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Businesses Communications The Almighty Buck

Almost All of FCC's New Advisory Panel Works For Telecoms (thedailybeast.com) 84

New submitter simkel writes: When the Federal Communications Commission went looking this year for experts to sit on an advisory committee regarding deployment of high-speed internet, Gary Carter thought he would be a logical choice. Carter works for the city of Santa Monica, California, where he oversees City Net, one of the oldest municipal-run networks in the nation. The network sells high-speed internet to local businesses, and uses the revenue in part to connect low-income neighborhoods. That experience seemed to be a good match for the proposed Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC), which FCC Chairman Ajit Pai created this year. One of the panel's stated goals is to streamline city and state rules that might accelerate installation of high-speed internet. But one of the unstated goals, members say, is to make it easier for companies to build networks for the next generation wireless technology, called 5G. The advanced network, which promises faster speeds, will require that millions of small cells and towers be erected nationwide on city- and state-owned public property. The assignment seemed to call out for participation from city officials like Carter, since municipal officials approve where and what equipment telecommunications companies can place on public rights of way, poles and buildings. But the FCC didn't choose Carter -- or almost any of the other city or state government officials who applied. Sixty-four city and state officials were nominated for the panel, but the agency initially chose only two: Sam Liccardo, mayor of San Jose, California, and Kelleigh Cole from the Utah Governor's Office, according to documents obtained by the Center for Public Integrity through a Freedom of Information Act request. Pai later appointed another city official, Andy Huckaba, a member of the Lenexa, Kansas, city council. Instead the FCC loaded the 30-member panel with corporate executives, trade groups and free-market scholars. More than three out of four seats on the BDAC are filled by business-friendly representatives from the biggest wireless and cable companies such as AT&T, Comcast, Sprint, and TDS Telecom. Crown Castle International Corp., the nation's largest wireless infrastructure company, and Southern, the nation's second-largest utility firm, have representatives on the panel.

Almost All of FCC's New Advisory Panel Works For Telecoms

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  • Regulatory Capture (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bravecanadian ( 638315 ) on Friday August 11, 2017 @02:01PM (#54992455)

    Another victory for capitalism! wooooo!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Well yeah. See they will eliminate all those needless combersome regukations and pass the vost savings onto to consumer.

      Ahahahaha....i crack myself up! I should do standup

    • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Friday August 11, 2017 @02:15PM (#54992565)
      This would seem to be an argument for why it's a bad idea to create a bureaucracy that gets to make rules without being answerable to the public. Once you create a small entity with this much power, of course it's going to become a target for corruption.

      Even just requiring Congressional approval for any FCC policy recommendations would go a long way towards solving the problem. I can at least write my Congress critter and vote them out if I don't like their performance. There's nothing I can do to hold the FCC accountable.
      • Once you create a small entity with this much power, of course it's going to become a target for corruption.

        This argument doesn't track at all, else Congress' composition would look a lot different.

        There's nothing I can do to hold the FCC accountable.

        Sure there is. The President appoints, and the Senate confirms. Call those idiots up, and don't forget to vote.
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by Rockoon ( 1252108 )
      Us older folks told you not to trust the FCC. We told you that "Net Neutrality" as-a-law was written by the telecoms.

      You folks didnt listen. You wanted Big Government to solve your Local Problems. Hows that going now?

      The guy leading the FCC now is only beholden to cellular, which is why the FCCs stand now is that only Cellular should be built-out with public money, and not Cable or even Satellite.

      Don't trust anything the federal government does, and especially don't trust anything the FCC does. Its ne
      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday August 11, 2017 @02:29PM (#54992657)

        We told you that "Net Neutrality" as-a-law was written by the telecoms.

        Bullcrap. The telcoms have always opposed NN, and have worked hard and spent a lot of money to get it repealed.

        • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Friday August 11, 2017 @04:17PM (#54993477) Homepage

          The telecoms have been for a "Network Neutrality" law passed by Congress. The catch was that the law was written by the telecoms and would be so full of loopholes that it would be useless. This way, the telecoms could claim to be observing Net Neutrality, Congress could say they voted for Net Neutrality, and people who didn't know better would think Net Neutrality won. It's like when they get legislators to count a town as "wired for high speed Internet" when one house in the town is wired. Then, they just wire the bare minimum (perhaps a rich section of town), call the job done, and pocket the rest of the funds they were given to wire the town.

          • The catch was that the law was written by the telecoms

            Bullcrap. The telecoms never wrote any network neutrality law. Why would they? They are getting everything they want by packing the FCC with cronies.

            Feel free to prove me wrong by posting a citation.

