Category Archives: FCC

Warning Against ‘Democratic Version of Ajit Pai,’ Groups Call for FCC Pick Without Telecom Ties

“Americans desperately need a return to an FCC that is an empowered advocate for the public, not the telecom industry.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-11-2021

FCC chairman Ajit Pai, seen here at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference, on Monday backed the proposed merger of T-Mobile and Sprint. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

A coalition of nearly two dozen progressive advocacy groups launched a new campaign Thursday calling on President Joe Biden to fill the one remaining vacancy at the Federal Communications Commission with an official who is—at minimum—completely unconnected to the powerful telecom industry and fully dedicated to restoring net neutrality protections.

“The Biden administration has said getting people online during the pandemic is a top priority, and if that’s the case we need a real champ appointed to the FCC, ASAP—someone who isn’t beholden to big telecom companies because they used to work for them. The last thing we need is some Democratic version of Ajit Pai,” said Caitlin Seeley George of Fight for the Future, referring to the former Verizon attorney who served as Trump’s FCC chair. Continue reading

Share Button

‘Life-Changer for Millions’: FCC Approves Program to Help Poor Families Overcome Digital Divide During Pandemic

“As the pandemic nears its one-year mark, it’s only gotten harder for many people to afford essential internet connections to the remote learning, work, and healthcare services they need.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-27-2021

Photo: Nenad Stojkovic/flickr/CC

Advocates for boosting access to high-speed internet on Friday welcomed a unanimous vote by the Federal Communications Commission establishing the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to help low-income households across the country get and stay online during the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the $3.2 billion program, for which Congress allocated funding in the December relief package, eligible households will get discounts of up to $50 a month for broadband service. On tribal lands, the discount is $75 a month. Families will also be given a one-time discount of up to $100 for a computer or tablet. Continue reading

Share Button

FCC Head and Internet’s Most Hated Man Ajit Pai Just Vowed to Kill First Amendment Rights Online

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has vowed to reinterpret Section 230 of the Communications Act on President Trump’s orders in a move that threatens to curb what’s left of Americans’ first amendment rights online.

By Raul Diego.  Published 10-16-2020 by MintPress News

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai speaking at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Citing “censorship outcry” from the three branches of government, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced yesterday via tweet the agency’s intention to move forward with regulation of social media by looking to modify Section 230 of the Communications Act, which protects the likes of Facebook and Twitter from the parts of the U.S. code that opens publishers to legal challenges over the content posted to their platforms, which inevitably puts content creators, themselves, in the cross hairs of the legal system without the benefit of their first amendment rights.  Continue reading

Share Button

Global Digital Divide a ‘Barrier to Wider Equality’ That Must Be Closed, Says World Wide Web Inventor Tim Berners-Lee

“This inequality is a barrier to wider equality, and we know it most affects those who are already marginalized.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-12-2020

British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee gives a speech at MIT in 2018. (Photo: Belinda Lawley/Southbank Centre/Flickr/cc)

The inventor of the World Wide Web is warning that global inequality is being exacerbated by a lack of access to the internet for the poor and urging world leaders to act to close the gap and ensure equity of opportunity for those in developing countries.

“This inequality is a barrier to wider equality, and we know it most affects those who are already marginalized,” Tim Berners-Lee said during remarks at the launch of U.N. Secretary General António Guterres’ Roadmap for Digital Cooperation Thursday. Continue reading

Share Button

In ‘Tremendous Victory for the Public,’ Federal Appeals Court Quashes FCC Attempt to Weaken Media Ownership Rules

“The FCC must now do the job it’s long refused to do: properly weigh all of the evidence showing the impact of media consolidation on local communities.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-23-2019

FCC chairman Ajit Pai, seen here at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

Public interest groups celebrated Monday after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit quashed an effort by the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission to relax local media ownership rules.

