Everything Ajit Pai Has Fucked Up in the Last Three Months
The Federal Communications Commission voted today to eliminate price caps on broadband services for businesses, schools, libraries, and hospitals, known as Business Data Services (BDS). The argument advanced by FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, and the big telecoms who wanted this rule repealed, was that there is already “sufficient competition” in this market, and these price caps were getting in the way of the beautiful free market doing its thing. (As Motherboard noted, the Obama-era FCC pointed to research showing that 97 percent of BDS locations are served by just two providers, which doesn’t sound a lot like sufficient competition.) Without price caps and competition, incumbent providers can charge as much as they want to schools and libraries, who of course have been getting a free ride on providing internet to children for too long. Even freedom-loving Republicans like Sen. Tom Cotton asked the FCC to slow their roll on this proposal.
This is just the latest of a truly impressive series of terrible decisions by Pai, all done with a smile on his face and the song of liberty in his heart. In just three months, he’s managed to fuck up a lot of stuff. Here’s what he’s been busy doing.
Making it harder for the poor to get broadband
In March, Pai announced he would direct the FCC to eliminate the federal designation process for broadband providers under the LifeLine program, which provides subsidized phone and internet access for the poor. Doing so makes it incredibly hard for broadband providers to sign up for the program, which was only expanded to broadband last year; there are currently no states that actually have this approval process in place.