FCC combats fraud as inspector general finds more than $300 million in improper payments in Lifeline programJohnny Kampis on
January 3, 2019
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This article originally appeared on Watchdog.org on December 21, 2018.
A recent audit found that waste, fraud and abuse in the Lifeline subsidy program has increased exponentially as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) transitions the program from focusing primarily on landline telephones to wireless and broadband internet. The examination from the FCC’s Inspector General (IG) discovered that improper payments in the Lifeline program rose from $40.65 million in Fiscal 2016 to $336.39 million in 2017, a more than eight-fold increase. Auditors also found the improper payment percentage in the program was nearly 22 percent, more than double the statutory limit established by the Office of Management and Budget. The IG examined all four programs under the umbrella of the Universal Service Fund and none of them saw close to the amount of waste as Lifeline, with the Schools & Libraries program (also commonly known as eRate) the next highest with an improper payment percentage of 4.34 percent.
January 2, 2019
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Des Moines, Iowa and Washington, D.C.– The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) announced the addition of Chip Baltimore as a Senior Fellow effective January 1, 2019. TPA is a rapid response non-profit, non-partisan taxpayer group dedicated to educating the public through the research, analysis and dissemination of information on the government’s effects on the economy. TPA will hold government officials accountable at all levels of government.
December 4, 2018
TPA spearheaded a coalition of twelve free-market groups, sending a letter to Commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) advocating for the availability of adequate spectrum as soon as possible for white space broadband use. Television White Space (TVWS) technology can help bring broadband access to underserved rural areas, helping to give substantially more Americans access to the internet. » Read More
October 23, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance applauded the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) vote to free up more spectrum for 5G deployment, a welcome step for fast broadband in urban and rural areas without taxpayer money. The FCC has proposed a comprehensive framework that would increase licensing areas and expand licensing terms on the 3.5 GHz band, to be used for the development of fifth-generation mobile technologies (“5G”). » Read More
October 1, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) criticized California Governor Jerry Brown, in addition to California lawmakers, for their role in passing SB 822, the California Internet Consumer Protection and Net Neutrality Act of 2018. The bill restores anti-”throttling” guidelines and prohibits free data offers for consumers, ensuring less options for internet users, worse network management, and lower broadband investment. » Read More
September 20, 2018
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This article appeared in The Federalist on September 19, 2018.
Since Title II internet regulations were repealed in December, supporters of the former rules for the internet have waxed apoplectic over fears about internet service providers (ISPs) and wireless carriers “throttling” (slowing down) speeds. The repealed rules were put in place to force ISPs to treat all internet data equally, which backers claimed prevented throttling and the prioritization of certain data sources. Claims that removing these “protections” would transform the internet into a tiered fiefdom ran rampant on social media and in the halls of Capitol Hill. New data, however, underscores the problems posed by strict internet regulations.
September 5, 2018
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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote before the end of September on an order to help guide local governments in establishing rules to aid the rapid deployment of 5G. This would be a significant step forward in closing the digital divide, without taxpayer money. FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr announced the plan during a press conference on the Senate floor of the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis on Monday morning. Carr said the order is designed to work cooperatively with states and cities rather than be an effort to impose federal oversight. For example, about 20 states have passed some form of legislation to aid the development of 5G and the FCC’s order wouldn’t disturb the provision in those bills.
August 24, 2018
This late in the summer, most lawmakers will soon begin the process of packing up their FDA-approved sunscreen and heading back to Washington, DC, burying their noses in proposed legislation and avoiding a government shutdown at the end of September. But with flight delays aplenty and chronic traffic surrounding the capital, members of Congress better hope they have internet access while sitting idly by. Fortunately, regulatory reform at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the past year ensures that even the people living in the boonies or by the beach will soon have the lightning-fast internet access currently enjoyed in cities across America. But not all lawmakers have gotten the memo, criticizing the FCC’s moves and defending the status-quo of onerous broadband and internet access regulations. For the lawmakers holding on for dear life to their temperamental internet connections, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance suggests ditching the smartphone and picking up our Summer Reading instead.» Read More
Free Market and Taxpayer Groups Send Letter to House Republicans Urging Rejection of the Title II CRADavid Williams on
August 7, 2018
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), along with 33 conservative groups, sent a letter to House Republicans urging them to reject a pending Congressional Review Act (CRA) measure that seeks to re-implement overreaching, anti-consumer internet regulation from the Obama Administration known as “Title II.” » Read More
July 12, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) praised the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and their move to free up wireless spectrum to help speed up the deployment of 5G wireless services. Spectrum is the invisible airwaves that allow us to talk, text, post, watch, monitor, and research from the convenience of a mobile device. Spectrum is also a financial asset with taxpayers reaping the benefits of the government selling to the spectrum. » Read More
July 5, 2018
Hundreds of regulations have been rolled back over the past year and a half, resulting in billions of dollars in savings to consumers and taxpayers. Telecommunications policy has been no exception, with the easing of permitting restrictions by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the nixing of Title II internet rules. But federal rules are far from the only impediment to 5G deployment; Fees and rules set by states and localities will continue to hamper innovation if left unchecked. Members of Congress have an opportunity to hasten the arrival of 5G, but face the difficult task of limiting state and local interference in 5G rollout while rejecting a one-size-fits-all solution. Fortunately, the STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act (S. 3157), introduced by Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), achieves this balancing act and paves the way for faster and more reliable internet. With right-sized regulatory reform rooted in federalism, lawmakers can pull America to the front of the technological frontier. » Read More
June 19, 2018
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This article originally appeared in the American Spectator on June 18, 2018.
