FCC Consumer Bureau Chief Appoints Open Internet Ombudsperson

WASHINGTON—Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Chief Alison Kutler appointed Parul P. Desai to serve as the Open Internet ombudsperson, the public’s primary point of contact within the agency for formal and informal questions and complaints related to the Open Internet rules.

Desai serves as assistant bureau chief and director of consumer engagement in the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau. Prior to that, she was policy counsel for media, telecommunications and technology policy at Consumers Union and vice president at Media Access Project. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and New York Law School.

The Open Internet rules, adopted by the commission on Feb. 26, 2015 and effective as of June 12, 2015, established “an ombudsperson to assist consumers, businesses, and organizations with open Internet complaints and questions by ensuring these parties have effective access to the commission’s processes that protect their interests,” and specified that the ombudsperson will be housed in CGB, which is the agency’s primary initial informal complaint intake point.

During the order’s extended comment periods, a wide array of commenters expressed support for the FCC’s establishing this resource. As the ombudsperson, Desai will manage questions or complaints regarding the Open Internet to ensure that small and often unrepresented groups reach the appropriate bureaus and offices to address specific issues of concern. In addition, the Open Internet Order stated that the ombudsperson will work as a point of contact and a source of assistance as needed, not as an advocate or as an officer who must be approached for approval.

The Ombudsperson can be reached at: ombudsperson@fcc.gov or 202-418-1155. To file a complaint online, go to consumercomplaints.fcc.gov, click “File a Complaint” in the Internet icon, and select “Open Internet” as the issue area. Complaints can also be submitted by phone at 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322), TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322), and ASL Videophone: 1-844-432-2275 or by mail.