The Chief Technology Officer for New York City resigned from the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee’s (BDAC). Miguel Gamiño becomes the second big-city official to leave the group, alleging a bias favoring industry interests.
“As the BDAC’s process is scheduled to come to a close, it is clear that despite good faith efforts by both the staff and members involved, the membership structure and meeting format of the BDAC has skewed the drafting of the proposed recommendations towards industry priorities without regard for a true public-private partnership,” said Gamiño in his resignation letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.
Roughly 75 percent of its members represent large telecoms, cable companies “or interests aligned with those companies,” which has resulted in “pre-packaged one-size-fits all proposals that industry lobbyists have pushed nationwide rather than working in a cooperative fashion to find creative solutions to dynamic local issues,” according to the official. Gamiño expressed his concerns with other municipal colleagues on the BDAC.
Pai tasked the BDAC last year with creating model codes for states and municipalities to facilitate broadband deployment. Gamiño was on the model code working group, which did not replace its vice chair, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who left due to concerns similar to Gamiño’s earlier this year, Inside Towers reported. Gamiño is concerned the current draft recommendations “could lead to municipalities entering into agreements with wireless providers that are counter to the interests of their constituents” and cannot recommend that a municipality adopt it without “significant legal and financial analysis.”
He remains committed to addressing the digital divide on behalf of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, who wants to provide affordable, high-speed internet to all New Yorkers by 2025. It’s imperative that the city engages in partnerships with the private sector to reach that goal, notes Gamiño. The city remains open to working with the FCC, other branches of the federal government, the telecom industry and other stakeholders, toward that goal, he states.
Pai previously defended the BDAC make-up, saying its members represent a diversity of views and those who best understand the issues. He noted that bridging the digital divide continues to be his top priority.
April 3, 2018