November 18, 2017

The FCC vs. the people

CNET -The Republican-led FCC is making good on its promise to deregulate the communications industry, including a revamp of media ownership rules that will make it easier for big companies to own newspapers and more broadcast stations in a single market....

The Federal Communications Commission voted on several controversial items that strip away regulation. Most notably it voted to loosen 40-year-old media ownership rules as well as rules that required phone companies to maintain their old copper infrastructure while they transition to new fiber networks. Additionally, the FCC also adopted reforms to the Lifeline program, which subsidizes phone and broadband service for low-income people. The votes were 3-2, along party lines.

The divisive votes come as Chairman Ajit Pai, appointed by President Donald Trump in January, has aggressively worked to roll back many of the marquee regulations adopted under President Barack Obama's administration. Next month, the agency is expected to vote on a proposal that would dismantle Obama-era net neutrality rules adopted in 2015. These popular regulations bar internet service providers from blocking or slowing online content or allowing broadband companies to charge internet companies to deliver web content to their customers faster.

The most dramatic change was the agency's 3-2 vote to loosen media ownership rules in place since 1975. Under these changes, broadcasters could combine with a newspaper in the same market. They also could own two of the top four stations in any city.

The new rules will likely be challenged in court, but if they survive, they are a significant change in media ownership regulations and could lead to further consolidation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is quite likely that Trump would have found someone as monstrous as Pai to chair the FCC, relying only on advice from Nike Pence and the Kochs. But he didn't have to. We should always remember that President Obama placed Pai on the FCC, along with lobbyist and Obama bundler Tom Wheeler. By the time Trump came along, the vile Pai had all the credentials and experience necessary to rapidly execute a reactionary agenda as Chair. As we look to rebuild from the Trump disaster we need to remember that it was the failures of the Democrats that gave a turd like Trump any shot at success. Restoring the Clinton/Obama corporate Democrats to power will just lead to more failure. We need to do better.