PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE | July 12, 2021
The Biden Administration issued a sweeping Executive Order late last week calling on federal agencies to stop anti-competitive practices in a host of industries – including telecommunications. The order called on the FCC to restore Net Neutrality provisions overturned in the previous Commission led by Ajit Pai, and urged the commission to end industry practices such as exclusive broadband contracts for multi-tenant buildings and developments. Here’s
the White House’s summary of the order.
There’s a lot to admire about the initiative – which also looks at anti-compete clauses in employment and other abusive but perfectly legal practices in different industries. There are just two problems with it when it comes to the FCC.
The first is the FCC is an independent Federal agency, and while the President can appoint leadership, she or he can’t dictate terms and conditions for what the Commission does or doesn’t do.
The second part is the President hasn’t taken advantage of his actual powers – and appointed a majority to the Commission to change abusive and absurd policies. Right now, the Commission has a tied 2-2 make up of Republican and Democratic appointees, and one of the Republican appointees has advocated that all Democratic initiatives be stymied for the next four years.
So even IF the Commission were to take initiatives to reverse bad policies, my sense is it couldn’t.
That’s why we’re urging the President to fill the fifth seat on the Commission and put a nomination forward to the US Senate without delay.
We’re asking all our members to join us in this effort – and we’d like your organization to sign on to a letter we’re sending the Administration this week.
and let us know if your organization would like to sign on. The deadline is this Thursday 7/15 at the end of business.
Public Policy Call Update
One other quick public policy update, our monthly briefing call will go on hiatus in August while most of Washington, DC goes on vacation and will resume on September 2. Let us know if you want invites to the call, or if there are folks in your organization who want to join the call – it’s a member benefit for you and your organization.