One of America's leading authorities on technology and telecom policy, Motley is a writer, television and radio commentator, political and policy strategist, lecturer, debater, activist, and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute.
Latest posts by Seton Motley (see all)
- 5G Wireless Makes Net Neutrality Even Dumber Policy - September 16, 2019
- When Deregulation – Actually Makes Things Worse - August 29, 2019
- Localities Shouldn’t Be Dictating (Inter-)National Policy - July 17, 2019
It hasn’t been a great year from the perspective of shrinking government. In fact, it’s been terrible. Really awful, pork-and-cronyism-filled programs are being refunded, renewed – and even resurrected.
Since November – when We the People delivered Republicans another historic landslide victory – what have they delivered us?
“A 1,600 page bad joke.”
All the while, the GOP incessantly tells us that not only is it the best we can do or expect – it’s all really fantastic.
Conservatives – and Americans of all stripes who know how broken government is – know Shinola. This ain’t Shinola.
All the while, President Barack Obama’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is rapidly becoming the Federal Cronyism Commission.
And after having recently watched a round of its cronyism fail so miserably it bothered even them – they’ve decided to do it exactly the same all over again. Behold the FCC’s spectrum auction set-asides.
Spectrum is the airwaves we use for all things wireless. From your intercontinental cell phone all the way down to your car key fob. The spectrum supply is finite – and not all spectrum is equally useful. Think of it as a Monopoly board. Some spectrum is Boardwalk and Park Place – some is Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues. And varying degrees in between.
The government last year held a spectrum auction to get some out the door to a data-driven private sector. Except:
Federal regulators…set aside a portion of choice spectrum for smaller wireless carriers at an auction of TV airwaves scheduled for next year.
An auction is everyone bidding on any and everything they want – no restrictions. So this was…something else.
And look where government’s good intentions led.
Dish participated in the auction through three entities: American AWS-3 Wireless, Northstar Wireless and SNR Wireless….
Northstar Wireless and SNR Wireless…made $13.3 billion in gross provisional winning bids, but they are to pay around $10 billion because they both qualify for the FCC’s 25 percent discount for small businesses.
So Big Company Dish Network (total assets: $22.1 billion) set up small front companies – to rig the FCC’s set-aside system.
This was too much – even for government.
But not too much – for the FCC to make the exact same mistake all over again with its next spectrum auction.
Some of the Big Company cronies were unhappy there wasn’t even more Big Government meddling and cronyism. One of the whiniest Big Companies on the planet is T-Mobile (total assets: $19.95 billion):
I suppose those of us here in Reality are supposed to think that this latest status quo government meddling and cronyism is…progress.
As usual, I don’t feel very progressive.