2017 Issue Watch
Net Neutrality Is FCC's Third Busiest Docket
To establish a baseline for a promised flood of network neutrality comments to the FCC, as of Thursday, the proceeding was listed as the third most active proceeding in terms of comments with 178 comments in the past 30 days. Universal Service Fund comments and Lifeline subsidy compliance forms are the busiest dockets with over a thousand in each.
At a press conference this week, Senate Democrats urged fans of the FCC's Title II-based Open Internet order to flood the FCC with new comments in support given that Republican chairman Ajit Pai is a strong opponent of that reclassification.
The FCC received more than four million comments when the FCC was coming up with the last Open Internet order, a stat Democrats often cite in arguing that the rules have broad support and should not be rolled back. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said this week that given the new threat to the rules by Republicans, the new public outcry would make that look minuscule. » Read More
Pai: Commissioners Will Vote on Consent Decrees
FCC chairman Ajit Pai says the Enforcement Bureau will no longer get to sign off on consent decrees settling proposed forfeitures without the commissioners voting on them.
That was the latest in a series of process reforms the new chairman is implementing in his first few weeks in the center seat.
"I have instructed the Enforcement Bureau that starting today, any consent decree settling a Notice of Apparent Liability or Forfeiture Order issued by the full Commission must now be approved by a vote of the full Commission," said Pai. "This will help promote Commissioners’ involvement in and accountability for important enforcement decisions."
Pai said that over "the past few years" — that would be under a Democratic chair or chairs — rather than the full commission voting, the bureau chief has been signing off on the settlements at the direction of the chairman's office. Most recently that would have been chairman Tom Wheeler and Enforcement Bureau chief Travis LeBlanc.
"That process ends now," he said, by which he meant more than rhetorically. Pai said the reform was in force immediately. In fact, he said the bureau had just Wednesday circulated a consent decree for the commissioners' consideration that would conclude an investigation approved by the full commission. » Read More