With so many key issues teed up right now at the FCC, Mike Romano and I knew that we’d have plenty of things to talk about with Commissioner O’Rielly and Chairman Pai’s team. Between the ongoing concern on the sufficiency of the USF budget and its impact on the ability of rural broadband providers to provide affordable stand alone broadband as well as the pending next step in the flawed rate floor policy and the rate increases for rural consumers…who now also do not have the option of affordable stand alone broadband. A bad cycle.
I always appreciate the open and honest discourse that we are able to have with Commissioner O’Rielly and his staff – even when we don’t always agree. The Commissioner took a real leadership role on USF reform and is still very engaged on seeing reform to its completion.
Chairman Pai has hit the ground running in his leadership role at the FCC and in the 7 weeks he’s had the Chairman’s seat and while he has long opposed the establishment of the rate floor when the policy was implemented, he also has a very large agenda and a number of policies that he is attempting to move as quickly as possible. So the conversations need to continue and we need to continue to ensure that data tells the real story of consumer impacts on both fronts. I’m really looking forward to having a chat with the Chairman at our L&P conference in DC next week.
Given our ins-and-outs at the Commission today (Mike actually started the day with another set of meetings), I am always grateful for how gracious the FCC security staff can be…with the steady flow of folks heading to the agency to plead a position, they aways go out of their way to be helpful – even to people like us who made multiple trips to the agency and particularly to me who continues to find creative places to “misplace” my FCC visitor’s badge. Today, sadly, was no exception to my inability to get myself organized on that front.