Our team had an enlightening meeting today with representatives of the NYS Attorney General’s office to discuss antitrust and other broadband issues. We presented a PowerPoint which displayed: broadband coverage maps, selected comments from our survey, and key analytics from the overall survey showing the lack of internet options.
Present in attendance:
- Frank Kanter – FIC Admin Director
- Jacob Kraniak – FIC Deputy Board Member/Director of Technology
- Kathen Cowan – FIC Board Treasurer
- Robert Boyle – FIC Board Secretary / CEO of Planet Networks
- Francisca Montana – NYS AG Social Justice Liaison
- Jill Faber – NYS Deputy AG for Regional Affairs
What we learned and key takeaways:
- When it comes to addressing Antitrust-specific issues with a monopoly of service, there is a preemption of responsibility which falls on the FCC (a federal entity). FCC is the agency that approves merger contracts with providers, as they did in 2015 with AlticeUSA. Since this is a Federal issue, the State has very little power to address antitrust issues.
- For further context, Jill pointed to the recent lawsuit presented by ISPs to Governor Andrew Cuomo after the recent low-income internet plan was passed by Assembly. The short version of the lawsuit, challenges the State’s authority to regulate an internet provider, which they claim is preempted by Federal Law.
- With regards to public hearing, like was recently done in New Jersey , that would need to be organized by the NYS Department of Public Service. We intend to reach out and request such a formal hearing.
- They requested anyone who has specific service-related issues to fill out their complaint form with the Bureau of Internet and Technology. We will be making this available on our website.
- Great interest and appreciation was shown in the data we’ve collected on our survey. At their request, we’ve shared the spreadsheet with our response data to their office.
They will be passing the comments you’ve submitted along to the BIT to review any existing service complaints.
- Since we only shared the link to the sheet, this document will continue to update as new responses come in. Keep submitting!
If anything, this was a very good opportunity for us to put our faces in front of someone higher up in the State Government and address this key issue.
We expect to hear a follow-up from the Bureau of Internet Technology and will update as we learn more.
Thanks as always for all your support!
Frank, Jacob, Kit, Robert