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FCC accused of colluding with Big Cable to game 5G legal challenge (theregister.co.uk)
179 points by LinuxBender 21 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 38 comments

So if I'm understanding this game of thrones correctly:

1. Pai's commission pushed regulation fixing the cost of establishing 5G cell sites to the benefit of big telecom and economic dismay of cities--in particular, those known for their high cost of living.

2. Cities litigate in the Ninth Circuit, which has a history of overruling in favor of local governance.

3. Before the Ninth Circuit can reach a decision, the 4 largest telecom companies in the country file comparable yet independent suits in different circuits; their national presence suggests they could have filed anywhere. Their suits claim ommission of "deemed granted" provisions which would grant cell site auto-approval if cities fail to respond to permit requests within an allotted 3-month window, but eyebrows are still raised at why these companies would place direct legal backpressure against regulation that already favors their bottom line overwhelmingly.

4. Cases were consolidated, triggering a procedural lottery to determine which of 5 circuits--including the Ninth--these cases would be heard in. Tenth Circuit gets it and appellants were instructed to migrate accordingly.

5. A plea to delay the migration order was rejected by the Tenth Circuit; Commissioner Carr, a former legal advisor to Pai during his Verizon days, publicly cheers, dropping a hint of shrouded legal maneuvering.

6. Tenth Circuit nevertheless decides that the cases be moved to the Ninth Circuit. Telecom companies push back hard.

7. A Democrat-controlled House Commerce committee gets wind of the possibility that the FCC has leveraged its influence to game the judicial system by colluding with the companies that they oversee. A communications data dump and accomplice shit list is requested.

Not gonna lie...it's a dirty yet clever gambit.

Is it too late to force the fcc to back out of 5g approval?

> the letter alleges that FCC staff – almost certainly from Pai's office – put pressure on the big telcos to challenge an order that is designed to benefit them as a way of gaming the judicial system so the case didn't end up in a court likely to overturn it.

The FCC is so corrupt. FBI really should be brought in to clean house.

Ajit Pai is corrupt. There are good people still at the FCC.

As much as everyone hates Trump, he has been outstanding in highlighting the absurdly corrupt system. Can't drain the swamp you didn't know existed.

No one should be thanked for promoting such levels of blatant corruption. They're undoing the reforms already in place to stop them.

As well as resetting the bar that Americans are willing to tolerate, sadly.

Everyone knows corruption is rampant. He’s just the first one to talk about it so much. Too bad he’s only worsened the problem.

Uhm no America has been corrupt for a long time and people have been talking about it for a long time.


He doesn't talk much about anything, just word-vomits a lot on camera and on twitter.

Drain the swamp was a campaign slogan and Trump repeated it a lot, but haven't really talked about systemic corruption. (See the rootstrikers movement for some serious effort on the topic.)

The swamp is overflowing and the drain is not only clogged, but non-functional. If you really believe Trump is part of the solution and not another cog in the problem machine, I'd appreciate if you elaborate why.

> Can't drain the swamp you didn't know existed.

I.e the corruption has become so blatant as to be more widely acknowledged. I think there's an interesting possibility of "hitting rock bottom" and recovering, vs the probably rampant but less overt corruption in past decades.

I have heard an interesting point (relating to the FBI al least). Disclaimer, I do not necessarily agree: since trump has been under investigation for almost his whole presidency he cannot fire people because it would now be obstruction of justice.


Trump appointed Ajit Pai as FCC chair...

Like the FBI isn’t equally corrupt.

The dream is over.

Corruption has seeped it's way to the highest office and some of the most important government organizations. What would be earth shattering 20 years ago is just business as usual these days.

Can we find our way back to the light?

You mean 20 years ago when the DMCA passed, giving OSPs like youtube and facebook immunity from copyright law, who then make billions selling ads on pirated content in exchange for divulging your private information to the government and other similarly corrupt corporations and political institutions who have upset the balance of world power?

