back to article Eat my shorts, watchdog tells every city mayor in the US – FCC approves $2bn 5G telco windfall

If you were to pick a moment in which America's telecoms regulator disappeared down the rabbit hole at its monthly meeting, it would probably be when the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Ajit Pai provided a full "up is down" statement. "I salute Commissioner Carr for his leadership in developing this …

  1. JohnFen Silver badge

    If this is the price

    If the price of 5G is to hand over even more control, power, and money to the telecoms, then I argue that we don't need 5G at all. It's far, far too expensive.

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Re: If this is the price

      But with 5G you can hit your data cap (bring on the overage gravy) in seconds instead of minutes. Won't anyone think of the telecom shareholders?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yup

    It's PAI DAY!

    Remind me to buy shares in suppliers of brown envelopes

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      It 2018

      just buy shares in a company with blockchain in its name.

  3. Tom 35 Silver badge

    Is anyone surprised

    FCC holds consult, puts trash bin under mail slot, wow everyone LOVES our plan.

  4. Someone Else Silver badge
    Flame

    Calling a spade a spade

    "I salute Commissioner Carr for his leadership in developing this order," Pai said today of his fellow commissioner Brendan Carr while discussing a plan to set a federal limit on what local and state governments are allowed to charge telecoms companies to add new 5G mobile cell sites on their property.

    "He worked very closely with many state and local officials to understand their needs and to study the policies that have worked at the state and local level. It should therefore come as no surprise that this order has won significant support from mayor, local officials and state legislatures."

    There's only one problem with this statement: it is wholly, provable incorrect.

    In other words, it's a fucking lie. Kieran, please stop mincing words. Call a lie a lie. It's especially easy in the Drumpf administration, as just about every pronouncement from said group is a provable lie. Stop pussyfooting around...just do it!

    1. User McUser

      Re: Calling a spade a spade

      In other words, it's a fucking lie. Kieran, please stop mincing words. Call a lie a lie.

      NPR had an interesting piece on this issue, which can be found here.

  5. Someone Else Silver badge

    And, then having listened to the FCC's Lisa Simpson, the three Barts named Ajit, Brendan and Michael voted to pass the measure.

    You think they may have (even accidentally) listened? Shirley, you jest!

  6. Jay Lenovo
    Unhappy

    Checks and un'Balances

    Since Pai instituted a $225 fee to lodge a formal complaint with the FCC,

    I anticipate mild amounts of "permitted" opposition.

    1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

      Re: Checks and un'Balances

      I really, really need to win the lottery.

  7. John1918

    Is anyone surprised?

    If you give complete control of regulation of an industry to stooges of that industry, generally things don't go great for people that aren't making money off of it.

    Hello bevy of lawsuits.

    1. J. Cook Bronze badge

      Re: Is anyone surprised?

      Hello bevy of lawsuits.

      Lawsuits? I seem to recall that there was a war over this topic (State's rights) some decades back.

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Is anyone surprised?

        Ahem. Might as well use the full sentence, "States rights to keep slaves".

        (For example, the declaration of causes for secession of the state of Texas)

        1. J. Cook Bronze badge
          Boffin

          Re: Is anyone surprised?

          Yes. Unlike my fellow USAians, I do know a bit about our country's storied history (both good and bad- We've done some pretty monstrous things in the past and continue to do so), but felt that the slavery angle wasn't quite relevant to the discussion.

  8. DeKrow
    Mushroom

    Quoting Zappa!?

    It's almost worse that he's quoting Zappa in such a context. Zappa was fiercely anti-corporate-bullshit (Joe's Garage). Pai has crossed two lines at once. He's zombie-walked into historic reputational suicide.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Quoting Zappa!?

      "He's zombie-walked into historic reputational suicide."

      The only way Pai's reputation could suicide is if it had come back as a zombie anyway.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Quoting Zappa!?

      He's zombie-walked into historic reputational suicide.

      Pai is obviously quite insane and needs the extra long sleeve jacket and a bed in a room with rubber wals.

  9. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Cities still have power

    When the Feds rule something there is still a lot local cities can do to block them (over here in the former colonies every street corner is its own separately governed city)

    Classics include environment impact assements that cover every last leaf of grass, punctilious enforcement of bylaws so you are fined if a worker coughs before 8:00am or drops a cig butt. Then you put every site knee deep in OSHA (=HSE) inspectors and shut them down at the first sight of a missing approval tag on a safety boot.

    If that fails you require them to get unanimous approval of half a dozen local Indian bands - all of which hate each other.

    A 3G tower has been stalled here for years because an Indian band claims it will broadcast across their sacred territory and want something (it's not entirely clear what) but by the time it's settled there won't be any 3G.

