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.

IRREGULATORS FILE COMMENTS IN SETTLEMENT CASE AGAINST VERIZON NY

 

  • COMMENT 1: Overview and bibliography
  • COMMENT 2: Huffington Post: Verizon NY in Multi-Billion Dollar Settlement Tangle, Underway in NY State.
  • COMMENT 3: Full Report: Verizon NY 2016 Annual Report: Follow the Money: Financial Analysis and Implications

Comment 1:    IRREGULATORS & New Networks Institute

We submit Comment 1 as a short overview as well as a bibliography of our research, which is directly tied to this proceeding, as discussed below. It also gives a brief discussion of issues that have been overlooked or are missing and need to be part of the next steps the State should be implementing. Comment 2 is a more detailed view (that has been published in Huffington Post) of the current proceeding and a Verizon settlement. Comment 3 is a full report based on our analysis of the Verizon NY’s 2016 Annual Report.

Overview

IRREGULATORS FILE COMMENTS WITH FCC AND JOINT BOARD

On May 24th, 2017, the IRREGULATORS filed comments with the FCC and the Joint Board

The Federal State Joint Board has asked:
  •  Re: Federal State Joint Board on Jurisdictional Separations Seeks to Refresh Record on Issues Related to Jurisdictional Separations, FCC 17J-1
  •  Re: Federal State Joint Board on Separations Seeks Comment on Referral for Recommendations of Rule Changes to Part 36 as a Result of Commission Revisions to Part 32 Accounting Rules, FCC 17J-2

FREE DOWNLOAD: “The Book of Broken Promises: $400 Billion Broadband Scandal & Free the Net”

Huffington Post

The Book of Broken Promises

“Kushnick’s Law”

“A regulated company will always renege on promises to provide public benefits tomorrow in exchange for regulatory and financial benefits today.”

America’s households and businesses have been overcharged at least nine times for broadband/fiber optic services, including the wiring of schools, libraries, and hospitals— about $4000-$7000 per household, and the total is way over ½ trillion dollars by 2016. You can thank just a few companies: AT&T, Verizon and Centurylink, who control the state-based utilities, along with the cable companies, Comcast and now-Spectrum et al. And this is the low number.

The 3rd book in a trilogy that started in 1998, “The Book of Broken Promises” by Bruce Kushnick, proves that few have a clue about the factual history of broadband, much less fiber optic deployments in America that customers paid for, especially the FCC.

April 2017 was Infrastructure Month at the FCC; shame you weren’t told the truth. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a former Verizon attorney, has been making sure you hear the fake history of broadband and the Internet, which is being used to create exceedingly harmful public policies, and this needs to be stopped, now.

And regardless of what you heard, Verizon, AT&T and CenturyLink control the state telecommunications utilities, such as Verizon NY or AT&T-California, a fact that has been erased. And the copper wires, as well as most of the fiber optic wires are part of these state utilities, including those used for FiOS or the wires to the cell sites, or all of the other ‘business data services’ (BDS). And they have been funded mainly by local phone customers—and are classified as something called “Title II”.

(Yes, AT&T and Verizon are also wireless companies, and ISPs, and cable companies, and broadband companies, and more recently ad-tech and entertainment companies. However, almost all of it uses the state utility wires, especially in their own territories.)

Here’s What Actually Happened (For details, download the book.)

Read More

STOP ALL IMPORTANT FCC VOTES UNTIL THERE ARE THE REQUIRED 5 COMMISSIONERS.

I believe that the potted plants, as shown in the picture above, are not a substitute for the two FCC commissioners that are missing from this picture and should be helping to add balance to the lopsided reign of terror currently underway. While three FCC commissioners legally constitutes a quorum, I’d trust the votes of the potted plants, (Dieffenbachia, I believe) over this group.

There are supposed to be 5, I repeat, 5 commissioners at the FCC. There are now only 3, with only 1 person, Chairman Ajit Pai, a former Verizon attorney, calling the shots. (More likely, there is undue influence from the Executive branch making decisions to remove basic privacy rights and coming up— to trash Net Neutrality.)

On April 20th, 2017 the FCC is going to have a meeting and it is going to be a consumer and competitor bloodbath. The FCC has already put forth their proposed rules in multiple areas, including the “IP Transition”, to the hotly contested “Broadband Data Services”. But, the overall plan is to remove all regulations and obligations on the incumbent phone utility companies: AT&T, Verizon and Centurylink. (You didn’t know that they are still ‘utilities’?)

In short, this is an all out assault on the public interest. And I’ll come back to what’s about to happen in a moment.

Just to recap, the new FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, has taken control of the FCC with the help of his other Republican Commissioner, Michael O’Rielly. This has left a vacuum and a guarantee that there will be no serious discussion of any FCC decision because there is one Democrat, Mignon Clyburn, and she is not a lawyer. There was initially some lip service to have a former Dem Commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel return, but that would have created, well, a stalemate with 2 Dems and 2 Republicans.