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Thursday, February 02, 2017

So far, so good

I'm liking the first change that I've noticed Chairman Pai make.  He's making the FCC more transparent.  No, really.  He's released to the public the documents that the FCC will be voting on at their next meeting.  In the past, the public didn't get to see those documents until after the meeting (in the case of the E-Rate Modernization Order, 10 days after the meeting).

That's a good change.

Even better, he's trying it out with a couple of documents to see how it works before making it a rule.  I am very happy to see the Chairman testing his ideas before committing to them.  That bodes very well for a decrease in unintended consequences.  I didn't expect Commissioner 3.14159... to make the FCC more rational.


  1. Well, things certainly went South at the end of last week. The Chairman unilaterally revoked several orders and reports previously issued by FCC Bureaus and Offices. OK, so those orders and reports came out in the waning days of the Obama administration, but still, the press release ( basically says, "These orders were issued with no advance notice or approval by the full Commission, so we're revoking them with no advance notice or approval by the full Commission."

    Not surprising, but disappointingly at odds with the tone set earlier.

    1. And it looks like the ranking Democrat on the Senate committee overseeing the FCC is concerned:

      I agree with most of what the Senator says, but I really dislike seeing politicians step into a pretty minor decision by the FCC. I'd like to see Congress keep itself at arm's length and let the Commission do its job. Politicizing the FCC has not had a positive effect.

    2. And now there is a Gang of Twelve with "serious reservations" about the rescindment.

  2. Here's another pair of reforms I like:

    Mostly, I just like that it makes the rulemaking process more transparent. But it's also great that the ideas came from other Commissioners, and the Chairman acknowledged that in his press release. Even better, one of the ideas came from the Democratic Commissioner. A return to collegiality? Ojalá!

  3. And look at this:

    Now the bureaus can't do any substantial edits on proposals and orders after Commission approval. It makes the process slower, but better. It was always weird to me to have the Commission say, "We approve whatever order the bureau eventually issued."

    Another step towards transparency. The Chairman is walking the walk, giving up some his flexibility to ensure the Commissioners from the minority party get a fair say. Now that he's in charge, it's great to see the Chairman treat others the way he'd like to be treated, especially since he wasn't treated so well when he was in the minority.

  4. Hmm.... The Chairman seems to have decided to stop a portion of a rule that was approved by the full Commission back in October.

    It's only a stay, but he explicitly said that if there's no vote by the full Commission, the WCB will stay it.

    Isn't this just the sort of action by a bureau that we earlier heard shouldn't be made without a vote by the Commission? And this is not a regulation that Chairman Wheeler enacted at the last minute without a full Commission vote: this measure was passed before the Senate started playing politics with Commissioner Rosenworcel, and was passed fair and square by the Commission.

    1. Commissioner Clyburn is also not happy about it:
      And she got one of the FTC Commissioners to sign on to her complaint, which is of note because Chairman Pai's justified the stay by claiming that the new rules are not in harmony with FTC rules.

      But of course, the FTC Commissioner that signed on is a Democratic Commissioner, so.....