Why is the White House playing with this terrible idea again? Even after controversy arose earlier this year over a leaked proposal to create a government-backed 5G network, President Trump’s campaign chief reiterated the issue in a recent tweet. “It is time for America to have a single 5G network for all carriers,” Brad Parscale said in his tweet. “The days of dropped calls, slow speeds, and no service need to end. It is time for the U.S. to have the world’s best cell service.” The U.S. is well on its way to that goal, thanks to the efforts of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reduce regulations on private providers. The concept of nationalizing 5G into a government-run service, is, well, a terrible idea.
June 11, 2018
In 1897, after Mark Twain’s mistaken obituary was published, it was widely reported that Twain quipped to a reporter, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” The poor, mistaken obituary writer hasn’t been the only one to make this sort of mistake. For months, supporters of Title II regulation of the internet have declared the untimely demise of the internet, with all fervor and no evidence. Now that Title II has officially been repealed (12:01 am on June 11, 2018), its time to set the record straight. The Twainian truth is that Title II has all but been in the ash heap for seven months after the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) December 2017 ruling to rollback internet regulations. From the December 14 repeal date, internet service providers (ISPs) knew that, if they wanted to, they could favor and throttle data without fear of punishment from the FCC. » Read More
June 6, 2018
The AIRWAVES Act would create a pipeline of spectrum auctions for commercial use and help the U.S. lead the world in 5G development. But, like any legislation, it should be done the right way to ensure that the sale of spectrum doesn't play favorites and that decisions on the use of spectrum be technology neutral.This legislation, from a bipartisan group of senators and congresspersons, intends to reallocate spectrum and encourage wireless deployment to underserved rural areas with its plan for a series of spectrum auctions beginning later this year. » Read More
March 1, 2018
The Trump administration should decline to reconsider an outdated technology mandate for automobiles that would lead to increased costs for consumers and tie up spectrum that could better be used to help boost broadband growth. The federal government set aside the 5.9 gigahertz spectrum band in 1999 for use by car manufacturers to develop dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) devices to allow vehicles to talk to each other. The idea was that by relaying basic safety messages wirelessly between cars vehicle safety could be improved. However, nearly two decades later that technology is woefully underused. » Read More
February 16, 2018
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This article originally appeared on Watchdog.org on February 13, 2018
Some tech policy experts anticipate changes at the federal and state levels this year to aid faster broadband deployment. In some cases, though, that likely will involve spending more taxpayer dollars. President Donald Trump has indicated he plans to move forward with increased infrastructure spending in 2018. An idea has been floated of a federal middle mile, essentially a build-out of fiber along the American interstate system. There were reports that the federal government considered getting involved in creating a national 5G wireless network, but the Trump administration said that wasn’t true.
January 30, 2018
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Sunday nights are prime time for television, not for breaking news about nationalizing wireless infrastructure. On the evening of January 28, Axios reported that the Trump Administration is considering the national build-out of a 5G mobile network instead of relying on private deployment. As to be expected, there was plenty of immediate and vocal opposition to the idea of the government (yes, that government) being in charge of something as vital as fifth generation broadband technology. Even when the federal government tries to take an indirect role in broadband deployment, waste piles up and results are meager. Chief amongst current public-sector efforts is the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Universal Service Fund (USF), which will funnel $2 billion through the Connect America Fund over the next decade to subsidize the activities of rural internet service providers (ISP)s. The USF has already spent more than $80 billion over the past twenty years, but studies show that the subsidies drive administrative bloat (i.e. personnel and governmental relations costs).
January 8, 2018
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There is no disputing that closing the rural broadband gap is imperative. The disagreement occurs in deciding whether taxpayers or the private sector should foot the bill. Taxpayer-funded broadband systems have failed as evidenced by the Taxpayers Protection Alliance Foundation’s interactive map of failed government owned networks. But, AT&T and Verizon are moving quickly to deploy 5G mobile internet. Business Insider calls it “the upcoming evolution of wireless 4G LTE, which is mostly used today for wireless mobile networks. It offers incredibly fast wireless communication that can be used to transmit all sorts of data.”
December 18, 2017
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This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller on December 14, 2017
In the aftermath of the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) vote to repeal Title II regulations, internet service providers (ISPs) will regain flexibility lost in recent years. Once again providers will have the ability to offer options such as zero rating (free data) plans that can be used to help lower income populations access important content. But, concerns abound about the ability of ISPs to manage services where there’s little competition between providers. Attempts at all levels of government to provide for robust ISP have bilked taxpayers for billions of dollars without addressing rural broadband needs. Instead of failed government-centric solutions, closing the digital divide will require low-cost partnerships with the government and the private sector.
Alabama taxpayers could save money and have faster internet based on technology being tested in CullmanJohnny Kampis on
December 13, 2017
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This article originally appeared on Yellowhammer News on December 10, 2017
Nestled between knee-high grass and mobile homes, a cell tower in this small community in Cullman County will soon demonstrate cutting-edge technology. It is here that AT&T will run fiber-optic cable and then beam internet signals to nearby homes with antennas installed on their rooftops, a service known as fixed wireless. This rural area in Alabama is one of the test cases for the new technology, which AT&T will use to deliver internet to areas where it’s not cost effective to build out fiber-optic infrastructure.