[CalFiber] Letter to Biden FCC Transition team on abolishing digital redlining - deadline COB Nov 23rd

Ernesto Falcon ernesto at eff.org
Tue Nov 17 14:39:49 PST 2020

This is just one of many pieces. I agree this approach in isolation 
alone would not be enough but I would emphasize that this is what common 
carriage already requires in law today under Title II. The FCC has a job 
to enforce.

This is also limited to what the FCC can do with its authority without a 
new law. For example, the FCC can't free up the local govs from the 
state restraints under Title II, which is why the Clyburn bill has those 
provisions unless those states change their laws. It can free up 
federally funded fiber under E-Rate early next year that will help with 
public infrastructure, but that's a small lift politically for the Biden 
FCC. And most of the money the FCC has available is obligated now under 
RDOF for years on out, so absent a new infusion of funds, there isn't 
more money coming from the FCC without Congress.

This is also specifically focused on densely populated cities and not a 
rural solution and focused on what can be done by regulation without 
money. Also nothing will be done that won't face litigation challenge by 
the ISPs, but if you start on year 1 you can get to resolution by year 2 
to begin to enforce.

On 11/17/20 2:18 PM, Christopher Mitchell wrote:
> I respect the people who may support this, but not only would I not 
> sign this letter, I actively oppose it. I do not think it is in 
> anyone's interest to force AT&T to invest more in low-income 
> communities. AT&T will never do a good job of meeting those needs and 
> I think work focused on how to pass laws that would force AT&T et al 
> to do that would be wasted. We need to focus on better approaches to 
> ensuring everyone can access the Internet, as I outlined here:
> https://nonprofitquarterly.org/a-signal-failure-education-broadband-and-our-childrens-future/ 
> <https://nonprofitquarterly.org/a-signal-failure-education-broadband-and-our-childrens-future/>
> If you use the force of law to compel AT&T to invest in these areas, 
> you will make it less likely and more difficult for ISPs and business 
> models that will do a much better job of meeting those needs in the 
> short and long term. I do not think there is a short term argument in 
> favor of forcing AT&T to invest in certain areas as it will be years 
> of court battles that would have to be won prior to AT&T changing any 
> investment plans.
> In disagreement, but solidarity,
> Christopher Mitchell
> Director, Community Broadband Networks
> Institute for Local Self-Reliance
> MuniNetworks.org <http://www.muninetworks.org/>
> @communitynets
> 612-545-5185
> On Tue, Nov 17, 2020 at 2:25 PM Ernesto Falcon <ernesto at eff.org 
> <mailto:ernesto at eff.org>> wrote:
>     Hey folks,
>     The time to weigh in with the incoming Biden Administration on
>     goals for the first year is _/*now*/_./**/Decisions about staffing
>     federal agencies and setting their priorities are happening as we
>     speak so that come January they can hit the ground running. Not a
>     lot has been submitted to the transition team about what the FCC
>     should do so I worked with some folks to come up with this letter
>     that I present to you for your consideration.
>     The letter asks that the new Biden Administration appoint FCC
>     Chair/Commissioners that will lead the agency to abolish digital
>     redlining that is happening in our cities in year 1 and mandate
>     the incumbents like AT&T to deploy fiber to the low-income people
>     they have left behind with the goal of full deployment by the end
>     of the first term. This would be done after reclassification of
>     broadband as a Title II service by relying on the
>     anti-discrimination authority the FCC has under Title II to
>     address socio-economic discrimination in areas that are economic
>     to fully serve.
>     It is just a fact that the large ISPs have refused to do so
>     because they do not want to serve low income people for lower
>     profits. Full deployment of fiber in densely populated cities is
>     100% profitable for the major ISPs like AT&T, but because we don't
>     have an affirmative anti-redlining regulation on fiber, they are
>     collecting profits that stem from discrimination with a
>     disproportionate impact on people of color. This will carry
>     serious ramifications going forward as those older slower networks
>     will become more expensive to maintain, more expensive to
>     subsidize access, and receive less and less investment by the
>     incumbents who are purposefully letting them fall apart.
>     The new FCC can and should stop that from continuing forward after
>     it reclassifies broadband as a Title II service.
>     **If you wish to sign on to the attached letter*, please click the
>     link below. Deadline to sign on is November COB 23rd (Monday).*
>     https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd3zD7OT-oCpk8m0azJlbkIYxouSJTZZPFZIa32KfwvWhLEqA/viewform?usp=sf_link
>     <https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd3zD7OT-oCpk8m0azJlbkIYxouSJTZZPFZIa32KfwvWhLEqA/viewform?usp=sf_link>
>     -- 
>     Ernesto Omar Falcon
>     Senior Legislative Counsel
>     Electronic Frontier Foundation
>     Office: 415 436 9333 ext. 182
>     Cell: 202 716 0770
>     _______________________________________________
>     CalFiber mailing list
>     CalFiber at lists.eff.org <mailto:CalFiber at lists.eff.org>
>     https://lists.eff.org/mailman/listinfo/calfiber
>     <https://lists.eff.org/mailman/listinfo/calfiber>
Ernesto Omar Falcon
Senior Legislative Counsel
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Office: 415 436 9333 ext. 182
Cell: 202 716 0770

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