Federal Communications Commission

Stakeholder Meetings

June 22nd, 2010 by Edward Lazarus - Chief of Staff

Since the D.C. Circuit’s decision in the Comcast Internet-discrimination case more than two months ago, there has been a vibrant debate among stakeholders from all parts of the broadband community on the best path forward. Some stakeholders have shared their ideas with staff at the Commission, including ideas for legislative options. Senior Commission staff are making themselves available to meet with all interested parties on these issues. To the extent stakeholders discuss proposals with Commission staff regarding other approaches outside of the open proceedings at the Commission, the agency’s ex parte disclosure requirements are not applicable. But to promote transparency and keep the public informed, we will post notices of these meetings here at As always, our door is open to all ideas and all stakeholders.

Ex Parte Meeting Notices:
June 22, 2010 - Dish Network Corporation
June 22, 2010 - Alcatel-Lucent
June 23, 2010 - Dish Network Corporation
June 22 and 23, 2010 - Open Internet Coalition
June 23, 2010 - Open Internet Coalition
June 24, 2010 - Dish Network Corporation
June 24, 2010 - Motion Picture Association of America, Inc
June 24, 2010 - Open Internet Coalition
June 24, 2010 - AT&T Services, Inc
June 24, 2010 - Time Warner Cable
June 29, 2010 - Sprint Nextel Corporation
June 29, 2010 - Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT)
June 29, 2010 - XO Communications
June 29, 2010 - PAETEC
June 30, 2010 - Public Knowledge
July 1, 2010 - Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT)
July 1, 2010 - Dish Network Corporation
July 1, 2010 - Office of Engineering and Technology, FCC
July 2, 2010 - Tekelec
July 2, 2010 - American Cable Association
July 2, 2010 - American Cable Association
July 2, 2010 - American Cable Association
July 2, 2010 - American Cable Association
July 2, 2010 - Free Press
July 6, 2010 - Leap Wireless International, Inc
July 7, 2010 - US Telecom Association
July 8, 2010 - Consumers Union
July 8, 2010 - Writers Guild of America, West
July 8, 2010 - American Cable Association
July 12, 2010 - Open Internet Coalition
July 13, 2010 - XO Communications, LLC
July 14, 2010 - National Cable & Telecommunications Association
July 14, 2010 - Google, Inc
July 15, 2010 - T-Mobile USA, Inc
July 16, 2010 - T-Mobile USA, Inc
July 19, 2010 - National Cable & Telecommunications Association
July 19, 2010 - Motion Picture Association of America, Inc
July 20, 2010 - T-Mobile USA, Inc
July 20, 2010 - CTIA - The Wireless Association
July 20, 2010 - Leap Wireless International, Inc
July 21, 2010 - Leap Wireless International, Inc
July 21, 2010 - Media Access Project
July 21, 2010 - AT&T Inc
July 22, 2010 - Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT)
July 22, 2010 - Free Press
July 22, 2010 - Free Press
July 22, 2010 - Clearwire Corporation
July 23, 2010 - Skype Communications S.A.R.L.
July 23, 2010 - National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
July 23, 2010 - Andrew Jay Schwartzman
July 26, 2010 - Skype Communications S.A.R.L.
July 26, 2010 - National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners
July 27, 2010 - ALA, ARL and EDUCAUSE
July 28, 2010 - AT&T, Inc
July 28, 2010 - Computer & Communications Industry Association
July 29, 2010 - Open Internet Coalition
July 29, 2010 - Open Internet Coalition
August 1, 2010 - Recording Industry Association of America
August 2, 2010 - Open Internet Coalition
August 2, 2010 - Windstream Communications, Inc
August 2, 2010 - Open Technology Initiative
August 2, 2010 - Public Knowledge
August 2, 2010 - Stanford Law School
August 4, 2010 - Verizon
August 5, 2010 - National Cable & Telecommunications Association
August 6, 2010 - Telepoly Consulting

23 Responses to “Stakeholder Meetings”

  1. Tavery says:

    Good decisions are made with good information. I understand why the commission would like to run through different options for legislation with major stakeholders. What I don't understand is why consumer groups are not given a seat at the table. The decisions made on net neutrality have a major potential impact on the future economic healthy of the country. The northeast, in particular, could be economically decimated if the access to the internet for new innovative firms that are the engine for a lot of our most desirable jobs was controlled by the ISPs.
    One of the major deficits in all the FCC communications on the subject is that they seem either to take the point of view of established players (Google, Comcast, etc) or of consumers of broadband. In the one case the goal is to protect the interests of the estblished players in the space and in the other to allow access to the largest number of people (like a rural electrification project).
    But protecting old business models can have terrible consequences for the country (as the Civil War arguably shows). Instead, the FCC should also consider the small and innovative technologies- some of which have yet to come into being, which are major economic drivers. Not to mention, that they are purest example of entrepreneurship, innovation, and the American dream you could ask for. There aren't many places, anymore, where a smart person with a really good idea can compete effectively against a mega-corporation and build a better product - and a better America. If you let the ISP change the topology of the internet you'll crush that.

