Under Trump-appointed chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC launched an advisory committee last year on high-speed internet access, saying that it planned to bring broadband access to more people.
Now, according to San Jose’s mayor, it’s a completely different story. San Jose’s mayor quit the committee in protest today, saying that the telecommunications industry has taken hold of the initiative, and are working hard to advance their own interest at the expense of consumers.
“It has become abundantly clear that despite the good intentions of several participants, the industry-heavy makeup of BDAC [Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee] will simply relegate the body to being a vehicle for advancing the interests of the telecommunications industry over those of the public,” Mayor Sam Liccardo said in his announcement, and was reported earlier today by Axios.
The broadband committee is meant to be a partnership between a group of stakeholders, but has been heavily criticized before for an apparent bias toward the telecom industry. Mayor Liccardo in his letter said that he hoped the committee could develop “balanced, common-sense recommendations,” but has since lost its way, essentially.
In a recent meeting, a working group with no municipal representatives were considering a plan to eliminate municipal control of broadband infrastructure, thus the goal now being to give the industry “publicly-funded infrastructure at taxpayer-subsidized rates.”
“As a result, I am compelled to submit my resignation to the FCC Broadband Deployment Advisory Board, effective immediately,” Liccardo writes.