Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Ajit Pai’s FCC Cites Obama-Era Broadband Investments

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but an assessment made based on the actions of the current American administration has been undermined by their complete lack of scruples.

Crazy, I know.

Earlier this year, the FCC voted to retain a faster definition of broadband established by the previous administration. As far as I could tell, the defeated proposal was simply a way to broaden the definition of broadband and give the impression in reports that access to broadband had improved for Americans without doing the work of actually, you know, investing in better networks. After it was voted down, I figured that this FCC administration would, at least, avoid resorting to ridiculous tactics to gain the impression of a policy win without any actually good policy. But I should have known better.

Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica:

Anyone who is familiar with the FCC chairman’s rhetoric over the past few years could make two safe predictions about this report. The report would conclude that broadband deployment in the US is going just fine and that the repeal of net neutrality rules is largely responsible for any new broadband deployment.

But the FCC’s actual data—based on the extensive Form 477 data submissions Internet service providers must make on a regular basis—only covers broadband deployments through December 2016. Pai wasn’t elevated from commissioner to chairman until January 2017, and he didn’t lead the vote to repeal the net neutrality rules until December 2017. And, technically, those rules are still on the books because the repeal won’t take effect for at least another two months.

The timing means that it would be impossible for Pai to present evidence today that broadband deployment is increasing as a result of the net neutrality repeal. But the report claims that’s exactly what happened anyway and says that future data will bear that out. To support its argument, the report claims that broadband deployment projects that were started during the Obama administration were somehow caused by Pai’s deregulatory policies.

Not only are they counting Obama-era — and net neutrality-era — investment plans as evidence of improved broadband deployment thanks to rules friendly to giant ISPs, they’re also citing past investments that have since been curtailed due to policies implemented by this FCC administration. That’s some bullshit anti-consumer behaviour.