  2. Guest says:

    You won't mind showing us meeting minutes then, huh?

  3. Brett Glass says:

    What happened to Chairman Genachowski's promises of "the most open and transparent FCC ever?"

  4. Craig Aaron says:

    I can't believe we've reached the moment where I agree with Brett Glass, but here we are. Are we really supposed to believe that commenting on this blog will be given the same weight as a secret, closed-door strategy meeting with the most powerful telecom lobbyists in Washington? Please.

    Either you're discussing the "reclassification" NOI or the Net Neutrality NPRM, which should be disclosed and done in public, or you are secretly working out a legislative strategy -- which is even more outrageous.

    Either way, the public loses.

  5. Publius says:

    The NOI says, on page 2, "In addition to seeking original suggestions from commenters, we ask questions about three specific approaches."

    In other words, original suggestions from commenters, including "other approaches" including but not limited to legislation, do fall within the scope of the NOI. I and other members of the public hope that the Commission will appropriately enforce its ex parte regulations.

  6. Phillip Dampier says:

    Apparently the FCC forgot to invite Comcast, the entity directly responsible for having its authority over broadband stripped away in the first place!

    There is no transparency or openness in closed-door meetings that bar the public from participation. It's just more of the same inside-the-beltway dealmaking that will undercut consumers. Believe it or not, there is more at stake here than whatever issues Verizon, AT&T, Google, and eBay have to discuss.

    And what if the four agreed on anything (improbable)? Does that mean the rest of us are expected to go along to get along?

    The Washington Post characterized these Cheney-Energy-Task-Force-like meetings as an effort to dispense with pesky regulatory reform if these four players can agree on issues like Net Neutrality and to help the agency prepare for reopening the Communications Act for revision. At least that will help reduce unemployment -- thousands of check-bearing lobbyists will descend like locusts on Capitol Hill with their wish lists. The last Communications Act revision was a disaster for consumers.

    The FCC's door is -not- open to all ideas and stakeholders when the chairman's chief of staff only invites four voices to his table.

    Brett Glass and I are on opposite sides of many broadband issues, but he's absolutely right here -- there is nothing open and transparent about secret meetings with excuses about why disclosure rules do not apply.

    Phillip Dampier

  7. Brett Glass says:

    Have been watching the growing list above with some concern. Many of the ex parte letters listed there are unrelated to the behind-the-scenes negotiations which are causing public concern and hence are just a distraction. Others which ARE related to those negotiations fail to disclose the views expressed by the participants and thus do not meet the Commission's own standards for ex parte disclosure as expressed by the Chairman. Again, these would be ample grounds for a court to scuttle whatever action was taken pursuant to them.

  8. Concerned Citizen says:

    Lazarus -- Is this some kind of joke? You should be ashamed of yourself. So much for "the most open and transparent FCC ever."

    Utterly disgraceful.

    -- Concerned Citizen

  9. Tyson says:

    I'm confused as to why the ex parte rules do not apply to this situation. Isn't the American public a party in this discussion, of which all documentation (meeting minutes, closed-door decisions or discussions, etc.) should be divulged in the interest of fairness and transparency?

    The issue I have with this decision is related to the overarching goal behind the ex parte rules. The purpose of the rules is to ensure that fairness is protected for all parties (most notably, the FCC), and also to ensure that decisions made by the FCC are not influenced by "impermissible off-the-record-communications." The notion that these items will not be made available to all interested parties negates any concept of fairness and actually encourages unfair influence to the FCC by private corporations.

    FCC - please post specific reasons (with proper citations) explaining your exemption from this set of rules.

    An excerpt from the FCC Ex Parte Rules Fact Sheet:

    The ex parte rules govern the manner in which persons may communicate with the Commission concerning the issues in its proceedings. The rules play an important role in protecting the fairness of the FCC's proceedings by assuring that FCC decisions are not influenced by impermissible off-the-record-communications between decision-makers and others. At the same time, the rules are designed to ensure that the FCC has sufficient flexibility to obtain the information that is necessary for it to make reasonable decisions.

  10. Mark Johnson says:

    Mr. Lazarus, please answer. How can you defend closed-door meetings of this kind when the Obama administration has been promising transparency?

    This situation reminds me of Dick Cheney meeting with energy company representatives in private and drafting legislation.

  11. Phillip Reed says:

    Since when is the public not considered a stakeholder in the broadband community?