      • by DewDude ( 537374 )
        They tried a voluntary Neutrality agreement. Big Telcoms got with Wheeler and supposedly came to agreements.

        Then they sued him for trying to actually enforce them!

        The Telcoms HAD their chance to write the NN...and they still didn't want what they came up with. So trying to pass off the telecoms came up with it from the start would be fine...if it wasn't for the big god-damn hole of how much they sued to not get them enacted.

        Corporations that operate in multiple states really isn't a "local problem". We u
        • They tried a voluntary Neutrality agreement. Big Telcoms got with Wheeler and supposedly came to agreements.

          Because they didnt want congress to be involved. It would require a ton of lobbying money to control that.

          Then they sued him for trying to actually enforce them!

          Because congress backed off. The telecoms decided the rules via the FCC, not congress, and now they want to change the rules, with congress busy trying to start World War 3, they dont even have to pretend.

          They learned it by watching Hollywood convince congress to let them self-regulate via an association that is very powerful today.

      • by whit3 ( 318913 )

        Us older folks told you not to trust the FCC. We told you that "Net Neutrality" as-a-law was written by the telecoms.... Don't trust anything the federal government does, and especially don't trust anything the FCC does. Its never in your best interests. It never was.

        History shows us otherwise. Mail used to be private enterprise but that encouraged and allowed a lot of problems.. Federal postal service was the solution.

        Ben Franklin writes in his autobiography

        Bradford; who was rich and easy, did a

    • Drain that swamp! MAGA! /s

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Friday August 11, 2017 @02:12PM (#54992537)
    so I'll vent a little here. We all knew this was coming when the Donald got elected. He's made no secret of his disdain for bureaucrats and his love of business people. Thing is, I'll take a bureaucrat over a businessman in government any day. I _want_ the people running my country to be free from industry ties. And how the hell else do you accomplish that except by having career civil servants? Folks need to understand a) elections have consequences and b) Civil Servant == bureaucrat.
    • by parallel_prankster ( 1455313 ) on Friday August 11, 2017 @02:30PM (#54992661)

      Trump was elected by folks who have no idea of how government runs. They were scared of extinction of their way of life, their religious beliefs and they compromised other things for the preservation of their choices. The entire business over bureaucracy stuff was just fluffy excuses.

      • by G00F ( 241765 )

        No, Trump was elected because his opponent was Hilary Clinton.

        Tump got the Republican nomination because Reps where sick of Reps Politicians.

        Hilary would have lost to almost any Republican except Bush. IMO it's to bad McCain or Romney didn't run this time as it could have been them.

        • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Friday August 11, 2017 @03:30PM (#54993189)
          it's all the same Goldman Sach's people running the show and we'd still be gearing up for war with North Korea. The difference is Romney would have gotten the Obamacare repeal through and we'd all be losing pre-existing coverage. Trump is like any other Republican but not as good at it. Lots and lots of cronyism, Low taxes, no regulation/EPA and no social programs. Romney's the same but he's better at it. As for McCain, he's got about a year left in him so a vote for him was really a vote for his VP. And that probably woulda still been Pence.
        • Trump was elected because stupid people cast ballots for him, period. How do I know they're stupid? Because the only reasons you would vote for him are A.) Because you thought he would make a good president, which makes you gullible and stupid or B.) Because he's not Hillary, which also makes you stupid because you would put a sociopathic POS like Trump into the most powerful position in the world just to spite Hillary... A write-in of "Bugs Bunny" would have been better and smarter than a vote for Trump.
      • Everyone says they want a business guy in office. But Trump isn't really what they meant, he's a real estate wheeler and dealer and has a privately owned business staffed by friends and family. The voters probably had in mind someone like a CEO of a large fortune 500 company.

        But even then, being a successful CEO at a major successful company does not mean that person knows how to run a country. The skill sets do no overlap very much, other than how to manage a large organization (hire a chief of stuff and

    • by El Cubano ( 631386 ) on Friday August 11, 2017 @02:33PM (#54992697)

      In my mind, the real lesson to draw from this is that every time you think to yourself "the government should [fill-in-the-blank]," you need to stop right there and perform a thought experiment. The procedure is:

      1. Imagine that you got your way and that all the power you wish to grant to the government on the issue at hand gets granted
      2. Now, imagine that after the power is firmly entrenched that those who hold opposing views to yours are put in power (win the election, get appointed, etc.)
      3. Now, imagine that those who have an opposing view to yours twist and use the power granted to them (legally) in the most damaging way possible
      4. Now, imagine that both those who have views congruent with yours and opposed to yours will abuse the law and the power that they have been granted
      5. Now, imagine yourself saying, "maybe the government shouldn't..."

