The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) describes itself thus: “An independent U.S. government agency overseen by Congress.” Under the Barack Obama Administration, it has been none of these things.
I’ve heard the following quote ascribed to National Basketball Association (NBA) player, coach and executive Pat Riley – but the Internet is not giving up the ghost on provenance to him or anyone else. As I recall, the recitation is: “That player is drowning in Lake Me.” Meaning a person who is totally self-absorbed. Transfixed by their own navel (which actually has a name – Omphaloskepsis). A person who finds himself endlessly fascinating – and utterly invaluable.
And that, in a nutshell, is the lion’s share of Google’s business model. And business – is booming. Google is worth a net $350 billion. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Denmark – is $342 billion.
Looking backwards at 1934-era Title II telephone utility law, the FCC concluded in its 2015 Open Internet Order that only broadband providers could be “gatekeepers” warranting net neutrality regulation to “protect and promote the “virtuous cycle” that drives innovation and investment on the Internet.”
Let me try to explain to a consumer what the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) arbitrarily has done, and apparently intends to do, for consumer internet privacy protection going forward.
We free marketeers repeatedly reassert the obvious – that government abusing the private sector hurts the private sector. Pro-government fetishists try mightily to deny Reality – claiming that bigger government doesn’t damage the sectors over which it lords.
The Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (PITFA), receiving a large bi-partisan approval in the House of Representatives earlier this year, is supposedly going to be taken up in the Senate this week. The provision has been added into the conference report (the final version of a bill to be considered by both chambers of congress) of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015.
In arbitrarily applying Title II telecommunications rules to only the ISP half of Internet communications, while politically exempting the entire edge half of Internet communications in its Open Internet order, the FCC has ensured that information that was proprietary and controllable in the closed telephone world becomes public and uncontrollable in the open Internet world.
One thing at which the Left is very good is naming things – so as to hide and obfuscate what these things actually do. Because if they admitted what these things actually do – they would poll…well, right where Congress is polling.
Does the FCC’s concept of a “virtuous circle of innovation” mean fostering a full and true “circle of innovation,” of not only edge provider innovation, but also ISP innovations of zero-rating pricing plans that lower users’ bandwidth costs and better fund more broadband deployment?
The central overriding question in the USTelecom v. FCC case challenging the FCC’s Open Internet Order may be: did the FCC read Judge Tatel right in that he de facto guided the FCC to pursue Title II to create the most solid legal foundation for net neutrality? That has been the public legal mantra of the FCC and the net neutrality movement for well over a year.
Do not let the FCC’s likely unlawful means of broadband Internet regulation, i.e. Title II, distract you from the additional likelihood that two primary ends of supposed net neutrality “policy canon” i.e. bans against “paid prioritization” and “two-sided markets” (only users should pay), are also likely unlawful, even under Title II, sans new legislation.
Instead of kicking the can down the road once again and causing uncertainty in the one economic sector experiencing economic growth in good times or bad, lawmakers in Washington, D.C., should take the issue off the table and pass a permanent version of the Internet Tax Freedom Act.
No surprise that political activist Larry Lessig, the intellectual leader of the net neutrality and anti-copyright movements, ran one of the most cynical, undemocratic, and stunt-driven Presidential candidacies ever, because that’s exactly the kind of cynical, undemocratic, stunt-driven campaigns his political followers have run to un-democratically dictate net neutrality and to undermine copyright protection online.
One of the more important hearings for the future of broadband took place last week in the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee. The Committee gathered to discuss “Breaking Down Barriers to Broadband Infrastructure Deployment.”
Tim Wu, the self-described “policy advocate,” who coined the term “net neutrality;” who has been a leading activist for preemptively regulating broadband service like a utility despite scant evidence of any problem; who from 2008-2011 was Chair of the pressure group FreePress that ran the notoriously-deceptive “Save The Internet” campaign to force FCC net neutrality regulation that was overturned in court
There are troubling signals that the FCC is gearing up to further increase regulation of cable — on top of the extra-legal new utility regulation the FCC already did in its 2015 Open Internet Order.
The FCC’s approach to special access is all wrong because they should be doing the exact opposite of what they are doing. The FCC should be price de-regulating special access, not signaling increased micro-regulation of special access rate terms and conditions.
To try to justify mandating Title II utility regulation of broadband and the blocking of the Comcast-Time Warner acquisition, the Administration and FCC had to gerrymander broadband definitions to reach their political goal that wireless broadband service not be considered an official competitor to wireline broadband service.
It is timely to fact check the Federal Government’s storyline that broadband is a ‘core utility,’ given a new White House report that directs municipalities that broadband is a “core utility… like water, sewer and electricity;” and given that a senior FCC official recently encouragedlocal municipalities at the NATOA conference to build their own local broadband infrastructure with the FCC’s backing now that the FCC has claimed the legal authority to preempt State laws limiting municipal broadband.