Activists Say Biden Camp Taking Too Long To Properly Staff The FCC

from the the-clock-is-ticking dept

If you’ll recall, the Trump administration rushed the appointment of Nathan Simington to the FCC last year, despite Simington having absolutely no real experience or qualifications for the role. That’s because Simington was appointed for two other reasons. One being the idiotic (and utterly hypocritical if you tracked the net neutrality fights) effort by the Trump administration to try and have the FCC target Section 230, which was derailed by Trump’s election loss.

But the other purpose of Simington’s rush announcement was to ensure the FCC would be gridlocked at 2-2 commissioners. Like the FTC, the FCC is comprised of a 3-2 partisan makeup depending on who controls the White House. And while Biden could have easily appointed a new FCC Commissioner to break that gridlock, we’re now three months-plus into his Presidency and the Biden camp still hasn’t appointed a third Democratic Commissioner (and potential new FCC boss).

Without that majority, the FCC can’t reverse a lot of Trump era policies, like net neutrality. Or the telecom-lobbyist backed effort to effectively lobotomize the FCC’s consumer protection authority. And not too surprisingly, activists are starting to get a little punchy about the delay

“The Federal Communications Commission is deadlocked, and will remain so until the Biden administration nominates, and the Senate confirms, a fifth commissioner. But we desperately need a functional FCC now: Millions of people are without reliable Internet access in the midst of a pandemic, kids are sitting outside Taco Bell to do homework, and people need to access information about how to get a vaccine.”

On the one hand, some delay is understandable given the sheer volume of priorities on the administration’s plate. At the same time, as telecom policy wonk Harold Feld notes, the delay is effectively crippling the FCC’s ability to do its job during a pandemic that is clearly showcasing the essential nature of broadband. And the window broadband industry reform advocates are working with could be a very narrow one:

“That’s basically a year lost on the ability to move forward on anything remotely controversial, or starting major new initiatives. That’s huge, particularly if either the House or Senate (or both) flips in 2022. As I say, it’s understandable given the multiple crises and the catastrophic damage done by the Trump Administration to the basic infrastructure of governance. But even if it’s understandable, it’s a trade-off with costs that need to be appreciated.”

While vague, the Biden broadband plan is hitting most of the right notes with activists, given its heavy focus on community broadband efforts (and a strange concept known as “more competition”). But it’s going to have one hell of a time getting passed a heavily telecom-lobbied Congress. Meanwhile, the FCC, the one agency perfectly tailored to holding telecom monopolies accountable, is effectively being forced to sit on its hands and wait before it’s able to actually do its job and reverse Trump era policies focused largely on one thing: making AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast happy.

The lag in prioritizing the appointment of a new FCC head is just the latest indication of our myopic, imbalanced obsession with “big tech” as the only policy conversation worth having, while “big telecom” gets a free pass. While “big tech” gobbles up all the policy oxygen and sees endless calls for antitrust reform, “big telecom” continues to not only expand its massive broadband monopoly and vertically-integrated media empires, but increasingly mimic all the worst aspects of “big tech” as telecom giants increasingly push into online advertising.

“Big telecom” is every bit as problematic as “big tech” (in some ways worse given telecom’s physical monopoly over access itself and close alliance with law enforcement and intelligence) yet the sector continues to get DC policy attention that floats somewhere between kid gloves and outright apathy.

Filed Under: , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Activists Say Biden Camp Taking Too Long To Properly Staff The FCC”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment

The fact that Biden is dragging his feet on some of these things is concerning. I get that the pandemic response takes priority, but he has less than 2 years until he likely loses the Senate or the House, or god forbid both. It’s not like he doesn’t have people to find and vet FCC commissioners, USPS Board of Governors members, etc.



"The fact that Biden is dragging his feet on some of these things is concerning"

I hear a hell of a lot of whining about what Biden is supposedly not doing, but he has done a hell of a lot already. Everyone seems to have some pet concern that he’s supposedly ignoring, but he’s doing an overall good job so far. Well, my cat would have done a good job compared to Trump, but he’s certainly getting results in the most important areas.

