FCC’s Failure To Collect On Headline-Making Fines Draws Politico’s (And Congress’) Scrutiny
POLITICO has turned its eye towards the FCC, and in particular at how the agency has issued huge fines over the past two years but has yet to collect any of the money.
The report by ALEX BYERS notes that “the increasingly large fines proposed by the agency are highlighting the gap between attention-grabbing press releases and slow-moving collection” and that Congress is looking into why TRAVIS LEBLANC’s Enforcement Bureau is issuing massive fines but not collecting on them.
“If an enormous fine is announced and it’s never prosecuted, it makes you wonder what’s the purpose?,” House Telecommunications Subcommittee Chairman Rep. GREG WALDEN (R-OR) asked POLITICO. “The question is, are they just after headlines or some sort of performance metric? I don’t know.”
The article cites an FCC spokesperson who, while declining to talk about ongoing cases, said that Notices Of Apparent Liability are “a major tool to protect consumers, even if companies don’t ultimately pay a full penalty.” But the CONSUMER FEDERATION OF AMERICA’s MARK COOPER said that if the Commission fails to effectively penalize companies, its power will be weakened.
Are the fines that the FCC imposed on AT&T a few years ago for “throttling” data throughput speeds on the accounts of some of its unlimited data plan customers among the uncollected ones? I hope that they are because I recall reading that these fines were on the order of over $100 million, and I remember thinking that these fines would amount to a double-whammy for AT&T’s customers, as they would ultimately end up paying them, in the form of higher monthly bills.