FCC Commissioner Starks Says Pai Report Needs an Edit

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Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said the “rosy picture” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai gave on broadband access needs to be reworked before the agency votes on its annual deployment report. Chairman Pai first teased the report in Feb 2019, saying he’d circulated it to his fellow commissioners and hoped to get a vote on it soon (commissioners can vote in favor of adopting the annual report or can dissent if they disagree with its findings). The report claims the number of Americans that lack access to broadband has dropped 25 percent — but Free Press said one new provider apparently overstated its reach enough to skew that data. Commissioner Starks said the provider, BarrierFree, is under FCC investigation and called on Chairman Pai to remove the report from circulation. “When you have the report that the digital divide is closing, and then you have — as alleged — over 60 million fraudulently, over-inflated numbers by BarrierFree, it seems to me that the only thing the chairman can do is take that report down,” Commissioner Starks said. An FCC spokesman said the agency is looking into the issue. BarrierFree’s Jim Gerbig said there was an error in the company’s filing with the FCC, and it doesn’t reflect the current level of broadband deployment. Gerbig said the company is working with the FCC to update its filing. “With the government shutdown in January, we were unable to submit revised documents before the full report went live,” Gerbig said.

Starks Says Pai Report Needs an Edit