March 6, 2024

At #SUMMIT2024, FCC Commissioner Carr Supports Lifting Regulatory Burden on ACA Connects Members

Federal Communications Commissioner (FCC) Brendan Carr agreed that ACA Connects members need relief and protection from onerous regulatory bombardment from multiple fronts. Carr was interviewed during ACA Connects’ #Summit2024 by ACA Connects President and CEO Grant Spellmeyer and ACA Connects Chairman Patricia Jo Boyers, President and CEO of BOYCOM Communications.

During one of the Summit’s keynote sessions, Carr likened proposed Title II and digital discrimination regulations to death-by-a thousand cuts.

“If you are feeling like you are under regulatory assault by Washington, you are,” Carr said.

“We need to fundamentally change Washington’s relationship with business. There has been a departure in D.C. from the idea that if we are getting good results from market forces, that’s a good thing. That’s breaking apart now,” he noted.

“You and I are drinking from the same Kool-Aid,” Boyers concurred.

Carr also noted that regulatory challenges have spilled into the $42 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, negatively impacting its rollout.

“I have some concerns with where we are with BEAD,” he said. “The $40 plus billion was enough money to get the job done. And the administration still says that success for them is connecting 100% of the country.”

“However, we have flashing warning signs that that’s not going to happen – not because we don’t have enough money, but because of policy cuts made along the way,” shared Carr. He noted that so far 12 states say they won’t have enough money to cover unserved and underserved locations.

Carr’s concerns include pressure toward rate regulation and heavy-handed labor preferences.

“There is still time to course correct, but the laudable goal appears to be off track,” shared Carr.

In response to a question from Spellmeyer, Carr also shared his concerns with the application of Title II regulations and its extreme version of net neutrality to broadband providers. Spellmeyer asked what the association can do to drive home that ACA Connects members are not dominating and exploiting market power in the FCC landscape.

“It’s a reaction to a market power dynamic that hasn’t existed in decades. It doesn’t make sense that the debate has crystalized to protect edge providers like Apple, Amazon and Meta from small broadband providers,” Carr noted. “Relitigating Title II is looking at a rearview mirror, while ignoring real other threats.”

Should the FCC extend Title II, Carr expects it to be stopped by litigation in the courts, calling the effort a waste of time. “Title II is dead on arrival at the courts. It’s inevitable, we will replay this oldie but not goodie,” Carr said.

Carr, the senior Republican on the FCC, has led the commission’s work to modernize its infrastructure rules and accelerate the build-out of high-speed networks. His top priorities are spectrum allocations, streamlining infrastructure and permitting, and national security.

About ACA Connects: America’s Communications Association –America’s Communications Association – ACA Connects is a trade organization representing more than 500 smaller and medium-sized, independent companies that provide broadband, video, and phone services covering 31.9 million households, 7.3 million of which are located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. ACA Connects Members operate in every state, providing advanced communications to connect homes, companies, main street, schools, hospitals and more. America’s economic prosperity in smaller communities and rural areas depends on the growth and success of ACA Connects Members, who believe a connected nation is a prosperous nation.

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