FCC Republicans Knock 2016 Broadband Progress Report

There were some testy moments at the FCC’s open commission meeting today, as the agency’s two Republican commissioners criticized the commission’s actions in respect to 2016 Broadband Progress Report.

The report, which the FCC summarized last month, says broadband is not being deployed in a sufficiently speedy or advanced manner.

Commissioner Ajit Pai criticized the FCC itself, arguing the agency was complicit in the report’s finding. Pai said: “I agree with the majority’s end result. After seven years, $63.6 billion spent … this administration’s policies have failed to deploy advanced telecommunications capability in a reasonable and timely fashion. … As expected, this commission’s answer to the disappointing news it yet another vow of immediate action to accelerate deployment.”

Pai closed by urging a change of course to better deploy broadband, arguing that the FCC should lower regulations to ease broadband deployment.

Commissioner Michael O’Rielly said he agreed with much of what Pai said, but he focused on different issues with the report. “I strongly oppose the notion that broadband is not being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion … the report continues to show steady progress in connecting unserved Americans,” O’Rielly said. “Apparently no amount of progress will ever be enough for a commission bent on regulating at any costs.”

O’Rielly also criticized the report for reaching an “erroneous conclusion” in respect to school broadband deployment, and he said: “The mock outrage and phony comparisons [in the report] only serve to highlight that the actual data … [is] politically driven [and] a sham.”

The commission ultimately voted 4-1 to release the report, with O’Rielly voting no.

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