Among other damage done to the Republic by our President last week, his new Republican Federal Communications Commission chief helped approve a plan to deregulate broadband in a way that will make Internet access more expensive for schools, libraries, hospitals, and small businesses:
…the FCC voted today to approve a controversial plan to deregulate the $45 billion market for business-to-business broadband, also known as Business Data Services (BDS), by eliminating price caps that make internet access more affordable for thousands of small businesses, schools, libraries and hospitals. The price caps, which have been in place for years, are designed to protect small businesses and other community institutions from predatory behavior by monopoly broadband providers like AT&T and Verizon.
…Public interest advocates say the removal of the BDS price caps will deliver a massive financial windfall to broadband giants like AT&T and Verizon, while driving up costs for consumers. That’s because every time you use an ATM or a credit card at the gas pump or grocery store, the transaction takes place over a BDS network. Higher costs for businesses inevitably lead to higher prices for consumers [Sam Gustin, “Trump’s FCC Votes to Allow Broadband Rate Hikes for Schools and Libraries,” Vice: Motherboard, 2017.04.20].
The lone Democrat on the FCC voted against this favor to the big telecoms, in part because it will have a particularly negative effect on rural America:
“Instead of looking out for those millions of little guys, the commission has once again chosen to side with the interests of a handful of multibillion-dollar providers,” Clyburn said in her dissenting statement. “What today’s order does is open the door to immediate price hikes for small business data services. Especially hard-hit would be those in rural areas: Cash-strapped hospitals, schools, libraries and police departments will pay even more for vital connectivity, and soon we will see pressure on our rural health care funding, resulting in less bandwidth” [Donovan Harrell, “FCC Changes to Data Services Could Raise Costs for Rural Areas, Commissioner Argues,” McClatchy, 2017.04.20].
How hard is it to figure out that Donald Trump and his Republicans don’t care about anyone but big business?