FCC’s Ajit Pai – early moves
New US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai has formally closed investigations into zero-rated services offered by mobile giants AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless, notes TeleGeography. “The two telcos stood accused of violating the FCC’s net neutrality rules by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, but in a statement, Pai asserted: ‘These free data plans have proven to be popular among consumers, particularly low-income Americans, and have enhanced competition in the wireless marketplace. Going forward, the FCC will not focus on denying Americans free data. Instead, we will concentrate on expanding broadband deployment and encouraging innovative service offerings.’” In a parallel development, Pai also moved to revoke Lifeline Broadband Provider (LBP) status – which grants permission to provide subsidised internet services to low-income households – of nine ISPs. Pai has also spoken on radio and smartphones – “The vast majority of smartphones sold in the United States do, in fact, contain FM chips. The problem is that most of them aren’t activated. It seems odd that every day we hear about a new smartphone app that lets you do something innovative, yet these modern-day mobile miracles don’t enable a key function offered by a 1982 Sony Walkman. You could make a case for activating chips on public safety grounds alone… I’ll keep speaking out about the benefits of activating FM chips. Having said that, as a believer in free markets and the rule of law, I cannot support a government mandate requiring activation of these chips… I believe it’s best to sort this issue out in the marketplace.” See here and more here.
- Tuesday, 21 February 2017