The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Communications Breakdown

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact

By Deborah Collier

On April 30, 2014, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler gave the keynote address ( at the 2014 Cable Show in Los Angeles. In a forceful speech, he declared that it was time to follow up on the January 2014 court decision on net neutrality and establish rules over Internet service providers that would be "tough, enforceable, and in effect with dispatch."  Chairman Wheeler said that everything is on the table for these new rules, including the very controversial idea of reclassifying the Internet as a Title II communications service.  The chairman’s April 24 blog discussed his draft Open Internet Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which will be voted on by the commission on May 15.  It is already open for comment before it is made public because of the strong interest in the proposal from both supporters and opponents of the plan.

In addition to his focus on net neutrality, Chairman Wheeler touched on deploying broadband to unserved individuals in America through the use of the Connect America Fund, which just received approval to begin Phase 2. He also spoke briefly about E-Rate reform, Wi-Fi spectrum and network cyber-readiness.

Chairman Wheeler also discussed preempting state laws that place restrictions on municipal broadband systems, which would force taxpayers to finance such projects.  Citizens Against Government Waste identified significant management and financial issues associated with such overbuilding in Chapter 2 of Telecom Unplugged: Unleashing a New Digital Era.

Chairman Wheeler's remarks should raise warning flags to all Americans.  His proposed increased intervention and control over the Internet and attempt to usurp state laws are examples of the worst kind of government overreach.


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