FCC - Captured

"Captured Agency: How the Federal Communications Commission Is Dominated by the Industries It Presumably Regulates"

By Norm Alster


"A detailed look at FCC actions—and non-actions—shows that over the years the FCC has granted the wireless industry pretty much what it has wanted. ... More broadly, the FCC has again and again echoed the lobbying points of major technology interests. ... The FCC sits at the core of a network that has allowed powerful moneyed interests with limitless access a variety of ways to shape its policies, often at the expense of fundamental public interests. ... Industry controls the FCC through a soup-to-nuts stranglehold that extends from its wellplaced campaign spending in Congress through its control of the FCC‘s Congressional oversight committees to its persistent agency lobbying. ... [Formerly] presiding over the FCC is Tom Wheeler, a man who has led the two most powerful industry lobbying groups: CTIA and NCTA ... It all begins with passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, legislation once described by South Dakota Republican senator Larry Pressler as ―the most lobbied bill in history.‖ Late lobbying won the wireless industry enormous concessions from lawmakers, many of them major recipients of industry hard and soft dollar contributions. Congressional staffers who helped lobbyists write the new law did not go unrewarded. Thirteen of fifteen staffers later became lobbyists themselves."

Filings with Federal Communications Commission Washington, D.C. 20554

Before the Federal Communications Commission Washington, D.C. 20554

Implementing the Infrastructure Investment GN Docket No. 22-69 and Jobs Act: Prevention and Elimination of Digital Discrimination


First, the Commission must continue to recognize that wireless-based services do not now and likely never will “provide[] comparable speeds, capacities, latency, and other quality of service metrics in a given area, for comparable terms and conditions” (§1754(a)(2)) in comparison to fiber to the premises. Wireless may constitute “advanced telecommunications capability” but it is still a complement to, not an adequate substitute for fiber-fed service. A wireless based user will not receive the same speed, capacity, latency or quality of service and the terms and conditions are not comparable to those for wired (fiber) based access. This is especially so for mobile services, but even fixed wireless solutions are inferior to direct fiber-fed service to the premises. The Commission should always prioritize “to the premise” fiber solutions and rely on wireless only when wired is technically or economically infeasible or the main purpose is mobility.

Second, the disability community is diverse. There are many kinds of disabilities due to a host of causes and each kind gives rise to different needs. There is, however, a much-ignored but large and growing part of the disability community that has been specially harmed and suffers unique digital discrimination: those who cannot be around Radio Frequency Radiation (RF) because it makes them sick or sicker. Some estimates indicate that up to thirty percent of the population – almost 40 million people – suffer at least mild symptoms after exposure to RF.3 Five percent (5%) – around 17 million – suffer moderate symptoms. One and a half percent (1.5%), or almost 5 million people suffer “severe symptoms” and 0.65% (2.16 million) are so disabled they cannot work at all. Those with “severe symptoms” have “physical or mental impairment[s] that substantially limit[] one or more major life activities.” 42 U.S.C. §12102(1)(A). They are the “EMS Disabled” community on behalf of whom these comments are filed. Wireless exposure is the direct cause of or a major contributing factor to the impairment. This technology is making millions of Americans sick, and it is past time that this pan-epidemic4 be recognized and addressed.

Signers:: Children’s Health Defense, Susan Foster, Medical Writer, Fire & Utility Consultant; Odette J. Wilkens, President & General Counsel, Wired Broadband, Inc.; Frank Clegg, (formerly, President of Microsoft Canada), Canadians for Safe Technology; Arizonans for Safe Technology; 5G Free California; Desiree Jaworski, Executive Director, Center for Safer Wireless; Kent Chamberlin, PhD, Former member of the NH Commission to Study The Environmental and Health Effects of Evolving 5G Technology; et. al.