Monday , 18 February 2019
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Trump's FCC wants to force consumers to pay FCC $225 to review complaints against telecoms

Trump's FCC wants to force consumers to pay FCC $225 to review complaints against telecoms

When Trump’s FCC chair Ajit Pai crawled from under a portable toilet in a big telecom parking lot, he had one thing in mind—to destroy any and all protections consumers might have against the already monopolistic control over telecommunications that big telecoms have. To that end, Pai has spoken out loud about wanting to ameliorate the “digital divide,” not by doing anything to help Americans from all economic stations in life, but by destroying any and every protection and safety net in existence. He’s attacked low-income telecommunication subsidies, repealed net neutrality protections and now, he and his transparent regime are doing what fascists do best—censoring the public dissent. On Thursday, Pai and his Republican-majority FCC will vote to do away with reviewing the free “informal” complaint system.

The FCC accepts two types of complaints: informal ones and formal ones. It costs nothing to file an informal complaint and $225 to file a formal one; given that, consumers almost always file informal complaints. Besides the filing fee, formal complaints kick off a court-like proceeding in which the parties appear before the FCC and file numerous documents to address legal issues. It isn’t an easy process for consumers to go through.

Pai wants to argue that this will “streamline” the process. He’s right, you know. Because the “process” he and his Party’s overlords are involved in has to do with silencing the public while solidifying a plutocratic power structure. Pai argues that the FCC will be making their formal complaint system more “robust,” and in doing so, being more effective in handling Internet Service Provider (ISP) violations, and ISPs will still be required to respond to free “informal” complaints. Of course, that’s not exactly the case.

Even if the telecom provider fails to reply to an informal complaint, the only recourse would be filing a formal one. “[T]he Commission will notify the complainant that if the complainant is not satisfied by the carrier’s response, or if the carrier has failed to submit a response by the due date, the complainant may file a formal complaint,” the proposed version of the FCC complaint rule says. By contrast, the current version of the rule says that “the Commission will contact the complainant regarding its review and disposition of the matters raised. If the complainant is not satisfied by the carrier’s response and the Commission’s disposition, it may file a formal complaint.”

Getting rid of all those loud consumers and their complaints of being abused by historically abusive big businesses—by creating what in essence is a “paywall,”—is just a nice step for Ajit Pai to quiet the voices in his head that remind him of what a fraud he is. CNET reports that FCC “officials,” say nothing’s changed … leading one to wonder what the fuck are they voting about, then?

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