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US: Wheeler says Trump’s plan to ‘Modernize’ the FCC is a ‘fraud’

 |  February 9, 2017

In an interview with Harvard Law professor Crawford, recently-departed FCC boss Tom Wheeler warns that the new administration’s agenda for the agency (gutting net neutrality, neutering the agency’s enforcement authority over large ISPs) is a terrible idea that will leave broadband consumers — especially those that voted for the new President — significantly worse off.

Now out of public office, Wheeler offers his candid takes on a number of different issues, even claiming that current FCC boss Ajit Pai repeatedly refused to even meet with him during his latter tenure at the agency.

“In the Trump administration, people are talking about stripping regulatory power from the FCC, and essentially taking the agency apart (including moving jurisdiction over internet access to the Federal Trade Commission [FTC]). “Modernizing” the FCC is the lingo being used. What’s your thought about that?

It’s a fraud. The FTC doesn’t have rule-making authority. They’ve got enforcement authority and their enforcement authority is whether or not something is unfair or deceptive. And the FTC has to worry about everything from computer chips to bleach labeling. Of course, carriers want [telecom issues] to get lost in that morass. This was the strategy all along.”

During the interview, Wheeler takes particular aim at Trump’s new FCC pick Ajit Pai, noting the new FCC boss refused to meet with him during the last year. Wheeler also chimes in on the subject of net neutrality, municipal broadband, and how ISPs like Comcast and AT&T have an almost nauseating amount of influence over state legislatures.

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