“Today’s ruling is a tremendous victory for the public,” Free Press vice president of strategy and senior counsel Jessica J. González said in a statement. “It admonishes the Trump FCC for its complete failure to consider the impact of its ownership policies on women and people of color.” Continue reading

Share Button

Leaked Draft of Trump Executive Order to ‘Censor the Internet’ Denounced as Dangerous, Unconstitutional Edict

“In practice, this executive order would mean that whichever political party is in power could dictate what speech is allowed on the Internet.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-11-2019

“It’s hard to put into words how mind bogglingly absurd this executive order is,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, following a leaked White House draft of what her group has dubbed the ‘Censor the Internet’ order. Image: Public domain

Civil liberties groups are warning of a major threat to online freedoms and First Amendment rights if a leaked draft of a Trump administration edict—dubbed by critics as a “Censor the Internet” executive order that would give powerful federal agencies far-reaching powers to pick and choose which kind of Internet material is and is not acceptable—is allowed to go into effect.

According to CNN, which obtained a copy of the draft, the new rule “calls for the FCC to develop new regulations clarifying how and when the law protects social media websites when they decide to remove or suppress content on their platforms. Although still in its early stages and subject to change, the Trump administration’s draft order also calls for the Federal Trade Commission to take those new policies into account when it investigates or files lawsuits against misbehaving companies.” Continue reading

Share Button

Trump DOJ Denounced for Approving ‘Anti-Competitive, Anti-Consumer’ Merger of Sprint and T-Mobile

If the merger is allowed to move forward, critics warn, “consumers can expect to see higher prices, fewer choices, and less innovative offerings across the board.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-26-2019

As the Justice Department struck a deal with Sprint and T-Mobile on Friday, consumer advocates vowed, “we’ll continue to fight to stop this dangerous merger from going through.” Photo: Isriya Paireepairit/flickr

Consumer advocates decried the Department of Justice’s decision Friday to sign off on T-Mobile and Sprint’s proposed merger, warning that allowing the nation’s third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers to join forces will drive up prices and negatively impact low-income and marginalized communities.

In a statement, the DOJ announced that it had reached an agreement with five state attorneys general and the companies that makes the merger contingent on the divestment of “Sprint’s prepaid business, including Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and Sprint prepaid, to Dish Network Corp., a Colorado-based satellite television provider.” Continue reading

Share Button

Trump’s FCC Chair Accused of Betraying Public Interest Mandate by Backing T-Mobile/Sprint Mega-Merger

He “seems to take smug pleasure in being a blatant telecom shill.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-20-2019

FCC chairman Ajit Pai, seen here at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference, on Monday backed the proposed merger of T-Mobile and Sprint. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

Consumer advocates rebuked FCC chairman Ajit Pai on Monday after the Trump appointee backed the proposed mega-merger of T-Mobile and Sprint.

“Ajit Pai doesn’t even try to pretend that he works for the public,” said Fight for the Future deputy director Evan Greer. “He seems to take smug pleasure in being a blatant telecom shill.”

Pai’s approval followed what Engadget put as “a fresh round of promises [from the companies] to win regulators’ hearts.” Continue reading

Share Button

Over 300,000 Internet Users Tune In as Net Neutrality Bill Clears Major Hurdle ‘Unscathed’

Digital rights group Fight for the Future said so many people were watching the hearing online that they “broke the counter”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-26-2019

“The eruption of grassroots support had an impact, and the bill passed the subcommittee vote without issue,” Fight for the Future said in a statement. (Image: Sen. Patty Murray/Twitter)

The House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Tuesday passed the Save the Internet Act and overcame the telecom industry’s last-minute efforts to gut the bill—all as more than 300,000 internet users watched the proceedings throughout the day.

“So many people were watching an obscure subcommittee hearing on the Save the Net Act today that it broke the counter,” tweeted the digital rights group Fight for the Future. Continue reading

Share Button

With ‘Nothing Less Than Fate of the Internet’ at Stake, Federal Court Told Why FCC’s Attack on Net Neutrality So Dangerous

“Without protecting net neutrality,” broadband providers “will control the internet experiences of everyone. And that cannot be what happens.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-2-2019

Net neutrality advocates rallied outside the Lincoln, Nebraska office of Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) on July 13, 2018 to urge him to support a measure that would restore net neutrality protections nationwide. (Photo: @IndivisibleLNK/Twitter)

Advocates of net neutrality had their eyes on a federal court on Friday, where the showdown over the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) repeal of the Obama-era open internet protections continued.

At the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, oral arguments in Mozilla v. FCC were heard. In that suit, which The Verge frames as “one of the most important cases in internet law history,” technology and advocacy groups joined by over 20 state attorneys general challenge the FCC’s 2017 gutting of net neutrality.  Continue reading

Share Button