Another muni broadband expert says no to being a stage prop for industry lobbyists

3 April 2018 by Steve Blum
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Citing similar worries as San Jose mayor Sam Licardo over the FCC’s apparent determination to let industry lobbyists write the Federal Communication Commission’s broadband deployment advisory committee (BDAC) manifesto, Miguel Gamino, New York City’s chief technology officer, turned in his letter of resignation last week

I have expressed concerns with other municipal colleagues in multiple meetings and documents that the makeup of the BDAC, with roughly 75 percent of members representing large telecommunications and cable companies or interests aligned with those companies, would result in recommendations unfavorable to localities looking to responsibly manage public rights-of-way to promote public safety, quality of life, and other priorities. This has resulted in the BDAC producing pre-packaged one-size-fits all proposals that industry lobbyists have pushed nationwide rather than working in a cooperative fashion to find creative solutions to dynamic local issues. In our own working group, there have been no efforts to add more voices familiar with city operations or to replace the former working group Vice Chair San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. This has prevented us from addressing the diversity of concerns and solutions that would be offered by a better representation of the nearly 40,000 local governments nationwide.

The committee is scheduled to meet at the end of the month, in what could be its final session. Drafts prepared by the various working groups – which did, at first, allow for some diversity of opinion – are being combined into a single set of recommended broadband development policies for the FCC, and other public agencies, at all levels, to follow. That draft has not been released publicly, but presumably Gamino has some inkling of what it contains. The clear indication is that it will simply add weight to the sledgehammer that republican commissioners are eagerly anticipating slamming down on state and local governments.