Chairman Pai’s new gift to cable companies would kill local fees and rules

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Federal Communications Commission Chairman 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. Chairman Pai's proposal, scheduled for a vote at the FCC's Aug 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. But does the FCC have the power to preempt these local fees and requirements? Consumer-advocacy group Public Knowledge argues that the FCC can't preempt local broadband regulations because the Pai-led FCC gave up its own authority over broadband when it reclassified broadband as an information service as part of its repeal of net neutrality rules. The FCC could "assert ancillary authority over broadband" using its power to regulate "services that fall within its general jurisdictional scope of 'communications by wire or radio,'" Public Knowledge said. But the FCC has declined to assert such ancillary authority in this case, so it doesn't have the power to preempt, the group argued.

Ajit Pai’s new gift to cable companies would kill local fees and rules