Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, Demand Progress Education Fund, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future, Free Press Action, MediaJustice, Open Technology Institute, Public Knowledge, and United Church of Christ Media Justice Ministry Call for Rapid Senate Action This Month
Last week, President Biden renominated Gigi Sohn to be a commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). With Alan Davidson’s nomination to lead NTIA heading to confirmation, it is critical that we have a fully functioning FCC to implement much of the work Congress has directed the two agencies to do. Gigi Sohn needs to be voted out of Committee and confirmed by the full Senate.
For more than a year, the FCC has been operating without a full slate of commissioners, hampering its ability to advance all of the important tasks on its agenda. This is why 350,000 people and counting have taken action in the past year by calling on the White House and Senate to act to get all commissioners confirmed, and more than 100,000 people across the country have weighed in specifically to support Ms. Sohn’s confirmation since she was first nominated in October.
Those action-takers understand the critical role of the FCC in advancing communications policy that is essential to their lives and livelihoods. A broad array of voices across the political spectrum including over 220 groups have also added their support for the Senate to confirm Gigi Sohn without further delay.
The FCC is charged with protecting public safety; ensuring consumers have access to robust, affordable broadband service; and implementing federal spectrum policy in the public interest. All of this important work and more is being slowed or jeopardized by the Senate’s delays:
- Congress has directed the Commission to address broadband affordability, in a program for which the FCC is already developing rules but that will require continued implementation and oversight in the weeks and months ahead.
- Congress has also charged the FCC with adopting rules to ensure that ISPs do not discriminate in broadband deployment decisions based on race, income and other protected characteristics of the communities they serve.
- The FCC must act quickly to complete the Congressionally mandated 2018 Quadrennial Review, which is already overdue, and immediately begin the 2022 Quadrennial Review so that it can be completed on time and ensure that broadcast media ownership is diverse and broadcasters are accountable to the communities they serve.
- The FCC must complete work on a report to Congress within this year regarding the future of the universal service programs, the key program that helps ensure all Americans have affordable broadband available without need for appropriations.
- And of course, the FCC needs to begin the process of reversing the misguided decisions of the Pai FCC and reasserting its authority over broadband, an essential service that currently lacks any meaningful federal oversight.
All of these proceedings need a fully functioning FCC, which means Ms. Sohn needs to be voted out of the Committee this month and moved to the full Senate for a floor vote. The time for these votes is now.