Donald Trump’s appointments to his tech policy transition team raise questions over the future of the FCC.
With Republican President-elect Donald Trump naming two advisers to his tech policy transition team, there is widespread speculation as to what it would mean for the future of American technology.
Trump has named Mark Jamison, a director of the Public Utility Research Center at the University of Florida. Last month, in a blog entry, Jamison had put forward his view on the FCC. In it he had clearly stated that the nation could do without it since it is an antiquated agency which farms out many of its regulatory duties. Besides, in his opinion, the telecom industry is very competitive and does not require any regulatory oversight. Thus, he had called for the FCC to be dissolved.
“Most of the original motivations for having an FCC have gone away. Telecommunications network providers and ISPs are rarely, if ever, monopolies,” reads his blog post.
In Jamison’s opinion, an entire agency dedicated to regulating the internet is a huge overkill. Instead of the FCC, the FTC and local authorities should handle anti-competitive measures themselves. Since, the broadcast television has a strong competitor in the form of internet content, broadcast television does not need any regulation either. Thus, the only thing the FCC will do is to regulate radio frequencies. But given its humongous size, that’s an overkill as well, since a smaller independent agency can handle it.
With Trump at the driver’s seat, expecting de-regulation would be a smart bet.
With Jamison’s dismissal of the FCC’s work to preserve net neutrality, the set-top box could play truant to political favoritism which could give rise to a cottage industry. It’s a very real possibility.
Trump has also nominated Jeffrey Eisenach, an active crusader against net neutrality and telecom regulation from the conservative American Enterprise Institute, on his tech policy transition team.
With these personalities looming over the FCC, the industry and consumer protections it has created could be rolled back in the coming years. However, the FCC has continued to plod along despite these ominous times.
Last month, it created new rules to protect personal data from ISPs, who must seek permission to monitor browsing patterns and habits.
Further, it has also handed down two judgements: 1) fining Comcast $2.3 million for providing services to customers who didn’t order them in the first place, and 2) fining T-Mobile $48 million for poor disclosure of throttling of internet speeds.