Clyburn: Big Broadband Gets a ‘Hall Pass’ in Tomorrow’s Vote

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn is decrying at least one change the FCC is slated to vote on tomorrow regarding tower siting and rights-of-way.

“The majority will take actions that benefit the largest providers to the detriment of smaller companies, and to the detriment of consumers” she told attendees at a regional broadband summit hosted by Next Century Cities in Mesa, AZ yesterday. “States and localities are okay to regulate but [large] broadband providers, I believe, are getting a hall pass.”  

The change concerns the Lifeline Program, which helps provide connectivity to low-income areas. Last year the FCC gave low-income consumers in the program the option to save $9.25 per month, however the majority says the program needs to be on a strict budget and will drop that option, according to the Democratic commissioner who opposes the change.

Asked about infrastructure capacity challenges concerning 5G and smaller municipalities, Clyburn said she’s tried to address the issue. Some jurisdictions simply don’t have the personnel to process the application paperwork quickly, she said.

“Montgomery [Alabama] came in and said ‘We’re not trying to slow this down, we need help.’ We need a series of conversations to figure out how everybody wins,” said Clyburn. That would be “short of a clear backstop authority that we [meaning the FCC] pre-empt the states. But I don’t think we need to do that.”

April 19, 2017      

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