Mr. Wheeler, Tear Down That Wall

The FCC is the biggest impediment to rural broadband deployment, according to long-time industry consultant Dave Fridley of FARR Technologies. Fridley, expressing the frustration felt by many of his clients and colleagues (and some pundits), suggests the organization’s process causes regulatory uncertainty for his clients, which translates into investment uncertainty (see this Ex Parte and this GAO report, for examples). His comments echo FCC Commissioner Pai’s testimony before Congress this week that the FCC is falling behind in process reform and broadband deployment.

[Added 3/25/16]

160324-FCC Tweet promoting it proposed NPRM for set-tops.
Appropriate Tweet?

The tweet, published by the FCC on March 24th, 2016 about the Notice of Proposed Rule Making on set-top boxes, could be considered an example of what Mr. Fridley and Commissioner Pai suggest is an FCC that is undercutting its own commissioners, in favor of what the Chair is proposing.

Although the intention of the NPRM may be for the consumer not to need a new device, will that really be the case? How can the FCC make such a statement when this NPRM is still in the comment period? It may be that a gateway device is necessary for a consumer to “bring their own device” per the FCC’s requirements to split the content, metadata and encryption.

It seems  premature to this sort of strong pronouncement, and buttresses the statement made by Commissioner Pai in his testimony about the various ways the agency pressures Commissioners via the media;

“The agency’s media blitz often appears designed to exert pressure on other Commissioners, both Democrats and Republicans alike, to vote for the Chairman’s proposals.”

This post brought to you by FARR Technologies.

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