Former FCC counselor says broadband access was an election issue in midterms

A former counselor to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman under President Obama said in an interview that aired Thursday on "Rising" that access to broadband proved to be a midterm election issue. 

"Access to broadband and the lack of competition, and the high prices people pay were definitely an election issue," Gigi Sohn, who is a Benton Senior Fellow and a public advocate, told Hill.TV's Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on "Rising." 

"You still have 39 percent of rural residents who do not have access to a rural broadband connection," she continued. "Both net neutrality and access to broadband generally were real election issues."

Sohn's comments come as Democrats prepare to take over the majority in the House next month. 

Ajit Pai, the FCC chairman under President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump claims media 'smeared' students involved in encounter with Native American man Al Sharpton criticizes Trump’s ‘secret’ visit to MLK monument Gillibrand cites spirituality in 2020 fight against Trump’s ‘dark’ values MORE, drew backlash from Democrats last year after the agency voted to undo 2015 net neutrality rules, which blocked companies like Verizon and Comcast from blocking or slowing down websites or creating internet “fast lanes.”

House Democrats have said they plan to probe the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) during the next Congress. 

“We plan to put the consumer first by pushing policies that protect net neutrality, promote public safety, and provide meaningful privacy and data security protections that are seriously lacking today,” Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told Mother Jones this month. 

— Julia Manchester