT’S 39 PERCENT AND IN COMPLIANCE WITH WHAT THE CURRENT OWNERSHIP CAP IS. I FIND THAT PUZZLING.
HI, COMMISSIONERS TARA JEFFRIES WITH BLOOMBERG LAW I WAS WONDERING IF EITHER OF YOU HAVE THOUGHTS ON THE NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN OVER THE NET NEUTRALITY RULES.
LAST WEEK I HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF JOINING NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN IN NEW YORK TO CALL ATTENTION TO WHAT HIS OFFICE HAD UNEARTHED WHICH IS THAT WE HAVE MILLIONS OF STOLEN IDENTITIES IN THE FCC RECORD FOR NET NEUTRALITY. THAT’S IDENTITY THEFT. PEOPLE’S NAMES AND ADDRESSES WERE TAKEN AND COMMENTS WERE FILED UNDER THEIR NAMES AND IDENTITY THEFT IS A CRIME UNDER NEW YORK STATE LAW AND ALSO UNDER FEDERAL LAW. THE FACT THAT THIS AGENCY HAS REFUSED TO INVESTIGATE AND GET TO THE BOTTOM OF IT IS OFFENSIVE. PUBLIC INTEGRITY SHOULD MATTER. THE VIABILITY OF OUR COMMENT PROCESS IN THE DIGITAL AGE IS AT STAKE. AND I RESPECT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL WANTS TO TAKE THIS AND HAD TO COURT AND I SUSPECT THERE WILL BE OTHER STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL THAT WILL JOIN HIM. .
ONE THING THAT’S LOST IN THE TRANSLATION BECAUSE WE ARE HEARING A LOT OF VERY VALUABLE TALKING POINTS, BUT THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THE FCC TOLD THE STATES TO STAY OUT. THE STATES ARE ON THE FRONT LINE — THEY SEE THEIR CONSTITUENTS AND CONSUMERS AND FELLOW STATE CITIZENS EVERY DAY. IF THE STATES WANT TO PROVIDE LEVELS OF PROTECTION, TO ADD PROTECTIONS THAT ARE UNIQUELY SITUATED OR REFLECTIVE OF THEIR STATE CONSUMERS OR CONSTITUENT EXPERIENCE, THE FCC BASICALLY SAID ‘TOO BAD YOU CAN’T DO SO’.
SO I DON’T BLAME THE STATES FOR NOT CHALLENGING THE BASIS OF THE COMMISSIONER SAYING THAT THEY CAN’T SERVE AND PROTECT THEIR CITIZENS. THE FCC IS SAYING STAY OUT OF THE WAY WHEN IT COMES TO THESE LEVELS OF PROTECTIONS. I FIND IT PROBLEMATIC ON ALL FRONTS. WE ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE A PARTNERSHIP WITH OUR STATES, BUT WE ARE TELLING THEM TO STAY OUT IF THEY CAN’T ADEQUATELY SERVE THEIR CITIZENS TO THE BEST OF THEIR ABILITY. THAT’S A PROBLEM. BY THE WAY, THIS WAS DONE WITHOUT NOTICE SO THAT MAKES US MORE VULNERABLE IN COURT.
MONTE TAYLOR: A BUNCH OF THE OTHER COMMISSIONERS BROUGHT UP U-BOAT FOR THE ORDER TO ELIMINATE THE UHF DISCOUNT AND THEN SAYING THE FCC HAS THE AUTHORITY TO MESS WITH THE CAP. SO DO YOU HAVE A RESPONSE TO THAT BECAUSE THEY ALL BROUGHT IT UP.
WE VOTED ON THE UNDERLYING DECISION, WHICH WAS TO UPDATE THE UHF DISCOUNT WHICH WE CAN ALL AGREE IS TECHNOLOGICALLY OBSOLETE. MOREOVER AT THE 2004 APPROPRIATIONS ACT MAKES NO MENTION OF THE UHF DISCOUNT. IT ONLY REFERENCES THE 39 PERCENT CAP. WE CONTINUE TO BELIEVE THAT IS A PROBLEM THAT THIS AGENCY SOMEHOW THINKS IT HAS THE AUTHORITY TO REVISIT — TO REWRITE THOSE WORDS FROM CONGRESS.
MET DENMAN COMMUNICATIONS DAILY. THE SAME QUESTION I POSED TO THE REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES. DISNEY, FOX, THOUGHTS ON WHETHER THE AGENCY WILL HAVE A ROLE AND WHAT DO YOU THINK BROADLY ABOUT THE NOTION OF CONSOLIDATION.
