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San Jose mayor quits FCC broadband committee claiming all it does is lobby for major internet companies

A member of a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) advisory committee that focuses on broadband deployment has resigned, saying that the agency is giving too much deference to internet service providers.

San Jose, California Mayor Sam Liccardo said in his resignation to the committee, which was formed last year by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai last year.

“It has become abundantly clear that despite the good intentions of several participants, the industry-heavy makeup of [the committee] will simply relegate the body to being a vehicle for advancing the interests of the telecommunications industry over those of the public,” Mr Liccardo said in his resignation letter.

Mr Liccardo’s resignation from the committee, which advises the FCC on how to promote fast and affordable broadband internet access in the US, follows after the regulatory commission voted to repeal internet neutrality rules that required internet service providers to treat all internet traffic the same.

That rules change, and previous attempts at the same vote, sparked widespread criticism and protest online from people who claimed it would allow internet providers to be discriminatory in how they provide traffic. Previous attempts bowed to the pressure of those protests.

In a letter released after Mr Liccardo’s resignation, Mr Pai reaffirmed the stated goals of the committee he created.

“The Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee and its working groups have brought together 101 participants from a range of perspectives to recommend strategies to promote better, faster, and cheaper broadband. Bridging the digital divide continues to be my top priority, and I look forward to continuing to work with [the committee] and many others to remove regulatory barriers to broadband deployment and to extend digital opportunity to all Americans,” Mr Pai said.

Mr Pai, who has served on the Federal Communications previously, is a former lobbyist for Verizon, one of the largest internet service providers in the United States, according to the Centre for Responsive Politics. His current stint with the FCC began in 2012, when he was nominated to the commission by former President Barack Obama.

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