  12. Betty Ann Sloan says:

    Completely unacceptable.

    I agree with Philip Reed -Since when is the public not considered a stakeholder in the broadband community?

  13. Brett Glass says:

    "Nothing is more critical to assuring the integrity of our proceedings than the way we document ex
    parte communications. Over thirty years ago, the D.C. Circuit’s Home Box Office decision struck down
    Commission cable rules in part because hundreds of undocumented ex parte contacts had occurred.
    While noting that it was not illegal for the Commission to entertain ex parte contacts, the Court instructed that the records of Commission proceedings must reveal all the information made available ex parte sobthat it can be understood and debated. Home Box Office v. FCC, 567 F.2d 9, 118 (1977).

    "Given the complexity and importance of the issues that come before us, ex parte communications
    remain an essential part of our deliberative process. It is essential that industry and public stakeholders know the facts and arguments presented to us in order to express informed views."

    Statement of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, February 22, 2010, FCC 10-31A2 (available at

  14. Michael S. Moore says:

    Free speech is breaking out all over and it scares the powerful to death

    What makes the World Wide Web so great is that it actually makes speech free.

    Don't give it away.


  15. Mike says:

    And exactly how was the consumer represented at these meetings?


  16. Swamibhut says:

    I agree that most closed door meetings between Government agencies and corporate giants never produced any results in favor of the people. It is always a sad truth. So people bears no faith and thus carry a mistrust to both parties and they are proven right. Now is the time to screw up the internet siding toward large corporate screwballs. BP is one such example.

  17. Rev. Michael Robbins Guest says:

    I care neither a 'feather nor a fig' what is perfectly normal conduct of meetings between the FCC and the crooked lobbyists and industries that you are supposed to be regulating. The fact of the matter is this. Americans are sick and tired of cronyism in matters of PUBLIC policy and interest.
    Sunshine is still the finest disinfectant known in public matters. I, along with millions of other Americans, are sick to death of the "good old boy and girl" machinations that are the stock and trade of American government for the last seventy years.
    Ex parte be damned.
    Keep it up. The more crooked the federal bureaucracy gets the more the majority of Americans are becoming aware and incensed. "A Change is Gonna Come" as songwriter Sam Cooke once penned. So, just keep it up.

  18. gabe morrow says:

    we need to dissolve the fcc its completely ineffective and should be disposed of asap

    i sent letter to my congresmen asking them to get red of fcc others should;d to

  19. Guest says:

    Look at this, transparency in government as always...

    To add insult to injury, more corporate stooges and shills are being hired by large telecommunications providers to write the ISP Title 2 Re-classification for the FCC. Business as usual fellas?

  20. FCC Watcher says:

    Mr. Lazarus,

    While the FCC is appropriately making efforts to embrace new technology, such actions should not be a replacement for formal FCC processes. Blogs and official FCC filings are not mutually exclusive, they should be complementary. While this blog is a great way to provide additional background information and notice of FCC action (as well as obtain public feedback) it should not be the primary form of notice of FCC action.

    This is not the first time this has happened, last week the FCC released a White Paper of broadcast spectrum exclusively through blog, no notice in the Daily Digest, no notice on the FCC's homepage. The FCC is making more important announcements through a blog, which should not be the primary means by which the government provides the public with notice of FCC actions and important information. The FCC should re-evaluate the manner it uses its blog taking into account its ex parte rules, APA obligation and ensuring the most effective means of communications are utilized to notify the public.

    While these closed door meetings are appropriate, they, like other FCC action, should be formally documented via official FCC channels (i.e., ECFS, Daily Digest etc.). The FCC and the Chairman's administration should be practicing what they have been preaching...transparency! If ex parte filers on other matters are expected to provide detailed accounts of meetings (more than just a few sentence and generalities), in this situation so too should the FCC and the stakeholders attending these "closed door" meetings.

  21. Brett Glass says:

    The second letter posted above clearly indicates that topics relevant to GN Dockets 09-191 and 10-127 were discussed at all of the meetings. So, where's the beef? A proper ex parte letter does not just contain a tiny list of the topics discussed; it also contains information about what was said about those topics and by whom. Where's the beef?

    It would be wise for the Commission to remember that in HBO v. FCC, the FCC's Order was voided because it did not report the substance of ex parte meetings. The Commission is opening itself to exactly such a challenge down the road if it does not report in detail what was said at these closed door meetings.

  22. Guest says:

    Secret meetings with the companies you are supposed to regulate, sure, what could be wrong with that?

    How f'in dumb do you think people are, Mr. Lazarus and crew?

  23. Guest says:

    Most of these huge companies have former workers on the FCC board, it's called a revolving door.

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