The FCC Votes to Abandon Rural and Low-Income Americans
On Thursday, the current FCC commission continued its campaign to loosen protections for consumers while doing the bidding of major corporations. The five-person commission voted on numerous items today, and there’s not a whole lot of good news.
Anyone watching the mind-numbing arguments for each item on the FCC commissions agenda today could easily walk away thinking that all of the votes were sensible and this agency is doing a great job. The motions had names like “Bridging the Digital Divide for Low-Income Consumers” and “Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment.” Terms like “modernization” were thrown around often and debates were framed around how these initiatives would help the very people they are designed to harm. All the while FCC Chairman Ajit Pai chuckled along, shook his head, and used odd analogies to support the moves.
The biggest change that passed today is being framed as “streamlining rules to speed transition to modern broadband networks.” Telecoms don’t care to maintain older copper networks that provide phone service and DSL internet to many Americans. The antiquated tech isn’t exactly a big moneymaker these days, but for many people, this is their only or best option to connect to the web. A study in 2015 found that 17.5 million Americans were on DSL. But the telecoms would rather focus on the areas where they know they can juice profits, and there’s little motivation for them to deploy fiber to many of these homes that are still relying on slow broadband.