Federal Communications Commission
Our major companies should have a workforce that looks like America, from entry-level positions to the board of directors. As I have long advocated, diversity is more than just best practices – it is good business. I appreciate how this principle is reflected in the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between T-Mobile and the National Urban League, National Action Network, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC, OCA–Asian Pacific American Advocates, the League of United Latin American Citizens, and UnidosUS.
The expert staff of the Commission and the Justice Department have agreed that the merger between TMobile and Sprint, as originally submitted, would likely harm competition and raise prices. Rather than denying that merger, however, the majority has turned to the parties for paper-thin commitments that they contend will expand broadband access and the deployment of 5G. But these promises cannot mask reality. You don’t need to be an expert to know that going from four wireless carriers to three will hurt competition. This merger takes a bad situation and makes it worse.
We’ve all seen what happens when markets become more concentrated after a merger like this one. In the airline industry, it brought us baggage fees and smaller seats. In the pharmaceutical industry, it led to a handful of drug companies raising the prices of lifesaving medications. There’s no reason to think this time will be different. Overwhelming evidence demonstrates that the T-Mobile-Sprint merger will reduce competition, raise prices, lower quality, and slow innovation.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr announced that Ben Arden will join his office on detail as Acting Legal Advisor for media issues. Arden is currently the Associate Chief of the Media Bureau’s Video Division, having recently returned to the FCC following a year in Rwanda where he served as a program specialist for a USAID-funded project designed to increase access to justice and enhance the rule of law in Rwanda. He previously held various positions in the Media Bureau’s Industry Analysis Division, most recently serving as Deputy Division Chief.
The Federal Communications Commission authorized over $61.8 million in funding over the next decade to expand broadband to nearly 22,000 unserved rural homes and businesses in 14 states, representing the sixth wave of support from 2018’s successful Connect America Fund Phase II auction. Broadband providers will begin receiving funding later in Oct. This action brings total authorized funding to nearly $1.2 billion, which will expand connectivity to 409,661 homes and businesses nationwide. Additional rounds will be authorized in the coming months.
The Federal Communications Commission has officially rescinded the portion of its rules that exempted certain wireless facilities deployments from local environmental and historic preservation reviews. An order from the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau indicated there had been no need to put the order out for public notice and comment since it was simply implementing a court mandate from which the FCC had no discretion to deviate.
The rights enshrined in the First Amendment, including freedom of speech and freedom of the press, guide the Federal Communications Commission’s public interest standard, which must inform everything that we do. But the fact that those celebrated words were written into the Bill of Rights does not, in and of itself, guarantee that it will work as intended. The First Amendment is not self-executing. Preserving its guarantees requires the vigilance of regulators, the media, and the public alike. Ida B.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the items below are tentatively on the agenda for the October Open Commission Meeting scheduled for Friday, October 25, 2019.