That 20 years ago?

what would have been hearth shattering was not the corruption but the widespread acceptance of it.

a lot of what changed is that now people are a lot better at being corrupted leaving little or no evidence

Yes but it would take a president like Garfield to do it. Whichever person disrupted the corruption would end up dead. I'd be willing to do it, but don't have the money to run. Garfield was a complete fluke. Surprisingly Arthur, someone who benefited from corruption ended up paring it back in memory of Garfield.

Gotta call the plumber every now and then if you catch my drift.

What kind of job could one of these alleged FCC sellouts expect to get when they go into the private sector? I mean, what does it cost to capture the FCC?

A future board member of TelCo?

So essentially the republicans are trying to force (telephone pole) rent control onto cities ? Commies.

This seems like a very consumer friendly move. The last thing we want for 5G rollout is for it to be hampered by NIMBY cities. Clearing barriers for 5G equipment to be rolled out is a good thing.

Consumer friendly would be making telecoms pay for it, not taxpayers.

It is not very consumer friendly to allow every tin pot municipality to price gouge and stonewall infrastructure development. The local control you are arguing for is the same that has caused the underdevelopment and monopolization of the current internet infrastructure (to say nothing of housing and mass transit). So please explain how it is in my interest, as a consumer, to let my town - present and future - extort or strangle* service providers?

*These are not hypotheticals, see Mill Valley, CA where cell phone towers cause cancer and 5g is persona non grata.

These are the same companies the govt gave our airwaves away to for free remember. And we still have the worst Internet of the developed nations.

> So please explain how it is in my interest, as a consumer, to let my town - present and future - extort or strangle* service providers?

Because land selling for its fair value is good for human society. That land is for all of the public. Why should corporations get a deal that doesn't apply to all people?

who's talking about land? This is about antennas on preexisting poles, which exist for the purpose of literally supporting infrastructure. Furthermore any asshole (such as myself) can register an LLC and thus be one of those 'evil corporations' you speak of. So this regulation you seem so dead against would actually be protecting your right to place a 5G antenna.

Since you mentioned 'fair value' for land -- why is it you are arguing FOR rent seeking? That's extortion, not fair valuation.

Telecoms do pay for it. They pay for hardware, install, and rent for the pole space. This ruling just limits how much local govt can charge for pole rent. It is consumer friendly because it helps accelerate a stable roll out and keeps costs down. It also limits the ability of NIMBY cities to block rollouts by over charging.

Ignoring the local economics is the same as getting a huge discount which is the same as the taxpayers paying the difference.

> keeps costs down

For the telecoms. They're only regulating how much municipalities can charge telecoms, not how much the telecoms can charge consumers. But I'm sure the benefits will trickle down.

> The last thing we want for 5G rollout is for it to be hampered by NIMBY cities. Clearing barriers for 5G equipment to be rolled out is a good thing.

I have to concur. NIMBY groups (or cities that are effectively run by and for NIMBYs) makes building cell sites more difficult -> cell network operators need to spend more money building cell sites -> cell service is a bit more expensive and shittier for everyone (and it's far more difficult for newcomers to challenge incumbents). In US we have stupidly expensive (compared to many other countries) cell service with annoying data caps, and enabling NIMBYs to obstruct/make more expensive/block construction of new 5G (or LTE) cell sites will not help that.

If cities make it super difficult for cell operators to install cell sites, it's ordinary people with cell phones who suffer -- through increased service costs, worse service, and shorter battery life (the longer the distance between the phone and the cell site, the more power the phone needs to use).

I'm not some kind of telco industry shill; that industry does lots of things that I find sincerely loathsome -- between selling location data to the most hinky of "data brokers" and trying to do blatantly anti-competitive mergers -- but it's difficult for me to see how letting cities make it more difficult/expensive to install cell towers will help customers out.

Maybe, maybe not. If the regulation set the fixed cost too low, cities are subsidizing telcos (that don't need it).

NIMBY-ism and red tape is a problem, and it has real costs (paperwork and waiting for approval, getting rejected, fixing up the paperwork, licking butt, lobbying, resubmitting, waiting again are all expensive), but simply pushing this on cities is not going to help.


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