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Bennett Ross Discusses Changes to FCC Lifeline Program

Law360
February 21, 2017

Bennett L. Ross, partner in Wiley Rein’s Telecom, Media & Technology Practice, was quoted in a February 15 Law360 article about a recent decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) concerning its Lifeline program, which helps make communications services more affordable for low-income consumers.  FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has been criticized by some Democrats and media outlets for that decision, which seeks additional time for the agency to review an order by the prior FCC authorizing nine companies to participate in the Lifeline program.  This authorization was provided pursuant to a process established by the FCC in 2016, the lawfulness of which has been challenged in the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

In addressing the criticisms of Chairman Pai, Mr. Ross noted that “the kerfuffle is indicative of how partisan this industry has become and indicative of the general partisanship in Washington.”  According to Mr. Ross, “Every opportunity to try to make political points will be on the table for the foreseeable future. In the scheme of things, this is nothing except a decision to try to give the new FCC time to figure out what the right policy is.”