Democrats Criticize FTC Recusal Campaign, Broadband Price Dissatisfaction, Starlink Speeds Impress

Democratic lawmakers want end to calls to recuse Lina Khan, dissatisfaction with prices, Starlink comparable to fixed-wireless.

Democrats Criticize FTC Recusal Campaign, Broadband Price Dissatisfaction, Starlink Speeds Impress
FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan

August 5, 2021 – Several Democrat lawmakers are asking Amazon and Facebook to back off asking the FTC to recuse Chairwoman Lina Khan from cases involving them.

On Wednesday, Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, and Representative Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington, signed a letter stating, “[y]our efforts only add to the perception that you are attempting to bully your regulators, disarm the FTC, and avoid accountability rather than to strengthen ethics standards, and you should cease these efforts immediately.”

Khan has stated in her hearing testimony that she has no financial ties or personal interests that require recusal. According to the lawmakers, “[t]here is no basis for her recusal under the current federal ethics statute or FTC precedent.”

Amazon and Facebook’s petitions focus on Khan’s past work criticizing their behaviors as monopolistic.

More Americans dissatisfied with broadband costs

In a Consumer Reports survey of U.S. broadband consumers, 43 percent of Americans with service in their household reported they are dissatisfied with what they get for their money.

Of the surveyed, 25 percent of respondents reported feeling “somewhat satisfied.” Only 22 percent stated they are either completely (8 percent) or very (14 percent) satisfied with the price they pay.

Median costs are at $70 per month according to the report. During the pandemic, median costs rose by $23. One-third of those with upgraded service pay $30 more or above.

Ookla reports SpaceX’s Starlink provides faster internet speeds worldwide than alternative satellite options, and speeds were said to be comparable to that of fixed broadband.

In the second quarter of 2021, Starlink gave median download speeds of 97.23 Megabits per second. The alternatives, HughesNet and Visasat, gave median download speeds of 19.73 Mbps and 18.13 Mbps, respectively.

Starlink’s latency – the time it takes the satellites to communicate with connected devices – appears key to its performance. Ookla noted Starlink was the only provider offering a median latency comparable to fixed broadband, a service that uses mobile wireless technologies for home broadband.

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