Sunday, April 23, 2017

No FCC enforcement of universal service, anti-redlining provisions of Open Internet rulemaking

Cable, internet connection still not available for many: After 36 years of not being able to access standard internet and cable TV at their home in Deerfield, Gloria and Greg Kasprowicz recently had a Spectrum representative come to their door asking if they would like to have service. The couple, who live three miles from the local Spectrum headquarters on Firehouse Road, were excited when the representative told them they could get service through Spectrum, so they set up an appointment and waited anxiously.

But the date and time of the installment came and went, and no one showed up. So Gloria gave Spectrum a call to see what was going on and was told the company wasn’t able to service her house at this time. “What do you do at this point?” Gloria asked. “(Service) comes up from the bottom of the road, so the first couple of houses, I believe, have it. And it comes down the road to probably a half a mile up the road from us. There’s like a mile stretch — the last mile — for some reason they started from the top and came down and started from the bottom and came up.”

Technically under the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's 2015 Open Internet rulemaking that classified Internet protocol-based telecommunications as a common carrier telecommunications service, Spectrum would have to honor the Kasprowiczs' request for service. That's because the reclassification under Title II of the federal Communications Act includes that requirement as part of Title II's universal service and anti-redlining provisions. But despite adopting the rule, The FCC has never enforced those requirements. The current FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, is reportedly preparing to reverse the rulemaking.

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