WE USUALLY DON’T COMMENT ON THAT. I LEARNED THIS MORNING I HAPPEN TO BE WATCHING — I WAS WAITING FOR ONE STORY AND CAUGHT ANOTHER AND THAT TELLS YOU WHICH NETWORK I WAS WATCHING THIS MORNING SO I CAUGHT THE ANNOUNCEMENT BUT THAT IS ALL I CAN SAY THAT THERE IS NOTHING AS I AM AWARE OF THAT IS BEFORE US. WE WILL SEE IF THERE IS SOMETHING THAT WILL BE BEFORE US AND THEN AND ONLY THEN ARE WE ABLE TO HAVE A BETTER EXCHANGE AS IT RELATES TO THAT PARTICULAR ITEM.
THE REVISED ORDER ALSO BARS STATES FROM PROPOSING THEIR OWN TRANSPARENCY REQUIREMENTS IN ADDITION TO TRYING TO MANDATE THE PROTECTIONS. ARE THERE ANY OTHER SUBSTANTIVE CHANGES IN THE ORDER FROM WHEN WE SAW 13 WEEKS AGO?
I THINK IT’S SUBSTANTIALLY THE SAME, BUT THE FCC MAJORITY NEGOTIATED OUT OUR PARTICIPATION.
ONE THING YOU ASKING THAT QUESTION MADE ME THINK IS WHAT HAPPENS GOING FORWARD?. WE HAVE A NUMBER OF OBJECTIVES WHEN IT COMES TO OUR UNIVERSAL SERVICE PROGRAMS. WE HAVE SOME FUNCTIONS THAT PROBABLY WILL BE ON THE HORIZON. WHAT IF SOMEONE OR A PARTY THAT IS A PARTICIPANT ARE DISPLEASED ABOUT WHAT THE OUTCOME IS?
I KNOW WHAT WE HAVE DONE TODAY IS WEAKEN OUR ABILITY TO STAND ON OUR UNIVERSAL SERVICE PRINCIPALS. WE HAVE PUT OURSELVES IN A MORE PRECARIOUS SITUATION WHEN IT COMES TO ENSURING THAT BROADBAND ENABLED SERVICES ARE ABLE TO BE DEPLOYED. WE HAVE WEAKENED OURSELVES WHEN IT COMES TO THE RIGHTS OF WAYS AND ALL OF THE OTHER TYPES OF INFRASTRUCTURE FOR US TO CONNECT THESE COMMUNITIES.
WE HAVE PUT OURSELVES AT A DISADVANTAGE BY WEAKENING THE FCC’S AUTHORITY THAT HAS BEEN UPHELD BY THE THIRD CIRCUIT COURT. SO, AGAIN, THE HEADLINES OF THE DAY AND WHAT THE TALKING POINTS HAVE BEEN ARE IMPORTANT, BUT WHAT COMMUNITIES WILL ULTIMATELY FIND IS THEY WILL NOT HAVE AN FCC WITH THE TEETH NEEDED TO ENSURE THAT OUR UNIVERSAL SERVICE PRINCIPLES ARE REALIZED AND, LIKE I’VE HAD SAID, IT MIGHT NOT BE TOMORROW, IT MIGHT NOT BE THE NEXT WEEK, BUT SOON WE ARE GOING TO FIND OURSELVES CHALLENGED. I BELIEVE WE WILL BE CHALLENGED TO THE POINT OF BEING VULNERABLE AND WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A SERIOUS ISSUES WHEN IT COMES TO CONNECTING, PARTICULARLY ON THESE RULES.
FOR EITHER OR BOTH WILL THE AGENCY PREVAIL IN COURT?
I HAVE NO CRYSTAL BALL, BUT I CAN’T TELL YOU THAT OUTCOME NOR CAN I TELL YOU EVEN WHICH COURT OR APPELLATE WILL ACTUALLY WIND UP IN COURT AT THIS POINT, BUT I DO KNOW THIS:
THE AMERICAN PUBLIC IS ANGRY. I HAVE NOT DURING MY TENURE HERE AND NOW OR AT MY PREVIOUS TENURE SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THE ANGST AND IRRITATION THAT IS POURING INTO MY E-MAIL INBOX AND TUMBLING INTO OUR VOICEMAIL EVERY DAY. THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN OUTSIDE FOR THE LAST 24 HOURS CLAMORING TO GET THIS AGENCY TO PAY ATTENTION TO THEM.
