Wednesday, October 4, 2017

ISP Lobbyists Gush Over Re-Appointment of FCC Boss Ajit Pai -

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Not too surprisingly, major ISPs are positively ecstatic about this week's re-appointment of FCC boss Ajit Pai. It's not hard to understand why: in just his first few months in office, Pai has begun dismantling net neutrality, helped kill consumer privacy protections, killed an FCC attempt to bring competition to the cable box, eliminated media consolidation rules largely to benefit Sinclair Broadcasting, began dismantling a program that brings broadband to the poor, and began weaking the definition of broadband to help minimize a lack of competition.

His FCC also weakened Charter merger conditions that would have improved broadband competition, and weakened rules protecting competitors from monopoly behavior in the business data services (BDS) market. His agency also promised to somehow ban states that attempt to protect broadband user privacy.

Ignoring this obvious pattern of industry coddling, countless ISP and ISP lobbying organizations issued statements lavishing praise on Pai's "

"During his tenure at the FCC, Chairman Pai has consistently demonstrated a thoughtful approach to policymaking that promotes consumer welfare through marketplace competition and innovation," insisted Mike Powell, former FCC boss turned top lobbyist for the cable industry. Powell added that the cable industry was just really keen on "pursuing policies that protect consumers and promote the continued growth of new networks and services.

"Chairman Pai understands broadcasting's unique role as an indispensable communications medium, and we appreciate his effort to ease outdated regulatory burdens on local radio and TV," similarly gushed the National Association of Broadcasters, which includes Comcast. "We share his vision for a vibrant communications future that allows local broadcast innovation and robust competition to largely unregulated broadband and pay programming providers."

"Chairman Pai has shown tremendous leadership during his short tenure as head of the FCC," said AT&T. "His commitment to conducting fact-based and transparent Commission proceedings has resulted in the adoption of sound policies that will encourage investment in our nation s wireless and broadband infrastructure and benefit the American people.

"Chairman Pai s continued leadership and expertise is essential as we transition to next-generation 5G wireless networks," stated former FCC Commissioner, turned Comcast lobbyist, turned top lobbyist for the wireless sector Meredith Attwell Baker. "He understands the need for smart policies to spur investment, innovation and growth and the importance of America continuing to lead the world in wireless.

"Throughout his over five years at the FCC as a commissioner and during his nine-month tenure as chairman, Ajit Pai has favored deregulatory policies aimed at encouraging innovation, investment, job creation and economic growth -- all in an effort to best serve consumers," claimed top Comcast lobbyist David Cohen.

If you're one of a handful of Americans actually paying attention, you may have noticed that the chasm between these statements and the policies Pai actually represents is...notable. Pai has yet to stand up to major providers in any notably capacity, and at times during his tenure has even voted down attempts to hold giant ISPs like AT&T accountable for outright fraud. Claiming Pai is a major consumer ally is like suggesting Martin Shkreli would make a good nanny.

As a result, ISPs are positively giddy about the next few years under Pai, whose next major policy items will likely be finalizing the vote to kill net neutrality, and rubber stamping a Sprint T-Mobile merger that will dramatically reduce competition in the wireless space. You know, for the sake of innovation and a love of consumers.
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