      I am not trying to say that we should strive for anarchy, rather that we should very carefully consider the sorts of things that we rope the government into at the federal, state, and local level. Matters in which the government gets involved frequently turn out differently than we expect.

      • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Friday August 11, 2017 @03:33PM (#54993219)
        you hand it tasks. Then you use Democracy to make sure those tasks don't turn into power. Now, here's another thought experiement:

        Every time you think to yourself "the government should [fill-in-the-blank],"

        then say "maybe they government shouldnt..."

        Now remind yourself of the power vacuum you just created and how the mega corporations just rushed in to fill it. Stop to realized you're going to have a government whether you like it or not, and that the only real question is are you going to take part in it...
        • You don't hand government power you hand it tasks.

          Keep telling yourself that, if it makes you feel better. I mean sure, we don't have a problem with corruption or abuse of power by politicians and bureaucrats, because we don't give them power. In fact, the news is not chock-full of stories of precisely that theme. Furthermore, the United States Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, does not begin with the words The Congress shall have the power, followed by the phrases executive power and he [the president] shall have the power elsewhere in the Constituti

          • you're not going to get away from corruption of power by burying your head in the sand and declaring the end of government. If you fail to create powerful centralized organizations for regulating civilization somebody else will. Maybe they won't call it a government (that'll make you feel better). Maybe they'll call it an anarcho-conglomerate or some other nonsense. But it'll be a government just the same. The differnece is you'll have zero say in how it's run.

            Think of government like any other powerful
      • And then go on to think:
        Is it better for me that a government bureaucrat with some minimal accountability controls something, or that a multi-billionaire, who is only interested in himself (and perhaps his family) controls something?

        Do you think that the policies that the Koch Brothers and the Mercers push are intended to benefit anyone except the ultra-wealthy?

        • Is it better for me that a government bureaucrat with some minimal accountability controls something, or that a multi-billionaire, who is only interested in himself (and perhaps his family) controls something?

          That is a false dichotomy. Take healthcare for example. I should be free to buy my healthcare from whomever choose, from whatever state I choose, or even to not buy healthcare if I don't want it. Instead, we have the Affordable Care Act, which actually did nothing to solve any of the real problems that we have with healthcare in the (i.e., lack of primary care physicians, lack of ability to purchase healthcare and health insurances across state lines, and lack of price transparency in healthcare). Inste

          • .... RNC talking points ....

            Perhaps you could start by having an original thought and not parrot Republican talking points.

          • unless you a) very, very lucky or b) willing to eat a bullet the moment you need something more complicated than a set bone. Healthcare is needed to live. Human bodies need regular maintenance past the age of about 50 (40 if you're unlucky). We're machines made of meat. And like any machine we break down over time. How well built you are is largely due to chance. Genetics, upbringing. You can't control those (no, you can't control upbringing because you can't pick your parents).

            Healthcare is a right, no
  • by Kohath ( 38547 )

    They should have hired homeless people instead?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They should have hired homeless people instead?

      Apparently, there are only two kinds of people in the world, telecom executives and homeless people.

      • by Kohath ( 38547 )

        Medical Doctors then? I'm sure they know a lot about 5G communications.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Would it make more sense to have a regulatory panel filled with radio hobbyists or people knowledgeable about how the industry actually runs? As much as I'd like to say hobbyists or enthusiasts, those aren't the people who drive where the various industries under the FCC umbrella are likely to go. As for checks, the agency has congressional oversight, so there are always ways to influence that way. Comment periods and working groups are filled by people who work directly for and indirectly with the indus

  • Hen house.... Insert angry emoji
  • "free-market scholars".... yeah. whatever.

    I believe a liberated market could easily solve our availablity/cost/privacy/etc. issues easily and quickly. I suspect the "free-market scholars" mentioned here are actually the usual beltway telecom shills that wont be advocating any such liberalization. On the other hand people don't hesitate to blame the failures and inadequacies of this highly regulated and monopoly dominated system to "capitalism," so I suppose the shills are free to call themselves whatev

  • Looks like the fox is guarding the hen house.....

    How can that NOT be a conflict of interest?

    People wonder why I just don't give a shit about politics and stuff like this anymore.

    "Just run for office!!" "Vote them out!!"

    Yeah right. Do you realize how LONG it would take in a political career to effect REAL change? ... and the odds of not be corrupted by money along the way?

How many Unix hacks does it take to change a light bulb? Let's see, can you use a shell script for that or does it need a C program?

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