from bang-up-job department
Last week, Congress failed to shake off corruption and launched a smear campaign by the telecommunications industry to overturn Gigi Son’s nomination to the FCC. This week, the government body went from corrupt to plain incompetent after failing to renew the FCC’s spectrum auction authority for no apparent reason.
The FCC is responsible for managing our scarce wireless spectrum bands on behalf of its technical and legal owner, the American public. Over the past thirty years, like clockwork, Congress has renewed the agency’s authority to manage and auction this critical resource. Until last week, when Congress just…couldn’t be bothered to get to it.
“Yesterday, for the first time since the agency obtained this authority 30 years ago, Congress failed to extend it when the Senate refused to act. The House of Representatives did its job. we unanimously passed a bipartisan bill that Chairman Rogers and I introduced last month to extend the spectrum auction authority until May 19. Our legislation would have prevented these powers from ceasing.”
Unlike the Sohn scrum, which was basically Congress too corrupt to act in the public interest, no one, anywhere (including industry), actually wanted the FCC’s spectrum auction authority to end. However, this was done thanks to what appears to be a silly, pointless argument;
Sen. Mike Rounds, RS.D., the sponsor of the legislation that would extend the FCC’s authority until Sept. 30, and co-sponsor Mazie K. Hirono, Hawaii, sought unanimous consent to pass their legislation Thursday, but Sen. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., objected.
Welch supported an extension to May 19, the date included in the bill that passed the House last month, spokeswoman Emily Becker said. He said a longer extension would be disruptive to reaching a quick agreement on behalf of consumers, saying the public interest would be better served if Congress and stakeholders reached an agreement as quickly as possible.
So as it stands, the FCC still lacks the majority vote to do anything meaningful or controversial because Congress has embarked on a vicious industry smear campaign against a popular reformer. Now the FCC has no authority to manage the wireless spectrum because of a dumb, pointless argument by a few senators.
Consumer groups were quick to point out that this is a bit of a pattern when it comes to federal telecommunications oversight and regulatory authority recently. The government continues to throw billions at the “digital divide,” which lawmakers say is a priority, but lawmakers appear unable to do the basics to ensure the nation’s top telecommunications and media regulator has the staff or authority it needs to do its job. for:
Assembly, digital divide, fcc, high speed internet, spectrum, telecommunications, wireless