US Congress FCC Oversight
House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) sent a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai requesting information and documents related to the FCC’s current workload, the work of its bureaus and offices, and the FCC’s interactions with the public through its handling of consumer complaints and Freedom of Information Act requests. Pallone and Doyle told Pai that the Committee will be reassuming its traditional role of oversight to ensure the agency is acting in the best interest of the public and consistent with its legislative authority. The Chairmen complained about Chairman Pai’s responsiveness since assuming the Chairmanship of the FCC saying: “[n]ot only have you have failed on numerous occasions to provide Democratic members of this Committee with responses to their inquiries, you have also repeatedly denied or delayed responding to legitimate information requests from the public about agency operations. These actions have denied the public of a full and fair understanding of how the FCC under your leadership has arrived at public policy decisions that impact Americans every day in communities across the country.” They went on to say that: “Under your leadership, the FCC has failed repeatedly to act in the public interest and placed the interest of corporations over consumers. The FCC should be working to advance the goals of public safety, consumer protection, affordable access and connectivity across the United States. To that end, it is incumbent upon the Committee’s leadership and its members to oversee the activities of the FCC.”
The Chairmen requested that, by March 4, 2019, Pai provide information updating the Committee on the FCC’s current workload and backlog, and various FCC activities and investigations, including information about consumer complaints received on various topics, including: robocalls/spoofing, privacy, open internet/internet service speed, wireless service coverage/availability, access for individuals with disabilities, billing, rural call completion, telemarketing and unwanted calls.
The Regulatory Mix Today: US Congress FCC Oversight, FCC Chief Information Officer, FCC's Commissioner Carr on 5G Jobs
FCC Chief Information Officer
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced the appointment of Christine Calvosa as the Federal Communications Commission’s Chief Information Officer. He said in part, “I am delighted that Ms. Calvosa will be serving as the FCC’s Chief Information Officer. The FCC’s aggressive agenda requires an expert and agile information technology team. That team needs a leader with deep expertise in all aspects of IT development, deployment, and information security. This is especially important because Congress last year enhanced the responsibilities of the FCC’s CIO responsibilities the FCC recently codified in our rules.” Prior to being named Chief Information Officer, Ms. Calvosa was the Acting CIO for the FCC for over one year and for several years was the FCC’s Deputy CIO for Technology and Resiliency.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr gave a keynote address at the National Association of Tower Erectors’ NATE UNITE conference last evening. He recognized the progress that infrastructure builders have made towards upgrading the country’s wireless networks and helping America win the race to 5G. Among other things, Carr reviewed the major actions the FCC took in 2018 to promote 5G and previewed some of his policy goals for 2019. Of the FCC’s two major actions in 2018 Carr said: “Those two actions alone are estimated to save $3.6 billion — money that can be reinvested in new towers and poles. In fact, one provider reports that they’re clearing new small cells for construction at six times the pace as before. Another says they’re doubling the number of cells sites they’re building. And another projects that it will increase capital spending this year by around $1 billion to accelerate investment in 5G. While these are great results, we’re not going to slow down in our efforts to make your jobs easier.”
Looking ahead to this year he added: “In 2019, I am taking another look at the federal rules governing wireless infrastructure deployment. We will look to fully and faithfully implement the decisions Congress has made to streamline the deployment of next-generation technologies. We will push the government to be more pro-infrastructure by eliminating needless restrictions on siting wireless facilities. And, on a topic that I know is close to your hearts, the federal government must be a better partner when it comes to training 5G workers.”
The full speech with visuals is available here.
The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.
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