Today’s Regulatory Mix: New York Investigation Alleges Campaign to Influence FCC’s Repeal of Net Neutrality Rules, Nebraska Enacts Broadband Funding Law, CCA Urges FCC to Reconsider RDOF Awards
New York Investigation Alleges Campaign to Influence FCC’s 2017 Repeal of Net Neutrality Rules
The New York Office of Attorney General (OAG) released a statement and report detailing the results of an investigation into fake, public comments submitted to the Federal Communications Commission in a 2017 proceeding to repeal net neutrality rules. Net neutrality prohibits broadband providers from blocking, slowing down, or charging companies to prioritize certain content on the internet. According to Attorney General Letitia James, the investigation uncovered widespread fraud as well as abusive practices used to sway government policy. The report concludes that the country’s largest broadband companies funded a secret advocacy campaign that generated millions of fake comments and messages to create the false impression of popular support. The report further noted that “The OAG has not found evidence that the broadband companies or their lobbying firm had direct knowledge that the lead generators they had funded engaged in fraud. As a result, the OAG has not found that these parties violated New York law. However, the conduct of these broadband companies and their lobbying firm raises serious concerns.”
Nebraska Enacts Broadband Funding Law
A new law in Nebraska directs the Public Service Commission (commission) to consider the implementation and operation of a “redirection” program that awards funding to broadband Internet service providers to support high-speed Internet infrastructure deployment projects in unserved or underserved exchanges. LB338 provides that “The commission may, in its discretion, withhold funding from the Nebraska Telecommunications Universal Service Fund to any telecommunications company that has not served, to the commission’s satisfaction, those areas with service that meets the criteria for successful investment of funding from the Nebraska Telecommunications Universal Service Fund.”
CCA Urges FCC to Reconsider RDOF Awards
The Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) submitted a white paper to the FCC declaring that “Pervasive errors in broadband data will soon send hundreds of millions of dollars of Federal broadband subsidies to areas of the country least in need of support.” According to the CCA, contrary to the goal of making broadband service available to those who need it most, subsidies awarded in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction include some of the country’s wealthiest and most densely populated areas. For these reasons, the CCA urged the FCC to reconsider these awards and funding to the census blocks that need it most.
The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.