Feb 17, 2017 10:00:00 AM
It should be readily apparent to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai that it will be a long and difficult climb for the Commission to “fix” it’s Open Internet Order, primarily by reclassifying broadband Internet access as an information service. To succeed, the Commission will have to reopen its proceeding (Docket 14-28), accept industry comments and reply comments, write and release a new order, and craft a legal defense for reclassification that would pass the inevitable court appeals. In addition, the agency will have to withstand a public relations assault that would almost certainly include an avalanche of consumer letters, speeches from Democratic politicians and scathing newspaper editorials, all convinced that the FCC is killing net neutrality. Even if Pai wins, it will be an ugly battle that will leave the Commission and the Chairman scarred for the remainder of his term.
Feb 10, 2017 10:00:00 AM
For anyone observing the FCC during the Obama administration, it was abundantly clear that ex-Chairman Tom Wheeler and current Chairman Ajit Pai radically disagreed about the need for regulations designed to protect consumers. Wheeler was a staunch proponent for such regulations, especially those in which companies such as ISPs utilized consumer data as part of their day-to-day operations. Thus, his FCC promulgated strict net neutrality and Internet privacy rules and had little appetite for services such as zero-rated data offerings that appeared to favor certain content over others.
Feb 3, 2017 10:00:00 AM
New FCC Chairman Ajit Pai tried to calm panicked consumer advocates this week when he announced that he had not decided what, if anything, the Commission planned on doing about net neutrality. Pai stated that he is opposed to the current Title II common carrier classification for ISPs, but would study the issue further. This inaction makes sense since Pai is waiting to see if Congress can quickly “fix” net neutrality before the FCC is forced to address it again in a lengthy proceeding.
Jan 27, 2017 10:00:00 AM
When the FCC released its Open Internet (Net Neutrality) Order in March of 2015, then Commissioner Ajit Pai wrote the following:
On November 10, President Obama asked the FCC to implement his plan for regulating the Internet, one that favors government regulation over marketplace competition. As has been widely reported in the press, the FCC has been scrambling ever since to figure out a way to do just that. The courts will ultimately decide this Order’s fate. And I doubt they will countenance this unlawful power grab. Litigants are already lawyering up to seek judicial review of these new rules. Given the Order’s many glaring legal flaws, they will have plenty of fodder. But if this Order manages to survive judicial review, these will be the consequences: higher broadband prices, slower speeds, less broadband deployment, less innovation, and fewer options for American consumers. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet isn’t the solution to a problem. His plan is the problem. In short, because this Order imposes intrusive government regulations that won’t work to solve a problem that doesn’t exist using legal authority the FCC doesn’t have, I dissent. (FCC Docket 14-28, Report and Order on Remand, Declaratory Ruling and Order, released March 12, 2015, Dissent of Ajit Pai, at. p. 1).
Jan 20, 2017 10:00:00 AM
Will 2017 be the end of switched access charges? Despite the FCC’s decision in 2011 to reform inter-carrier compensation charges including interstate and intrastate access and reciprocal compensation charges by transitioning to a bill-and-keep structure, the industry debate over these charges continues into the new year and new administration.
For those unfamiliar with the term, a bill-and-keep regulatory system requires carriers to recover their costs of originating and terminating local and long-distance calls from their own customers rather than from charges assessed on other carriers.
Jan 13, 2017 10:00:00 AM
It is not even Inauguration Day, but the open season on telecom regulations developed during the Tom Wheeler era at the FCC has already begun! On January 3, 2017, several ISP and cable associations including The Internet and Television Association (NCTA) and the US Telecom Association (USTA) filed Petitions for Reconsideration requesting the Commission to significantly modify its November 2, 2016 ISP Privacy Order in Docket 16-106.
Jan 6, 2017 9:56:24 AM
A couple of weeks ago we reported on a major dilemma for the FCC. Last March the Commission approved a voluntary path that a rural rate-of-return (ROR) ILEC could choose that would provide it with definite universal service support dollar amount per year over a ten-year time period in exchange for meeting FCC mandated milestones for broadband deployment in its territory. The annual funding for each ILEC would be determined by using a cost model called the Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) similar to the one already used by larger price cap ILECs. A 10-year budget of $150 million annually was established for the program, with an additional $50 million in reserve if the budget was exceeded in a given year.
Dec 23, 2016 10:00:00 AM
It is the holiday season and in the spirit of giving, it is once again time to provide our friends at the FCC with our annual Christmas wishes. 2017 will bring a new Commission with a new chairman, new hopes and new proposals. We can only hope that they will respond with a little more enthusiasm for our ideas than the last Commission did (one can dream!).
So without further adieu, let’s begin!
Dec 16, 2016 9:52:24 AM
For rural rate-of-return (ROR) ILECs, it has been an interesting year. Back in March, the FCC approved (in Docket 10-90) a new way for rural ILECs to obtain universal service. A voluntary methodology that would provide a carrier definite universal support dollar amounts per year over a ten-year time period in exchange for meeting required milestones for broadband deployment in its territory. The annual funding per ILEC would be determined by using a cost model similar to the one already used by larger price cap ILECs. A 10-year budget of $150 million annually was established for the program, with an additional $50 million in reserve if the budget was exceeded in a given year.
Dec 9, 2016 10:00:00 AM
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler may have been stymied by Congress from re-regulating the business data services (BDS) market or from taking other controversial actions in his last days of leading the FCC. However, the Chairman cannot resist one particular issue that has apparently bothered him for a while. That is the issue of Internet zero-rated data services. These are the increasingly popular services provided by ISPs in which certain Internet traffic does not count toward a customer’s overall data cap.