IRREGULATORS: Stop the FCC and Investigate AT&T, Verizon, Et Al

08/04/2017 02:22 pm ET

The FCC has put out a series of harmful proposed actions and regulations, all under the name “Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment”.

It should be called “Preempt state laws to allow the shut off of the retail wired services so that the companies can get rid of any obligations, (get rid of the unions), and only provide inferior wireless services (in place of a fiber optic wire to the home)—because it makes the companies more money. At the same time, the companies and the FCC will make outrageous claims about the future of “5G”, a wireless service that does not exist today and may never work as advertised. Ironically, “4G+1G HYPE” requires a fiber optic wire every block or two; no company is going to do that wiring. And the FCC has already gotten rid of the right of competitors to use any upgraded basic data networks (copper or fiber). Worse, once they get rid of Net Neutrality and privacy restrictions, the plan is to beef up the ad-tech to track you on all devices and sell the information. And keeping with their ‘say anything’ playbook, by using the magical terms ‘broadband’, ‘Internet’, ‘Digital Divide’, ‘revolution’ and ‘new tech’ as political carrots, the companies can get more subsidies and help from the government.

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This is what the FCC and companies have planned. We have a different take.

Every state, every city and every citizen should demand that the FCC stop the current series of proceedings to ‘shut off the copper’ and preempt state laws and request that the FCC start audits and investigations into the Agency’s own cost accounting rules and the massive financial cross-subsidies its own rules have created.

At the same time, every state, every city and every citizen should request that the state commissions, AG and advocate offices start state-based audits and investigations, as has been going on at the NY Public Service Commission (NYPSC), which has been examining Verizon New York’s (the state telecommunications utility) quality of service issues and financial cross-subsidies of the affiliate companies and the state utility.

In fact, at this time, Verizon has started to discuss a settlement, which we will address in an upcoming article.

We summarized our analysis in a new report: “Verizon New York 2016 Annual Report: Follow the Money: Financial Analysis and Implications” (which was also filed as part of comments at the FCC).

Moreover, while the FCC’s current proceeding is called “Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment”, one other thing needs to be stressed:

—History shows that this has virtually never worked and neither the FCC, the state commissions, or AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink, or their co-opted and funded-groups, think tanks and experts—have ever discussed this fact.

And just to prove that the FCC et al. is clueless or in denial about the history of broadband, internet and the hundreds of billions of dollars in investment incentives that were given, over and over, to what is now AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink to upgrade the copper wires to fiber optics, we have put “The Book of Broken Promises” into the record to stress this point.

The FCC should be asking – Why is most of America’s telecommunications infrastructure still based on the aging copper wires and not fiber optic wires? Where did all the money go?

In the end, the IRREGULATORS believe that the FCC needs to be taken to court over the decision they will make in this proceeding and we hope that commenters, organizations, cities and state organizations, and citizens will join us in these next steps.

In fact, based on history, we file this knowing that this FCC will not take any action based on our filings, will ignore basic facts and documentation that refute their plans and has been doing this long before this proceeding.

And, we challenge the FCC to a public debate in DC on this and the related proceedings. The FCC refuses to take seriously any of the data and facts we’ve presented in our previous filings, including the recent report submitted that used the Verizon New York 2016 Annual Report as the foundation of our analysis.

In short, the FCC has been working for the industry, not the public interest. The FCC’s goal is to remove basic consumer protections, free AT&T, Verizon et al. from any obligations of offering service, and erase the basic cost accounting rules instead of auditing the impacts that their rules have had.

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