The Chair of the U.S. House Commerce Committee has sent a letter to the FCC  requesting copies of communications between the agency and the “Big Wireless” corporations.

On January 24, Frank Pallone, Chairman of the U.S. House Commerce Committee, sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission asking for copies of communications between the FCC and the corporations involved in the current roll out of 5th Generation (5g) cellular technology. The UK Register reports that Pallone’s letter seems to indicate that the Commerce Committee has spoken with a whistleblower.

“It has come to our attention that certain individuals at the FCC may have urged companies to challenge the order the Commission adopted in order to game the judicial lottery procedure and intimated the agency would look unfavorably towards entities that were not helpful,” the letter reads.

Pallone does not elaborate on the source of his information. His letter claims that persons within the FCC put “pressure” on the “Big Wireless” telecommunications corporations, encouraging them to challenge a 5g-related rule in order to prevent it from ending up in a courtroom where it would likely be overturned. The goal, Pallone alleges, was to move the legal challenge out of the state of California to a more friendly judicial environment.

The Register notes that all four mobile operators challenged this rule with their own lawsuits. The lawsuits claimed that the 5g rule was insufficient and should have included provisions which would allow automatic approval of new cell sites once application timelines were finished. The companies argued that they would be forced to waste time and money in court if local authorities missed application deadlines. This move baffled onlookers because the FCC order already benefited Big Wireless in the form of billions of dollars. The companies filed their lawsuits in four different districts before they were ultimately consolidated into one case and moved to the Tenth Circuit, which covers cases in Utah, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, and Wyoming.

The Register reports:

“As crazy as that sounds, given what we know of the FCC under chair Ajit Pai, it is all too possible. Not only has Pai’s office pandered to Big Cable to an excessive degree in the past two years, pushing through changes vehemently opposed by everyone that isn’t one of the main telcos, there has been a rumors that the regulator is actively working in secret with companies it is supposed to oversee. A series of unusually aligned and coordinated responses have long raised eyebrows.”

Indeed, back in February 2018 it was reported that the FCC chair Ajit Pai was under investigation by his own agency after allegations that he helped Sinclair broadcasting further consolidate their media empire. Should Americans trust this man to consider their interests as 5g rolls out around the nation?

The FCC declined to comment on the letter or its allegations.

These new claims by the House Commerce Committee are the latest in an ongoing battle to wrestle local control of the 5g roll out from the hands of the federal government and their Big Wireless buddies. In October 2018 the move towards the smart grid was hastened when the FCC approved a rule limits the role of local authorities regarding the building of 5G networks, specifically the amount city officials can charge telecommunication companies.

The Hill reported on the new rule:

“All four commissioners offered support for the rule, with Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel dissenting over only part of the proposal. When the new rules take effect, local officials will have 60 to 90 days to review installation requests.

Republicans on the commission say that limiting what they see as exorbitant fees in major cities will free up capital for companies like Verizon and AT&T to invest in building out their networks in underserved rural areas. The commission estimated that the rule will save wireless providers $2 billion.”

However, the move was resisted by Mayors and other officials around the nation.. The mayors of Los Angeles and Philadelphia opposed the rule and accused the FCC of overriding local authority to regulate the new technology. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti sent a letter to the FCC stating that the rules would override previous agreements established by local authorities and Verizon and AT&T. In addition, before the vote a group of House Democrats wrote to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai asking him to cancel the vote.

It’s pretty clear that the FCC and Ajit Pai are acting in collusion with Big Wireless. They have stopped listening to the voices of the people and instead, are allowing their actions to be dictated by the whims of their corporate partners.

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