It’s not a good week for the FCC.
In the latest legal effort against the Tom Wheeler-led Commission to surface in the last seven days, the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) and the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) have filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit asking the court to review the Commission’s inaction on MMTC’s proposal to extend the 1992 Cable Procurement Rule to all communications and high tech industries.
In a joint statement from the MMTC and NABOB, the groups state that the Cable Procurement Rule “has been a success in advancing minority and women entrepreneurship,” and that its extension to all communications and high-tech companies “was unopposed by industry and was endorsed by 57 national organizations and by a unanimous vote of the FCC’s own (former) Advisory Committee on Diversity.”
In their petition, the advocacy groups state, “Despite representations to the Third Circuit that the FCC Chairman would address this issue in a manner that would allow it to be resolved [in August], the FCC has once again punted the issue.”
MMTC President/CEO Kim Keenan added, “The Commission’s failure to extend its Cable Procurement Rule across all telecommunications platforms is illogical and incompatible with Congressional mandate. The FCC has an obligation to move policy forward that stimulates ownership diversity. Yet, with diversity dwindling in telecommunications ownership, the Commission has let another opportunity for minority- and women-owned businesses to compete for billions of dollars in procurement slip away.”
Four former FCC chairs (Reed Hundt, William Kennard, Michael Copps, and Julius Genachowski) and three members of the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee (Reps. G.K. Butterfield, Yvette Clarke, and Bobby Rush) have been staunch advocates for the extension of the Cable Procurement Rule to all communications technologies.
The petition is available online here.