We Need a FCC Chairman Who Puts Consumers First
The Federal Communications Commission is responsible for regulating communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in all 50 states. It also plays a critical role in protecting consumers and ensuring that every person and American businesses have access to an equal playing field online.
President Trump has re-nominated the current chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, to serve another five-year term, but Chairman Pai has not demonstrated a commitment to the important mission of the FCC.
Here are a few of his actions and positions which are concerning:
- He has undermined net neutrality:
Maintaining net neutrality is key to a free and open internet. Throughout his tenure as FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai has undermined net neutrality — starting a rulemaking process that would roll back critical net neutrality protections for consumers online, allowing for big Internet Service Providers to create fast lanes and slow lanes for certain content.
2) He has placed major road blocks in the way of further broadband access:
We need to close the digital divide in this country. Only 63 percent of low-income Americans have broadband in their homes and only 55 percent of rural Americans. Rather than advancing efforts to provide broadband to these communities, he has halted key programs which helped people gain access to these services, and has proposed lowering broadband speeds as well.
That puts these communities at a strong disadvantage and makes everyday tasks — like finishing homework — that much harder. For many rural Americans in New Hampshire, and around the country, this would leave them without a reliable connection.
3) He can’t be trusted to put consumers first when it comes to the Sinclair-Tribune merger:
Sinclair Broadcast Group, which operates 173 television station nationwide, has a proposed a merger with Tribune, which would allow Sinclair Broadcast Group to own over 70 percent of American television stations.
This wouldn’t seem like that big of a deal, except Americans have a right to diverse and robust news content. That’s why for decades, there has been a policy of limiting the number of broadcast stations that one company can own nationwide. However, Chairman Pai has revived a decades-old regulatory loophole to keep Sinclair from exceeding these limits.
This merger currently sits before the FCC, and could have huge implications over the diversity of information Americans consume and could lead to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers. Chairman Pai’s record does not indicate that he will make a decision which benefits consumers when it comes to this merger.
The mission of the FCC is too important to take lightly, and we need someone at the helm who will put consumers first. Chairman Pai is not that person.