Q&A with Michael Copps: Trump Is Trying to Put FCC Out of Business

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A Q&A with former Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps.

On the revolving door between government and big business, Copps said, "I think the goal of [the Trump] administration and perhaps even [FCC Chairman Ajit Pai] is to put [the FCC] out of business. They’re trying to get rid of every rule and regulation they ever had that had to do with broadcast, they don’t want anything to do with net neutrality and an open Internet.  [They want to] give it all to the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission, which has very weak enforcement authority, it has no power even to write rules. But yet they’re saying, get it out of here, put it over there and pretty soon they’ll be able to put a 'Going Out of Business' sign over the front door of the Federal Communications Commission, which is an agency established in 1934 to serve the public interest. [Congress] gave the FCC a lot of powers, which the current Republican majority just denies… because they don’t believe in government."

On the subject of 162 million Americans who don't have broadband access, Copps said, "To me, access to broadband is a civil right, because I don’t think you can be a fully functioning member of our society, in terms of being able to find a job or educate yourself, the list just goes on and on, without having access to that basic communications [tool]that so influences all of our lives, the lives of those who have it."

[Michael Copps writes for the Benton Foundation's Digital Beat Blog, and currently leads the Media and Democracy Reform Initiative at Common Cause.]

Michael Copps Thinks Trump Is Trying to Put FCC Out of Business