Cities joining to offer quality, affordable broadband — pissing off today’s FCC!

❝ This is a story that defies two strongly held beliefs. The first—embraced fervently by today’s FCC — is that the private marketplace is delivering world-class internet access infrastructure at low prices to all Americans, particularly in urban areas. The second is that cities are so busy competing that they are incapable of cooperating with one another, particularly when they have little in common save proximity.

❝ These two beliefs aren’t necessarily true. Right now, the 16 very different cities that make up the South Bay region of Southern California have gotten fed up with their internet access situation: They’re paying too much for too little. So they are working together to collectively lower the amounts they pay for city communications by at least a third. It’s the first step along a path that, ultimately, will bring far cheaper internet access services to the 1.1 million people who live in the region.

Maybe cities can cooperate and save money without compromising their local autonomy. At this same moment, though, the FCC is on a march to smother local authority by blocking states from regulating any aspect of broadband service, supporting states that have raised barriers to municipal networks, deregulating pricing for lines running between cities, and removing local control over rights-of-way that could be used to bring cheaper access into town…the FCC would like to bar other regions from acting in just this kind of sensible way.

The FCC has never been allowed much freedom to aid advocates of modern tech. Overlap of interests doesn’t signify choice. With a reactionary creep in the White House, options narrowed a lot more. Just another good reason to fight hard enough to elect alternatives that are competent technically, moderate or better, politically…and keep on trying for better.

8 thoughts on “Cities joining to offer quality, affordable broadband — pissing off today’s FCC!

  1. Oyez says:

    The Justice Department has hit back against California’s attempt to restore net neutrality rules with a lawsuit that alleges state legislators are attempting to “subvert the Federal Government’s deregulatory approach.” The suit was announced jointly yesterday by representatives of the Justice Department and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/09/30/net-neutrality-trump-administration-files-lawsuit-against-california/1483650002/

  2. J'accuse says:

    US Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) yesterday blasted the Federal Communications Commission, saying it has failed to prevent budget cuts in funding for rural broadband.
    “It has been more than a year since Chairman [Ajit] Pai” and fellow commissioners appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee “and committed to conducting a thorough economic analysis of the impact of USF [Universal Service Fund] funding cuts on broadband deployment in rural areas before allowing any further reduction,” Thune said.
    But Pai’s FCC has failed to keep that promise, Thune said while delivering a statement at a hearing on rural broadband. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/10/ajit-pai-faces-rare-criticism-from-gop-senator-on-rural-broadband-failures/

  3. Wireless says:

    FCC tells court it has no “legal authority” to impose net neutrality rules – claims broadband isn’t “telecommunications.” https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/10/ajit-pais-fcc-tells-court-that-net-neutrality-rules-were-illegal/ The FCC is defending the net neutrality repeal against a lawsuit filed by more than 20 state attorneys general, consumer advocacy groups, and tech companies. The FCC’s opponents in the case will file reply briefs next month, and oral arguments are scheduled for February.

  4. Update says:

    “Ajit Pai is continuing his multi-year battle against local broadband regulation with a plan that would stop cities and towns from using their authority over cable TV networks to regulate Internet access.” https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/07/ajit-pai-has-yet-another-plan-to-stop-local-broadband-regulation/ “Chairman Pai’s proposal, scheduled for a vote at the Federal Communications Commission’s August 1 meeting, would also limit the fees that municipalities can charge cable companies. Cable industry lobbyists have urged the FCC to stop cities and towns from assessing fees on the revenue cable companies make from broadband.”

    • 'Representative Democracy' says:

      Pai’s FCC orders cities and towns to stop regulating cable broadband : Cities can’t use cable authority to regulate broadband or charge more fees. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/08/pais-fcc-orders-cities-and-towns-to-stop-regulating-cable-broadband/
      “We’ve heard from thousands of communities across the country worried we are cutting the operations of so many local channels,” FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, said while voting against Pai’s plan. “I am saddened that this agency refuses to listen.”
      The FCC’s Republican majority “insist[s] that funding these local stations and related efforts damages the ability of our nation’s broadband providers to extend their networks to communities without high-speed service,” Rosenworcel said. But ISPs haven’t actually promised to deploy more broadband in exchange for the regulatory favor from the FCC, she said.
      “We’ve heard from thousands of communities across the country worried we are cutting the operations of so many local channels,” FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, said while voting against Pai’s plan. “I am saddened that this agency refuses to listen.”
      The FCC’s Republican majority “insist[s] that funding these local stations and related efforts damages the ability of our nation’s broadband providers to extend their networks to communities without high-speed service,” Rosenworcel said. But ISPs haven’t actually promised to deploy more broadband in exchange for the regulatory favor from the FCC, she said.
      The FCC vote was 3-2, with dissents from Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks, the FCC’s other Democrat.
      Meanwhile: “FCC greenlights $20 billion rural broadband subsidy auction” https://www.cnet.com/news/fcc-greenlights-20-billion-rural-broadband-subsidy-auction/ The Republican-led Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to adopt a new mechanism for distributing subsidies to rural broadband providers. But Democrats want to see better data from a new broadband mapping effort first.

  5. 404 says:

    The FCC has no idea how many people don’t have broadband access : agency most likely counts millions of unserved homes as having broadband. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/08/the-fcc-has-no-idea-how-many-people-dont-have-broadband-access/
    “…A full accounting of how the current data exaggerates access could further undercut FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s claims that repealing net neutrality rules and other consumer protection measures have dramatically expanded broadband access. His claims were already unconvincing for other reasons.
    See “Ajit Pai says he’s fixed giant FCC error that exaggerated broadband growth” (5/1/19) https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/05/ajit-pai-says-hes-fixed-giant-fcc-error-that-exaggerated-broadband-growth/ and “Ajit Pai says broadband access is soaring—and that he’s the one to thank” (2/20/19) https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/02/ajit-pai-says-broadband-access-is-soaring-and-that-hes-the-one-to-thank/

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