THERE IS SOMETHING STUNNING ABOUT THAT BECAUSE OUR ACTIONS HERE HAVE AWOKEN A SLEEPING GIANT: THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE VERY ANGRY THAT AN AGENCY IN WASHINGTON IS MUCKING AROUND THE OPEN INTERNET THEY KNOW. SO I THINK GOING FORWARD DON’T ONLY THINK ABOUT LITIGATION, RECOGNIZE THERE IS A LEVEL OF PUBLIC AWARENESS ON THIS ISSUE THAT IS LIKELY TO SHAPE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.
COMMISSIONER CLYBURN: IF THE COURT AGREES THAT THERE SHOULD BE APPROPRIATE AMOUNT OF REGULATORY BALANCE, THAT EVERYONE SHOULD WIN IN THIS ECOSYSTEM, THAT THERE SHOULD BE MORE BENEFITS AND LESS HARMS, THAT THE CONSUMERS SHOULD BE IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT NOT JUST A HANDFUL OF INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS. IF THEY LOOK AT IT FROM THAT PERSPECTIVE, THEN I THINK WE WILL PREVAIL.
I WANT TO ASK A QUESTION FROM THE CHAIRMAN SO THERE IS A LOT OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS IN THE ORDER, BUT SOME OF THE ECONOMIST I TALKED TO SAID BASICALLY THEY FELT THAT IT WAS NOT SOPHISTICATED, THAT THEY LOOKED FOR CERTAIN RESULTS AND THAT’S WHAT THEY FOUND THAT THERE WAS NOT AN OBJECTIVE ANALYSIS OR DETERMINATION OF WHAT WAS TRYING TO BE ENCOURAGED. DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT AND THEN I WANT TO ASK A FOLLOW-UP ON THAT?
I THINK THE ECONOMIC ANALYSIS IN THIS DECISION WAS WOEFULLY DEFICIENT. IT WAS ILLOGICAL AND DESIGNED TO ACHIEVE AN END. JUST AS AN EXAMPLE, OUR OWN FCC DATA DEMONSTRATE THAT HALF THE HOUSEHOLDS IN THIS COUNTRY DO NOT HAVE A COMPETITIVE CHOICE OF BROADBAND PROVIDER. I AM ONE OF THEM. I LIVE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND THERE IS ONE PROVIDER THAT WILL SERVE MY HOUSE. IF I HAVE ANY DIFFICULTY WITH THAT PROVIDER AND THE WAY IT TREATS MY TRAFFIC, FAILS TO PROVIDE ME OPEN ACCESS TO ALL WEBSITE OR SENSORS CONTENT, I HAVE NO RECOURSE. AND I DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT KIND OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS SUGGESTS THAT COMPETITION WILL FOLLOW — SOLVE THAT PROBLEM ME WHEN HALF THE HOUSEHOLDS IN THIS COUNTRY DO NOT BENEFIT FROM ANY COMPETITION, AT ALL.
MY FOLLOW-UP QUESTION WAS WE’VE HEARD A LOT ABOUT THE CHAIRMAN WANTS TO FORM — WANTS A NEW OFFICE OF THE ECONOMIST. SO I’M JUST WONDERING — I DON’T WANT TO ASK THIS IN A WAY THAT’S TOO POINTED, BUT DOES THAT — ARE THERE BAD IMPLICATIONS IF YOU FELT THE ANALYSIS WAS LACKING AND SO NONOBJECTIVE IN THIS REPORT, WHAT’S REALLY GOING TO COME OUT OF THAT IF YOU PUT ALL THE ECONOMIST IN ONE OFFICE?
I HAVE TO SAY I DON’T EITHER. I THINK IF WE APPROACH THINGS WITHOUT A THESIS SENTENCE OR A POINT OF VIEW THAT SKEWS SOMETHING IN ONE DIRECTION THEN ANY TYPE OF ECONOMETRIC ANALYSIS THAT COULD BE MORE ENHANCED IS BENEFICIAL. BUT WHAT HAS BEEN SHOWN PARTICULARLY THROUGH THIS ITEM IS THAT YOU CAN BUILD ANY CASE IF YOU HAVE A CERTAIN PREMISE THAT TILTS IN A CERTAIN ONE DIRECTION OR ANOTHER. I THINK WE WOULD BE BEST SERVED BY LOOKING THROUGH A BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC LENS WITH NON-PREJUDICIAL APPROACH TO POLICY MAKING. SO IT WILL BE AS GOOD AS THE PARAMETERS AND THE DIRECTIVES THAT THE LEADERSHIP WILL GIVE.
IT IS 3:30 P.M. AND I NEED LUNCH.
ANY OTHER QUICK QUESTIONS? SEEING NONE, THANK YOU.