WASHINGTON, March 11, 2020 - “That is flatly incorrect,” Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said, partly to Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and partly to Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.
Quigley had just asked the two commissioners, who travelled to Hill on Wednesday to request funds for the FCC’s 2021 fiscal year, for the agency’s “best guess how long would it take to fix the maps.”
Rosenworcel, a vocal critic of her own agency’s lambasted broadband maps, said “we can have really significant improvements within 3 to 6 months.” Pai cut off his colleague to correct the record: “That is flatly incorrect.”
“I appreciate what you’re saying, I’m just asking— what’s your best guess?” Quigley asked again.
“It’s certainly not three to six months. It’s much longer than that,” Pai responded.
More fault lines emerged when the hearing turned to the issue of net neutrality. Pai was the leading force behind the FCC’s decision to reverse net neutrality regulations in December 2017, at the behest of communications companies and against the wishes of many public interest groups.
Rosenworcel blasted the FCC for allegedly doing “everything in its power to make sure no one noticed” that it sought public comment on its 2017 net neutrality proposal.
Rosenworcel also mentioned how the phrase “net neutrality” did not once appear in the FCC’s official request for comment. “This process should concern you,” Rosenworcel said.
Rosenworcel and Pai’s divergent attitudes toward robocalls further electrified the tiny hearing room in the Capitol.
Rosenworcel harshly criticized her own agency’s resources to combat robocalls, repeating three times throughout the hearing that it takes the FCC on average 649 days to complete one enforcement action on robocalls
This is partly due there only being 12 FCC staff assigned to robocalls, Rosenworcel said. “It’s like trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon.”
Meanwhile, Pai assuaged the congressmen that enough resources are currently allocated to dealing with robocalls.
“You think 12 staffers is enough?” asked Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., incredulously.
“Those things take time to investigate,” responded Pai, adding that FCC employees have done “a terrific job” on prosecuting robocalls.
- Big Tech’s Response to Coronavirus: Face Masks, Hiring Binges, Free Web Sites and Cash Donations
- Democrats Call for New Infrastructure Stimulus Legislation Includes Large Broadband Provision
- The FCC Could Do More Now About the Digital Divide, Say Panelists at Broadband Breakfast Live Online Event
- Coronavirus Roundup: Senators Urge Distance Learning, Zoom Privacy, NTIA Broadband and RUS Grants
- Federal Communications Commission Proposal for Unlicensed Spectrum in 6 GHz Band Widely-Praised
Signup for Broadband Breakfast
Health1 month ago
Battling Coronavirus COVID-19, Broadband Could Provide Relief Although Telemedicine May Not Help
Net Neutrality1 month ago
FCC Seeks Comment on Net Neutrality Issues Remanded by Appeals Court: Public Safety, Pole Attachments and Lifeline
Health3 weeks ago
Broadband Breakfast Live Online Will Stream Daily in March on ‘Broadband and the Coronavirus’
Artificial Intelligence1 month ago
U.S. Progress on AI and Quantum Computing Will Best China, Says CTO Michael Kratsios
Broadband Mapping2 weeks ago
Commerce Department’s NTIA Details Its New-Found Progress in Broadband Mapping Technology
Antitrust2 weeks ago
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation Brings Global Antitrust Experts Together in Videoconference
Broadband TV2 weeks ago
Broadband Breakfast Live Online on Monday, March 23, 2020 – Free and Low Cost Internet Plans During Coronavirus
Broadband Roundup4 weeks ago
Industry Groups Praise New Broadband DATA Act, Pai and Kennedy Lock Horns on C-Band, Klobuchar Antitrust