Ajit Pai urges states to cap jail telephone charges after he helped kill FCC caps

A telephone on a wall inside a prison.

Enlarge / A phone in a jail. (credit score: Getty Photographs | Picture Supply)

Federal Communications Fee Chairman Ajit Pai is urging state governments to impose value caps on jail telephone calls, three years after Pai helped kill Obama-era FCC guidelines that restricted the worth of such of calls.

Pai yesterday despatched a letter to the Nationwide Affiliation of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), saying it’s as much as state governments to cap intrastate calling costs as a result of the FCC lacks authority to take action. (NARUC represents state utility regulators.) Pai wrote:

Given the alarming proof of egregiously excessive intrastate inmate calling charges and the FCC’s lack of jurisdiction right here, I’m calling on states to train their authority and, in the end, deal with this urgent downside. Particularly, I implore NARUC and state regulatory commissions to take motion on intrastate inmate calling providers charges to allow extra inexpensive communications for the incarcerated and their households.

Pai’s letter didn’t point out that his personal actions helped cement the established order by which the FCC doesn’t regulate intrastate costs. It is well-established that the FCC can regulate interstate charges, these affecting calls that cross state traces. Pai is even proposing to decrease the FCC-imposed charge caps on interstate calls from 25¢ to 16¢ per minute in an order the FCC will vote on subsequent month. However Pai’s plan would not restrict costs on intrastate calls, these by which the prisoner and the individual on the opposite finish of the road are in the identical state.

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