Cell phone service complaints held off as FCC closes
The Federal Communications Commission closed off most of its operations on Thursday due to the ongoing partial government shutdown. Its outage-reporting system will remain online, so you can still let the FCC know if your local 911 service goes down. However, should customers come into any grievances with their cell phone service providers there will be no way to lay a complaint either online or by phone.
The FCC plays an important role in internet and media. For example, it must decide the fate of the planned merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, approve or reject Nexstar Media Group’s proposed acquisition of fellow TV-station-owner Tribune Media Company, and continue allocating parts of the wireless spectrum for use in 5G wireless networks.
A few extra days off won’t meaningfully delay the agency’s major decisions, says former FCC lawyer Gigi Sohn. But if the shutdown stretches into weeks, it will likely disrupt much of the agency’s work. FCC staff won’t be allowed to read email or take meetings unless they’re related to continuing activities like spectrum auctions, so staff will have a lot of catching up to do when they return to work. The FCC had remained open while other agencies shut down because of “available funds,” the FCC said on December 21.
The FCC’s website will remain online during the shutdown, but there will be no updates, and some features, such a tool that lets people access data about informal complaints filed with the agency, won’t be available.