Taxpayers Protection Alliance Praises Pai's Moves

The Taxpayers Protection Alliance is a big fan of FCC chairman Ajit Pai's latest deregulatory moves.

Pai last week said the FCC was returning power to distribute Lifeline subsidy grants back to the states and was taking a more deregulatory approach to revamping business data service (BDS) regulations than his predecessor.

The alliance, a strong opponent of FCC chairman Tom Wheeler and his policies and supporter of deregulation and the private sector, said it was Wheeler who tried to take power away from the states (via his creation of a federal approach to verifying Lifeline subsidy eligibility) and that Pai was just returning the appropriate status quo, which it said is a welcome change for the program, those who need the subsidies, and "the taxpayers that pay for it."

The subsidy, to provide "lifeline" communications services to the poor, is paid by telecoms, who pass the cost on to their customers.

The alliance also praised Pai's decision to circulate a new approach to business data services that generally deregulates the rates of incumbents—except where there is a demonstrated lack of competition.

"Today’s move to roll back new rules aimed at regulating the way providers provide some of the most important tools for communications and business data services is another example of doing what is right for free markets and what is right for competition and innovation," said alliance president David Williams.

BDS services include credit card readers and ATM connections.

Actually, the new BDS rules never went into effect. The then Democrat-controlled FCC proposed new rules last year, but Wheeler could not secure a vote on an order before time ran out on his tenure and pulled it from the calendar after the election.

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.