Second BDAC Member Quits Over Charges of Industry Influence

A second member has quit the FCC's Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, also suggesting it has been carrying water for industry rather than drawing on a well of other sources to grow broadband deployment.

Miguel Gamiño Jr., CTO of the New York City, said in a letter to FCC chairman Ajit Pai that after participating in 100 hours worth of calls, attending one all-day meeting in D.C. and submitting "countless" suggestions and comments," he has concluded that the committee has "has skewed the drafting of the proposed recommendations towards industry priorities without regard for a true public-private partnership."

BDAC's charter is to advise the FCC on how best to accelerate deployment of high-speed broadband access by reducing barriers to infrastructure investment.

Related: Cities, Counties Seek More Input at FCC

He said he could not recommend the city follow or promote BDAC's eventual work product, and instead suggested the city's nationwide partnership between Mayor Bill de Blasio and more than a dozen other mayors on promoting network neutrality would be a venue to share best practices on broadband deployment.

De Blasio is a fan of the FCC network neutrality rules that the Pai FCC voted to eliminate, saying they had discouraged broadband investment.

Gamiño said he had no choice but to "step away" from the process and focus on efforts be thought would provide his city " more productive opportunities for achieving the kind of cooperative progress in advancing broadband deployment in the public interest."

That follows the resignation of San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. in fact onde of Gamino's complaints was that noone had been named to replace Liccardo, who was a working group vice chair.

"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," Gamino wrote.

Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn shares Gamiño's concern that the committee is too industry-focused when it comes to solutions for closing the digital divide.

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) has also called on the FCC to add more state and local government input on BDAC, also suggesting the FCC’s goal now is to serve industry and tie the hands of those local governments.

BDAC held its first meeting last April. It was created by Pai to come up with strategies for closing the digital divide and advancing his Digital Empowerment Agenda, comprising various stakeholders. Closing the broadband digital divide, particularly in rural areas, has been a key agenda issue for Pai.

The committee is expected to come up with two "model codes," one for cities and the other for states, those codes being guidelines for how to streamline broadband deployment while balancing the interests of government with the demands for better, faster and cheaper broadband.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.