Senate Poised to Confirm Conflict of Interest-Plagued Biden Nominee

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Dell is working with Dish to create a private 5G wireless network, and needs 12 GHz spectrum – the radio frequency used to carry wireless information for services like TV and radio broadcasting, mobile phones and Wi-Fi to communications systems – in order to launch the network. But there are a few problems Dell and Dish have to figure out first. The Federal Communications Commission will have to decide whether to hand that limited resource over to Dell and Dish to create their network. It won’t be an easy case to make since Dish admits that its 5G network – and any mobile devices using the network – would interfere with, and block, internet service being provided by satellite internet companies. In other words, there’s a good chance that if the FCC allows the Dell/Dish 5G network, fewer people may end up with internet access. But Dell and Dish have a secret weapon: a very close relationship with progressive nonprofit public interest lobbying firm Public Knowledge, whose founder Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society] is on the verge of becoming an FCC commissioner. Public Knowledge is a leading voice encouraging the FCC to open up 12 GHz spectrum so that Dish can use it for 5G service. President Biden recently nominated Sohn to serve on the FCC and she is currently awaiting Senate approval. Obviously, given her ties to Dish, it’s not hard to imagine how Sohn would vote on issues related to spectrum allocation for the proposed Dell/Dish network. For the sake of the most disadvantaged and underserved residents of their states, Sens Joe Manchin (D-WV), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) must oppose Sohn’s nomination and force President Biden to nominate another person who is less problematic.

[Drew Johnson is a technology policy expert and government watchdog who serves as a scholar at several free market think tanks.]

Senate Poised to Confirm Conflict of Interest-plagued Biden Nominee