    1. Maty

      Re: Cities still have power

      'When the Feds rule something there is still a lot local cities can do to block them ...'

      Sir -

      Your cynicism in this matter is truly shocking. Shocking, I tell you. I am sure such a thing would never happen in reality.

      By the way, on a different matter, did you hear about the Trans-mountain pipeline in British Columbia? There are all sorts of problems getting it built, because the BC government keeps asking for extra environmental impact studies, and then challenging the results in court.

      Oh, and the Supreme Court has just ruled that First Nations were inadequately consulted, so that has to be done again, after which the First Nations intend to challenge the environmental impact studies. ...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cities still have power

        And even then Burnaby (the suburb where it reaches the sea) can make all its own rules about building permits, rights of way, road closures for construction trafffic etc.

        Picture the Eu but with every local council in europe having its own politicians, elections, laws and vetos

  10. FozzyBear Silver badge

    There's only one problem with this statement: it is wholly, provable incorrect.

    So what you're saying is that once again, an executive has no idea of what they're talking about.

    Well... Colour me fucking surprised. !

    1. Ole Juul Silver badge

      "So what you're saying is that once again, an executive has no idea of what they're talking about."

      Pai does know what he's talking about, but he is a liar so what he's saying is not important.

  11. Herby Silver badge

    Just an attempt...

    To prevent the cities from extorting BIG BIG BUX from wireless operators.

    Yes, it is BIG BIG BUX, and yes it is extortion.

    1. Adelio

      Re: Just an attempt...

      If he is lying then could you not sue him?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just an attempt...

      He likes BIG BUX and he cannot lie. Oh wait, he can.

      1. J. Cook Bronze badge

        Re: Just an attempt...

        You are anthony ray and I claim my nickel. :D

    3. tip pc
      Big Brother

      Re: Just an attempt...

      It’s funny how the mayors see it as an opportunity to gain funds from the telcos but don’t see it’ll just cost their citizens more as the telcos pass on the extra costs.

      Lowering the charges for next gen comms May just attract more employers or even employees settling in those neighbourhoods adding to overall prosperity.

      I’m sure Corbyn will charge our companies more once he’s in power as he doesn’t see the link between the costs companies pay and what consumers are ultimately charged.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Just an attempt...

        But this is the US. Lowering the cost to telecoms for this will not affect the prices they charge to their customers at all, nor affect the amount of investment they engage in. It sole effect will be to increase their profits.

    4. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Just an attempt...

      To prevent the cities from extorting...

      In my experience, when someone uses the word "just" in commenting on a technical matter, they don't have a clue what they are talking about ("Why don't you just turn off AV and firewall for all these web servers so they will run better?") or they are straight up lying ("Don't worry. It's just the tip."). If your thesis is that all taxation is extortion and therefor what has been done by the various local jurisdictions is wrong, I would place your comment in Column A. Otherwise, just* stop with the BS.

      * For the sardonically impaired, this does not a constitute a technical matter.

  12. Giovani Tapini

    The FCC has turned into the EPO

    and we haven't had any rants about them for a while either!

    Run by a monster personality with a personal agenda rather than being a servant to society or objective policy maker.

  13. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Flame

    "He worked very closely with many state and local officials to understand their needs"

    And then he drafted something that exactly the reverse of that.

    I feel like saying something involving the chemical shed and a firing squad.

  14. Sixtysix

    This demonstration of USA politics...

    ...shows why allowing senior positions to be filled by appointment might not the best idea in the world.

    Nepotism is bad enough, but from the outside (not based in Americas) these two appointments and the subsequent "works" look like deliberate sabotage - Pai seems to be working against the remit of his organisation? Certainly as his predecessors saw it!

    But then I'd suggest that the whole "Presidential appointments..." routine/circus needs an overhaul!

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: This demonstration of USA politics...

      There's a reason independent authorities leaders are appointed and not elected - and it's exactly they should be selected and appointed (by elected officials) to be independent from political partisanship and seeking election or re-election - and are only responsible towards the State and the Law.

      Nor you can ask people to vote for each and every position - i..e. a president is elected, but ministers are appointed.

      That's why, also, in most countries all levels of judges and prosecutors are not elected (that doesn't make the system perfect, though).

      The problem then becomes how they are selected - if their posts just become a spoil system prize, and very partisan people are appointed instead of reaching a broader consensus on independent ones, you get a Pai.

      Anyway, when a country becomes so polarized like US (and not only), and rules are broken and bent to suit whoever holds power in a given moment, there's really no regulatory system that could stand - idiocy can only be stopped removing the idiots.

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