On Friday, Chamber of Progress and the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) urged President Biden to appoint a fifth commissioner to the Federal Communications Commission. The delay in nominating a fifth member to the five-member has been historic and has put parts of the Administration’s agenda on issues like broadband and net neutrality on hold.
The full text of the letter is also available below:
October 22, 2021
President Joe Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Biden:
We write today to urge you to move quickly in nominating a fifth commissioner to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
We applaud your work thus far in addressing the digital divide by fighting for affordable access to broadband. However, in order to achieve the Administration’s goal of greater connectivity and preserving an open Internet, a fifth commissioner is needed to break the partisan gridlock among current commissioners. Furthermore, lowering broadband prices and making the telecom industry more competitive, as you laid out in your broadband agenda, requires a fully functional FCC.
In the past, you have encouraged the FCC to restore the net neutrality rules undone by the previous Administration. While we appreciate your executive order encouraging the agency to act, the partisan makeup of the current commission creates obstacles to making progress on this issue. As you know, net neutrality provides a benefit to consumers by protecting the free flow of information and promoting innovation within Internet services. We support your perspective on this and strongly believe a full commission is the only way to achieve this goal.
We also urge you to consider nominating an individual who understands the needs of diverse communities, not only in terms of the impact of their work, but also in relation to the inclusive opportunities they have created in previous positions. It is a long understood fact that communities of color and families with lower incomes fall behind when it comes to having access to home broadband connections. Having a commissioner who understands this will bring an important voice to an agency that impacts communication for all residents across our country.
We understand that a major priority for your Administration is building consensus in Congress to pass a historic infrastructure package. However, a fully functional FCC will be required to implement and oversee critical provisions of that bill including undertaking a study that will impact the future of the Universal Service Fund.
As the Congressional calendar comes closer, the opportunity to move a nominee swiftly through hearings and a nomination process will become more difficult. We urge you to move quickly to ensure that no family is left without critical access to broadband and that other lingering issues on the FCC’s docket can be addressed at full capacity.
We welcome any further discussion on this issue.
Koustubh “K.J.” Bagchi
Senior Director, Federal Public Policy
Chamber of Progress
Arthur D. Sidney
Vice President, Public Policy
Computer & Communications Industry Association
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Chamber of Progress (progresschamber.org) is a new center-left tech industry policy coalition promoting technology’s progressive future. We work to ensure that all Americans benefit from technological leaps, and that the tech industry operates responsibly and fairly.
Our corporate partners do not have a vote on or veto over our positions. We do not speak for individual partner companies and remain true to our stated principles even when our partners disagree.