FCC Stands by Decision to Raise Broadband Prices on American IndiansHot Buzz

July 07, 2018 10:53
FCC Stands by Decision to Raise Broadband Prices on American Indians

(Image source from: arstechnica.com)

The Federal Communications Commission is refusing to reverse a decision that will take a broadband subsidy away from galore American Indians.

In November 207, FCC voted 3-2 under Chairman Ajit Pai's leadership to make it much difficult for tribal residents to acquire a $25-per-month Lifeline subsidy that cut down the outgo of Internet or phone service.

The modifications could take effect as early as October 2018, reckoning on when they are sanctioned by the United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Midget wireless carriers and Tribal organizations sued the FCC in the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. They also recorded a petition asking the FCC to stay its decision pending the result of the appeal.

But the FCC contradicted the stay petition in a decision released on July 6.

"Petitioners have not shown that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their claims," the FCC said. "The 2017 Lifeline Order contains a comprehensive explanation of the basis for the Commission's decision to limit enhanced Tribal support to rural Tribal areas, and to target such support to facilities-based providers."

The November ballot of FCC obviated whole $25 subsidy for tribal residents surviving in urban regions, asserting that the subsidy isn't needed to make service low-priced in urban settings.

The FCC vote barred Tribal residents in rural areas from using the $25 subsidy to purchase telecom service from resellers. Most wireless phone users who get Lifeline subsidies purchase their plans from resellers instead of "facilities-based" telecoms that operate their own networks. Thus, the FCC vote would dramatically bound rural Tribal residents alternative for purchasing subsidized service.

The petition filed by tribes and small carriers explained that large, facilities-based providers have been phasing out Lifeline support, leaving resellers as the best option for consumers.

The argument has been made by petitioners that new limitations are prohibited in part because the FCC's "claimed benefits are entirely speculative, contradict the record in this proceeding," and fail to account for "the relative efficiency of resellers that specialize in serving these difficult markets."

Much public support wasn't found by Pai in his pursuit to take away resellers from the Lifeline program.

The court case by petitioners against the FCC is on-going, with concluding briefs from both sides due by August 27.

By Sowmya Sangam

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