EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah (News4Utah) – The head of the Federal Communications Commission is in Utah for a first-hand look at what’s happening in our state with technology.
The visit comes as work crews with Direct Communications are putting the finishing touches on a project that will deliver fiber to nearly every home in Eagle Mountain.
The company took a risk on investing in the remote city because the FCC is guaranteeing a certain return through its Universal Service Fund.
“Our top mission is to close what we call the digital divide. The gap between those who have access to the internet and those who don’t. And part of the reason why is, as shown here in the 4th District, when you have broadband internet access there’s so many things you can do,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.
Things like telemedicine, education, precision agriculture and entrepreneurship.
Chairman Pai is touring the 4th Congressional District with Representative Mia Love to learn more about the challenges and opportunities in rural Utah.
“We are here to listen to Utahns and to get as much information as possible, so we can get things done in Washington,” said Love, (R) Utah.
That includes a roundtable discussion with rural broadband providers.
Part of that discussion includes Chairman Pai standing by the FCC decision to rescind net neutrality. He says he favors a free and open internet that watches out for consumers.
“We have an FCC transparency rule that requires every internet service provider to disclose all kinds of business practices. We have also empowered the Federal Trade Commission to take targeted action against any company who behaves in an anti-competitive way,” he said.
Representative Love says government agencies shouldn’t be making the rules anyway. She says it’s the responsibility of Congress.
“Making sure we get access to internet, making sure that we are preventing throttling, we are making sure we are getting as much access out there as possible,” said Love.
The decision to roll back net neutrality was controversial. Some states are suing over it. In Utah, Representative Brian King has filed a bill to bring it back at the state level.