Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee member, Elizabeth Pierce, arrested and then resigns.
The current US presidential administration has faced a lot of backlash over some of its more notable appointees, but when its troubles with the tech industry collided with those appointees, it made news. Following last year’s net neutrality fiasco, the Federal Communications Commission’s Ajit Pai established a federal advisory board to purportedly help the FCC make better decisions where consumers and their communications are concerned.
Unfortunately, his top dog for broadband has been arrested for fraud.
Over and out
Elizabeth Pierce, one of the 30-member panel members on the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, was the CEO of fiber optic cable supplier Quintillion. Unfortunately, a few alleged forged customer contracts for around $1 billion in service led to investment deals with other companies in the amount of $250 million; once the contracts were discovered to be fraudulent, the investigation began. Quintillion states that it contacted the Department of Justice itself to launch an investigation, and that it has cooperated throughout this time. After resigning her position as CEO, Pierce went on to resign as the head of the FCC’s BDAC, only to be arrested last week for wire fraud.
The real irony behind the situation is that Pierce was first appointed to the role because Pai is working to strip away some of the regulations that supposedly prevent new infrastructure from spreading broadband access. Perhaps more members of the federal government are learning that regulatory decision-making isn’t a process that should be ignored.
And there’s more
Unfortunately, this isn’t the only scandal involved in the BDAC. The Daily Beast reports that of the members of the FCC’s board, only a few are actually from local governments; the rest have long histories of heading up telecom companies or serve as experts in “free market” studies, which while not illegal, is an obvious conflict of interest when it comes to decision making for this agency.