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Communications Businesses Government The Internet United States

FCC is Hurting Consumers To Help Corporations, Mignon Clyburn Says On Exit (arstechnica.com) 100

Former Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who left the agency this month, has taken aim at it in an interview, saying the agency has abandoned its mission to safeguard consumers and protect their privacy and speech. From her interview with ArsTechnica: "I'm an old Trekkie," Clyburn told Ars in a phone interview, while comparing the FCC's responsibility to the Star Trek fictional universe's Prime Directive. "I go back to my core, my prime directive of putting consumers first." If the FCC doesn't do all it can to bring affordable communications services to everyone in the US, "our mission will not be realized," she said. The FCC's top priority, as set out by the Communications Act, is to make sure all Americans have "affordable, efficient, and effective" access to communications services, Clyburn said. But too often, the FCC's Republican majority led by Chairman Ajit Pai is prioritizing the desires of corporations over consumers, Clyburn said. "I don't believe it's accidental that we are called regulators," she said. "Some people at the federal level try to shy away from that title. I embrace it."

Clyburn said that deregulation isn't bad in markets with robust competition, because competition itself can protect consumers. But "that is just not the case" in broadband, she said. "Let's just face it, [Internet service providers] are last-mile monopolies," she told Ars. "In an ideal world, we wouldn't need regulation. We don't live in an ideal world, all markets are not competitive, and when that is the case, that is why agencies like the FCC were constructed. We are here as a substitute for competition." Broadband regulators should strike a balance that protects consumers and promotes investment from large and small companies, she said. "If you don't regulate appropriately, things go too far one way or the other, and we either have prices that are too high or an insufficient amount of resources or applications or services to meet the needs of Americans," Clyburn said.

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FCC is Hurting Consumers To Help Corporations, Mignon Clyburn Says On Exit

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  • The FCC is a shill for ISPs... pretty much as we suspected.

    Well, there's always regime change to look forward to.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I don't know why everyone unloads on the Federal government when the your local government is the source of the problem. Local imposed monopolies of the last mile. Lift that restriction and bam you have a free market. I would complain to your local city council your local township boards etc... Blaming the federal government for making government smaller is complete irony.

  • ...dog bites man. Film at 11.
  • Get rid of all the current regulation and simply force the companies to split in to wholesale and retail and regulate the price of wholesale.

    You'll then get healthy competition in the retail market due to a low entry barrier.

    • by jythie ( 914043 )
      Decades ago this is how it worked, more or less. You had a telecom that you bought you line from and an ISP you bought your service from. At the time a typical area had dozens of broadband ISPs, with new ones able to pop up fairly easily and lots of small ones filling niche needs. It was really great. But then there was too much money to be made wrapping the two parts up, and even more money if you bound up telecom, ISP, and media provider, so they got the rules changed. It would be nice if we could go
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Decode the federal politics of words like "affordable, efficient, and effective".
      When one part of a city can afford a new network it won't be allowed to design a new network.
      "Affordable" - every part of the city has to pay the same low cost for any new network plan.
      "Efficient" - everyone all over a city gets the new network investment at a lower cost.
      "Effective" - poor areas of the city get new network investment even if the network costs will never be recovered.

      The result is everyone stays on the sa
      • by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Monday May 21, 2018 @08:56PM (#56650566)

        This started in New Zealand with the government forcing the incumbent telco to provide price regulated wholesale broadband to retail ISP's over their copper network - They either had to sell services to ISP's or allow the ISP's to install their own DSLAM's in their exchanges so they could run their own DSL services over the existing copper.

        The incumbent then got split in to two separate companies providing wholesale network services in one and retail services in the other.

        We now have the choice of dozens of different ISP's, all offering their own benefits and low cost of switching between companies.
        Infrastructure investment hasn't stopped either. By 2022 87% of the population will have fibre to their home.
        Over 40% of people who have fibre available have already switched and the rollout is running ahead of schedule.

    • We certainly need wholesale price regulation. If wal-mart gets price A everyone else should also get price A from the same vendor.

  • On federal monopoly telcos using paper insulated wireline.
    Let different parts of the USA who are innovative design their own community broadband and escape federal NN rules.
    Why should every part of the USA be held back by federal NN rules when amazing new community networks could be funded?
    Why is the USA getting held back for decades on affordable, efficient, and effective wireline?
    What not let local communities build their own affordable, efficient and fast new networks? Attract new investment with
    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      I suppose someone should tell you: NN has nothing to do with when you can or cannot upgrade your network.

  • by GlennC ( 96879 ) on Monday May 21, 2018 @08:08PM (#56650314)

    Remember that. It doesn't matter if the "Democrats" or "Republicans" are in charge, they have not represented the average American citizen for a long while.

    • they're the "Bernie" Wing of the party. They're the only ones that refuse corporate PAC money. It's a requirement to join. Show up at your primary. There's plenty of candidates there and your vote is incredibly powerful in a primary because hardly anybody votes in them.
    • it does matter is you are not a god-botherer.

      if you consider yourself a 'believer', then the R party is probably more to your liking.

      if you insist that others follow your views on religion, you are most definitely an R person.

      other than that, yeah, both parties are similar in that they don't care about you and me and only want to enrichen and empower themselves.

      personally, I hate religion, so the R's are the enemy. and the R's seem to almost have a violent hatred for the middle class and poor, and all clas

    • Under Obama NN laws were put in place. Under Trump, they were removed. On the issue of NN, it's hard to imagine a bigger example of different philosophies.

  • deduct 10 points (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bugs2squash ( 1132591 ) on Monday May 21, 2018 @08:26PM (#56650416)

    I am an old trekkie

    blatent pandering to the slashdot crowd, deduct 10 points for misappropriation of star trek

    • blatent pandering to the slashdot crowd, deduct 10 points for misappropriation of star trek

      Yeah but he doesn't like the FCC so at this point he could see a Kirk vs Picard battle and say his favourite was Skywalker and he'd still be in my good books.

  • by Grog6 ( 85859 ) on Monday May 21, 2018 @11:28PM (#56651076)

    outweigh the needs of the few.

    I really had hope this would work out.

    But...

    Trump and his ilk have sold America to the highest bidder.

    We exist now to feed the profits of the few; is it so mysterious that the suicide rate is thru the roof, and opiate drugs are sweeping the land?

    Birth rates are down, because what sane creature would bring a life into this world to be so exploited?

    Trump is a symptom of the rotten core of what used to be America; I'm just waiting for all the kids to take themselves out, then who will they have?

    Welcome to Trump's America. You earned it.

  • by Torvac ( 691504 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2018 @04:39AM (#56651788)
    learned this years ago (in germany): the Federal Ministry of the Environment does not exists to protect the environment, it is here to allow the max amount of damage and the maximum amount of exploitation of the enviromnent by private orgs before people start to riot against the current government. translate to other agencies and you know whats up.
  • Clyburn said that deregulation isn't bad in markets with robust competition, because competition itself can protect consumers. But "that is just not the case" in broadband, she said. "Let's just face it, [Internet service providers] are last-mile monopolies," she told Ars. "In an ideal world, we wouldn't need regulation. We don't live in an ideal world, not all markets are competitive, and when that is the case, that is why agencies like the FCC were constructed. We are here as a substitute for competition."

    This guy gets it. Neither is an absolute, what's necessary is a balance. It's still difficult to agree on where to draw that line though.

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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