Thursday, February 9, 2017

More FCC Process Reforms

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai continued his shake-up of the Agency on Thursday, announcing his fifth Reform measure in four days.

The latest Process reform would prohibit FCC Staffers from making substantive changes to any Rules passed by the Commission after they have been voted on.

This week, Pai also pledged to brief Commissioners on Proposals before they go Public, Release One-Page Fact Sheets of Proposals and require Consent Decrees to be approved by the Commission.

The moves come as the new Republican Chairman has promised to improve the Agency's reputation for Transparency, but also as he takes heat for setting his sights on what were some of his Democratic predecessor's last actions before stepping down.

He drew Democratic criticism for Retracting an Agency report on its E-Rate program, which provides Internet Access to Libraries and Schools, and for scrapping an investigation into Zero-Rating Data programs.

Pai has also been on the defensive about his controversial decision to Remove Nine Companies from Lifeline, a program that gives subsidies for Internet Access to Low-Income Households. On Tuesday, he penned a blog post criticizing the media for exaggerating the impact that action would have on the Lifeline program.

The post itself also drew some fire.

"Like his boss in the White House, Pai should spend less time worrying about his media coverage and more time on his job," Matt Wood, Policy Director at Free Press, said in a statement. "And his job is not to cheerlead for more corporate welfare for the biggest internet access providers in the form of tax breaks for their existing deployment plans. His job is to bring the benefits of open networks to all, something he's failing at so far."

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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