FCC Commissioner Clyburn trashes newest Chairman’s actions in news dump

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, the remaining Democrat on the Commission, went head to head on the keyboard with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Friday, clashing over whether his actions were legal when he reversed a decision made late in the Obama administration to let consumers apply their telecommunications subsidies to broadband services.

Clyburn, who served as the acting Chairman in 2013 prior to Tom Wheeler’s appointment to the position, blasted Pai, stating that his Friday news dump of important matters tucked in between 30 news releases for the day, “fell short of reasoned decision making.”

“Today is apparently ‘take out the trash day.’ In an eponymous episode of the West Wing, White House Chief of Staff Josh Lyman stated: ‘Any stories we have to give the press that we’re not wild about, we give all in a lump on Friday . . . Because no one reads the paper on Saturday.’ Today multiple Bureaus retract—without a shred of explanation—several items released under the previous administration that focus on competition, consumer protection, cybersecurity and other issues core to the FCC’s mission,” Clyburn said.

“In the past, then-Commissioner Pai was critical of the agency majority for not providing sufficient reasoning behind its decisions, citing specifically to the Supreme Court case Fox v. FCC which states: ‘The requirement that an agency provide reasoned explanation for its action would ordinarily demand that it display awareness that it is changing position. An agency may not, for example, depart from a prior policy sub silentio.’ ” Clyburn wrote.

She believes it is a basic principle of administrative procedure that actions must be accompanied by reasons for that action, else that action is unlawful.

“Yet that is exactly what multiple Bureaus have done today. The Bureaus rescind prior Bureau actions by simply citing a rule that allows them to do so, when in prior invocations of that rule there have been oft-lengthy explanations for the reasoning behind the actions,” Clyburn said.

“My office requested more than the allotted two days to review the dozen items released today. We were rebuffed. Then, we simply asked to have the Bureaus comply with the reasoned decision-making requirements of the APA. No deal. It is disappointing to see this Chairman engage in the same actions for which he criticized the prior Chairman. I am hopeful that in the future this Commission, consistent with our shared commitment to increased transparency, will heed the APA’s requirement for reasoned decision-making. The American public deserves no less.”

Midnight regulations will not see the sun rise
Justifying his move to rescind what he termed, ‘midnight regulations,’ Pai stated, “In the waning days of the last administration, the Federal Communications Commission’s bureaus and offices released a series of controversial orders and reports. In some cases, Commissioners were given no advance notice whatsoever of these midnight regulations. In other cases, they were issued over the objection of two of the four Commissioners.  And in all cases, their release ran contrary to the wishes expressed by the leadership of our congressional oversight committees.  These last-minute actions, which did not enjoy the support of the majority of Commissioners at the time they were taken, should not bind us going forward.  Accordingly, they are being revoked.”


Chairman Pai’s Response to Rep. Pallone and Rep. Doyle Regarding Appointment as Chair of the Federal Communications Commission
Statement of Commissioner Mignon Clyburn on Reversing Lifeline Broadband Provider Designations
Statement of Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, On Today’s “Friday News Dump”
Chairman Pai Statement On Revoking Midnight Regulations
Chairman Pai Statement On Free Data Programs
SacBuildout Sheet Display
Statement of Commissioner O’Rielly on Conclusion of Zero Rating Inquiries
Telecommunications Carriers Eligible for Universal Service Support; Lifeline and Link Up Reform and Modernization

WCB reconsiders recently adopted orders designating entities as Lifeline Broadband Providers (LBPs), returns outstanding petitions for LBP designation to their status as petitions pending before WCB, and removes applicants from LBP streamlined treatment

Order Retracting Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis Paper: Improving the Nation’s Digital Infrastructure

OSP Order retracting the paper, “Improving the Nation’s Digital Infrastructure”

Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau White Paper on Cybersecurity Risk Reduction Recission Order

Setting aside and rescinding the PSHSB White Paper on Cybersecurity Risk Reduction and any and all guidance, determinations, and conclusions contained therein

Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Report: Policy Review of Mobile Broadband Operators’ Sponsored Data Offerings for Zero-Rated Content and Services

Sets Aside Policy Review Report

E-rate Modernization Progress Report

The Acting Chiefs of WCB and WTB and the Managing Director retract a report entitled “E-rate Modernization Progress Report” that was released by FCC staff on Jan. 18, 2017. This report will have no legal or other effect or meaning going forward

Letter from Nese Guendelsberger, Acting Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, to Kathleen Grillo, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Public Policy and Government Affairs, Verizon

Letter Closing Inquiry

Letter from Nese Guendelsberger, Acting Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, to Kathleen Ham, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, T-Mobile

Letter Closing Inquiry

Letter from Nese Guendelsberger, Acting Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, to Robert W. Quinn, Jr., Senior Executive Vice President, External and Legislative Affairs, AT&T

Letter Closing Inquiry

Letter from Kris Anne Monteith, Acting Chief, WCB, to Kathyrn A. Zachem, Senior Vice President, Regulatory and State Legislative Affairs, Comcast Corporation

Letter notifying Comcast that the Bureau has closed its inquiry.

Fifth Generation Wireless Network and Device Security Recission Order

Setting aside and rescinding the Fifth Generation Wireless Network and Device Security NOI

Complaints Involving the Political Files of WCNC-TV, Inc., licensee of Station WCNC-TV, Charlotte, NC, et al.

Sets aside two political file orders that were issued pursuant to delegated authority

Recission of March 12, 2014, Broadcast Processing Guidance Relating to Sharing Arrangements and Contingent Interests


Statement of Commissioner Michael O’Rielly on Appointment as Chair of Federal-State Joint Boards and Conference.
Chairman Ajit Pai Taps Commissioner Michael O’Rielly to Lead Federal-State Partnerships
Media Bureau Call Sign Actions
FM Table of Allotments, Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Proposed to allot Channel 295A at Fort Walton Beach, Florida

FM Table of Allotments, Roma and San Isidro, Texas

Delete Channel 278A at Roma, Texas, and allotted Channel 278A at San Isidro, Texas

Policy Branch Information

Satellite Space Applications Accepted for Filing

Policy Branch Information

Actions Taken

Ex Parte Presentations And Post-Reply Comment Period Filing In Permit-But-Disclosure Proceedings Received on 1/26/2017
Ex Parte Presentations And Post-Reply Comment Period Filing In Permit-But-Disclosure Proceedings Received on 1/25/2017
Broadcast Actions
Broadcast Applications