Wheeler on No BDS Vote: Hospitals, Small Biz “Deserve Better”

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FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler hasn’t set his departure date from the Commission but promises to work towards a smooth transition. That word came after Thursday’s extremely short (10 minute) monthly meeting.

He acknowledged to reporters afterwards the meeting was so short because main agenda items were pulled. “Certain … colleagues identified the items on today’s proposed agenda as controversial and asked that they not be considered today. I hope that this doesn’t mean that these issues won’t be quickly addressed after the transfer of leadership from this agency.”

One item to impose rate caps rates for Business Data Services was pulled from the agenda due to GOP opposition, Inside Towers reported. “It is unfortunate that hospitals and small businesses in search of competitive alternatives will be denied that opportunity. They deserve better from this Commission.”  

Items concerning Universal Service Reform and carriers’ roaming obligations over LTE were pulled, too. Of those, the chairman said: “It is truly disappointing, 1.4 million Americans living in rural areas without LTE service will continue to be so deprived.”  

Asked whether he believes the next administration will roll back any of his big initiatives, without mentioning Net Neutrality by name, Wheeler said, “I think it’s an important thing to remember that taking a fast, fair and open internet away from the public and away from those who use it to offer services to the public would be a real mistake. Taking away, the concept that the American economy works best when there is competition, competition, competition would be a real mistake.”  

Asked whether his Commission will still be able to pass any more big-ticket issues before he leaves, Wheeler said some of those items remain circulating among the commissioners and he hopes he and his colleagues can continue to vote on some of those.

Wheeler said his office has not heard from President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, and is working with the “transition structure” set-up by the Obama administration “to begin the groundwork.”  

November 18, 2016

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