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Media & Democracy 07.25.2021

Wall Street Journal: Broadband Internet Bill Too High? Here’s How You Can Fix That

“The ability for consumers to actually get lower prices or take action is somewhat limited at the moment,” said Yosef Getachew, media and democracy director at Common Cause, a government watchdog group. One effective solution, he says, is municipal networks—publicly owned fiber-optic networks deployed by local governments—such as the one Mx. Cadena is awaiting. “Service providers aren’t investing in areas that aren’t profitable to them. And there are cases where muni networks come in, and then the incumbent lowers their prices,” said Mr. Getachew. However, 20 states restrict or prohibit these networks, on the grounds that government-run broadband discourages private investment.

Media & Democracy 07.19.2021

VICE: Report Finds Big Telecom Spends $230,000 on Lobbying Every Day

“For years, Congressional efforts to pass legislation needed to address the nation’s long-standing disparities in connectivity have been stopped dead in their tracks in part because of aggressive industry lobbying and the oversized political influence of the largest ISPs,” Common Cause Media and Democracy Program Director Yosef Getachew said of the study. Getachew noted that efforts to improve broadband mapping, fund the deployment of competitive fiber, or even improve the standard definition of broadband have all repeatedly been scuttled by industry lobbying. At the same time, telecom lobbyists have worked tirelessly to undermine federal and state regulatory oversight of the heavy monopolized telecom industry.

Media & Democracy 05.11.2021

Marketplace (AUDIO): Broadband, computer subsidies on the way for those who qualify

It looks like Ramsey would qualify for both benefits, according to Yosef Getachew, media and democracy program director with the consumer group Common Cause. “The eligibility criteria for this program is pretty broad,” he said. Getachew added that individuals automatically qualify if they’re in a government program like SNAP or Medicaid. Ramsey is enrolled in Medicaid, so she’s eligible. One can also qualify if their income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty line, or if their income took a substantial hit from a job loss.

Media & Democracy 05.4.2021

Ars Technica: Ajit Pai joins American Enterprise Institute and a firm that invests in ISPs

Even before Pai joined AEI, his hiring at Searchlight Capital Partners led former FCC Democrat Michael Copps to say, "We have a serious revolving door problem at the FCC. This is not encouraging." Copps "said commissioners tend to be more sympathetic to private equity firms and corporations when they are commissioners if they know that they might also, one day, become their future employers," according to the New York Post.

Media & Democracy 02.24.2021

The Daily Dot: Progressives want Joe Biden to go big for FCC chair. Does Joe Biden?

Craig Aaron, the co-CEO of Free Press Action, said an example of the public advocate model for a commissioner pick would be Michael Copps, who served at the FCC from 2001 to 2011. Copps opposed a 2002 FCC rule where it classified cable modems services as an "information service" and not subject to Title II common carrier regulation. Copps has been a vocal supporter of net neutrality since leaving the agency. Copps is now a board member for Free Press Action and Public Knowledge and is a special adviser to Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Reform Initiative. "When I think about the potential of that seat, it's somebody like Michael Copps—who was there for a decade and really put the 'public' in 'public servant,'" Aaron said, adding that he was "one of the few commissioners to depart and go into the public interest."

Media & Democracy 01.21.2021

Broadcasting & Cable: D.C. Applauds Rosenworcel Pick as Acting FCC Chairwoman

Michael Copps, former FCC acting chair himself and currently a special adviser to Common Cause called Rosenworcel an "ideal" choice for the job. "I know, because we worked together when she led my staff while I was a commissioner there. She knows the FCC from the bottom up and she understands how to make good things happen there. She was called from my staff to the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, where she was responsible for telecom and media policy. Then she was appointed a commissioner at the FCC and has demonstrated a mastery of the issues that has been seldom matched. Whether it’s bringing broadband to every home in America, encouraging internet availability for our schools, making wise decisions for the utilization of spectrum, contesting telecom and media monopolies, battling mis- and dis- information, she has a combination of vision and practicality that make her perfect for the chairmanship."

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