Empty business chairs around table

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Leading advocacy groups are fed up with Biden’s lack of action on FCC

The FCC still doesn't have a chair. Biden hasn't even put forth a nomination.

 

David Covucci

Tech

Published Jun 14, 2021   Updated Jun 14, 2021, 11:13 am CDT

Over 50 advocacy groups have signed onto a letter to President Joe Biden, demanding that he finally break the deadlock at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and name a chair.

The FCC is currently staffed with only four commissioners—two Democrats and two Republicans—after the Senate GOP was able to force through a last-minute nomination for commissioner before former President Donald Trump left office.

Biden has been in the White House for nearly five months and still has not named a replacement for Ajit Pai, who resigned when Biden took office.

Now, groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future, Free Press, and the Open Tech Institute sent a letter to Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris saying enough is enough.

The letter to Biden, which was sent on Friday, was first reported by Politico.

The groups called it a matter of “rapidly growing urgency” and said that Biden keeping the seat open is “incompatible with the goal of delivering open, affordable, and reliable high-speed broadband to every home.”

Citing the congressional schedule, the groups said Biden’s administration is reaching a “critical point” to be able to achieve Democratic party goals at the FCC.

With a Democrat in the White House and control of the Senate, many expected a restoration of net neutrality after Democrats gained the ability to have a majority on the FCC. Groups also hoped for immediate action on the digital divide. During the coronavirus pandemic, the nation’s lack of broadband coverage for a number of its citizens was put under a magnifying glass.

Biden’s FCC could take steps to ameliorate the lack of high-speed internet for many Americans immediately and reinstate new neutrality.

But Biden needs to put forward a commissioner first. Why he hasn’t is starting to raise questions.


Read more about the FCC

FCC chairwoman tells Republicans she won’t cave on net neutrality
New FCC affordable broadband program launches
‘The time for these votes is now’: Public interest groups urge the Senate to confirm Gigi Sohn for the FCC
Biden re-nominates picks for FCC, FTC
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*First Published: Jun 14, 2021, 10:51 am CDT