Net neutrality activists succeeded last week in getting the FCC to officially consider ruling that private broadband companies should be price and profit regulated like public utilities in order to[...]
The all-encompassing government-Internet-power-grab that is Network Neutrality rarely gets outside-the-Tech-World media attention. But Thursday the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted in Democrat Party-line fashion to begin its process of imposing it. This was a big enough deal that it garnered over-the-weekend Big Media coverage from ABC (with a Bloomberg assist) and PBS (with a Washington Post assist).
Watching the FCC attempt to construct net neutrality regulations to lord over the Internet is a bit like watching a child build a sand castle and declare himself king of the beach. Neither has really created a kingdom, but at least the latter is cute.
I confess that I am more than a bit mystified at the way FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and his Democrat colleagues, seemingly, are moving ever closer in the direction of embracing a Title II reclassification of Internet access services. No matter how loud the banging of pots and pans outside the FCC’s headquarters, it would be terribly unsound as a matter of policy to subject Internet services to the same Title II public utility regulatory regime that applied to last century’s POTS (“plain old telephone”) service.
Given the avalanche of misinformation and manufactured hysteria by net neutrality proponents over the FCC’s proposed rulemaking to make the FCC’s Open Internet Order comply with the Appeals Court Verizon v. FCC decision, AT&T’s FCC filing here (and below) is a welcome and much-needed total debunking of the call for Title II reclassification of broadband.
As regular readers know, it has been my firm position that, after the DC Circuit’s Verizon decision, absent convincing evidence of market failure and demonstrable consumer harm, the FCC should not try to reinstate the net neutrality regulations the DC Circuit tossed out. Nevertheless, when Chairman Wheeler announced his intent to move forward with yet another net neutrality rulemaking, this time one based on a “commercial reasonableness” standard for assessing Internet providers’ practices, I said in a statement that “there appear to be elements in his proposal that may mitigate the otherwise potential harmful effects of unnecessary government intervention.”
NetCompetition, an organization dedicated to improving competitiveness in the internet market, held a panel discussion and debate on April 4th on the topic “Thinking and Starting Anew: Modernizing Communications Law for American Consumers.” Scott Cleland, Heartland Institute policy advisor and president of the Precursor consultancy firm, was the first of the five guests to speak.
The Barack Obama Administration is back at it — yet another big government power grab is in the works. The Administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) again resurrecting Network Neutrality — an all-encompassing Internet usurpation twice unanimously killed by court as an illegal overreach.
The net neutrality movement is positioning to influence the FCC, Congress, and candidates in the mid-term election cycle, to support their version of net neutrality — i.e. FCC reclassification of broadband Internet service as a telephone common carrier service.
Aside from whether you think the proposed Comcast – Time Warner Cable merger ultimately should be approved or not, it’s hard to suggest that Comcast’s announcement that it will divest 3.9 million subscribers does not advance the company’s pro-merger case by alleviating claimed competitive concerns. Without getting into the complexities of the proposed three-party subscriber divestiture transactions involving Comcast, TWC, and Charter Communications, the end result is that, as Comcast promised when the merger was announced in February, Comcast’s total number of subscribers, post-merger, will be less than 30% of the total number of U. S. cable subscribers.
Net neutrality activists’ latest rhetoric that opposes the FCC’s court-required update of its Open Internet rules, by implying that there haven’t been “slow and fast lanes” on the Internet before, is obviously factually wrong and misleading, both for consumers receiving content and for entities sending content.
Spectrum management is the least efficient part of the federal government.
That’s a big national problem because radio spectrum is the essential fuel of the mobile revolution of smart-phones, tablets, video streaming and the Internet of things.
Yet here we remain – stuck in government overreach Groundhog Day.
We haven’t yet seen the Net Neutrality power grab order – but the fact that they’re trying again at all is at once obnoxious and pathetic.
Not yet having seen the order hasn’t stopped the Left from going apoplectic. Because the Left never allows the facts to get in the way of a good beating.
The Federal Communications Commission’s upcoming “incentive” auction of TV airwaves is already at war with itself.
Somehow the FCC imagines it can maximize the revenue necessary to incent TV broadcasters to sell their 600 MHz spectrum by minimizing actual revenue collection via dis-incenting, and even banning some wireless company bids.
The federal government is yet again acquiescing to the ridiculous anti-free market demands of the Left. We the People will yet again be forced to pay dearly for the resulting damage.
We have looming before us a wireless spectrum crunch. Spectrum being the finite airwaves we use for all things wireless – from cell phones to car key fobs.
The Federal Communications Commission has a Procrustean problem. The agency would do well to acknowledge it as a means of reforming its regulatory process.
I borrow from FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen’s address, “The Procrustean Problem with Prescriptive Regulation,” delivered at the Free State Foundation’s Sixth Annual Telecom Policy Conference on March 18. If you missed the conference and haven’t seen the C-SPAN video of Commissioner Ohlhausen’s speech or read it, you should. It ought to be required reading at the FCC.
From the various reports of briefings about the FCC’s planned rules for the 600 MHz incentive auction, two things appear clear. First, the FCC doesn’t trust market forces. And second, the FCC doesn’t want the highest bidders to win the spectrum.