"he has less than 2 years until he likely loses the Senate or the House"

You should encourage people to actually vote, since the only reason the Republicans typically gain seats in the mid terms is lower turnout. Get some momentum retained from the general and make it clear that Georgia and other states are expressly trying to stop Democrats from voting, and hopefully you can send another message when it counts.

"It’s not like he doesn’t have people to find and vet FCC commissioners, USPS Board of Governors members, etc."

Many of those people also have to have their position confirmed by Congress. Guess who delays things? Hint: the people you need to vote out in the mid terms.

Oh, and he is trying to get rid of DeJoy, it’s just not as easy as just firing him:

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Older Stuff
13:40 It's Great That Winnie The Pooh Is In The Public Domain; But He Should Have Been Free In 1982 (Or Earlier) (35)
12:06 Norton 360 Now Comes With Crypto Mining Capabilities And Sketchy Removal Process (28)
10:45 Chinese Government Dragnet Now Folding In American Social Media Platforms To Silence Dissent (14)
10:40 Daily Deal: The 2022 Ultimate Cybersecurity Analyst Preparation Bundle (0)
09:29 A Fight Between Facebook And The British Medical Journal Highlights The Difficulty Of Moderating 'Medical Misinformation' (9)
06:29 Court Ruling Paves The Way For Better, More Reliable Wi-Fi (4)
20:12 Eighth Circuit (Again) Says There's Nothing Wrong With Detaining Innocent Minors At Gunpoint (15)
15:48 China's Regulatory War On Its Gaming Industry Racks Up 14k Casualties (10)
13:31 Chinese Government Fines Local Car Dealerships For Surveilling While Not Being The Government (5)
12:08 Eric Clapton Pretends To Regret The Decision To Sue Random German Woman Who Listed A Bootleg Of One Of His CDs On Ebay (29)
10:44 ICE Is So Toxic That The DHS's Investigative Wing Is Asking To Be Completely Separated From It (29)
10:39 Daily Deal: The 2022 Complete Raspberry Pi And Arduino Developer Bundle (0)
09:31 Google Blocked An Article About Police From The Intercept... Because The Title Included A Phrase That Was Also A Movie Title (24)
06:22 Wireless Carriers Balk At FAA Demand For 5G Deployment Delays Amid Shaky Safety Concerns (16)
19:53 Tenth Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity To Social Worker Who Fabricated A Mother's Confession Of Child Abuse (35)
15:39 Sci-Hub's Creator Thinks Academic Publishers, Not Her Site, Are The Real Threat To Science, And Says: 'Any Law Against Knowledge Is Fundamentally Unjust' (34)
13:32 Federal Court Tells Proud Boys Defendants That Raiding The Capitol Building Isn't Covered By The First Amendment (25)
12:14 US Courts Realizing They Have A Judge Alan Albright Sized Problem In Waco (17)
10:44 Boston Police Department Used Forfeiture Funds To Hide Purchase Of Surveillance Tech From City Reps (16)
10:39 Daily Deal: The Ultimate Microsoft Excel Training Bundle (0)
09:20 NY Senator Proposes Ridiculously Unconstitutional Social Media Law That Is The Mirror Opposite Of Equally Unconstitutional Laws In Florida & Texas (25)
06:12 Telecom Monopolies Are Exploiting Crappy U.S. Broadband Maps To Block Community Broadband Grant Requests (7)
12:00 Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of 2021 At Techdirt (17)
10:00 Gaming Like It's 1926: Join The Fourth Annual Public Domain Game Jam (6)
09:00 New Year's Message: The Arc Of The Moral Universe Is A Twisty Path (33)
19:39 DHS, ICE Begin Body Camera Pilot Program With Surprisingly Good Policies In Place (7)
15:29 Remembering Techdirt Contributors Sherwin And Elliot (1)
13:32 DC Metro PD's Powerful Review Panel Keeps Giving Bad Cops Their Jobs Back (6)
12:11 Missouri Governor Still Expects Journalists To Be Prosecuted For Showing How His Admin Leaked Teacher Social Security Numbers (39)
10:48 Oversight Board Overturning Instagram Takedown Of Ayahuasca Post Demonstrates The Impossibility Of Content Moderation (10)
More arrow
This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it