With great fanfare, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Thomas Wheeler is calling for sweeping changes to the way cable television set-top boxes work. In an essay published Jan. 27 by Re/Code, Wheeler began by citing the high prices consumers pay for set-top box rentals and bemoaning the fact that alternatives are not easily available.
Government by ideological fantasy – at the expense of actual facts – is a terrible idea. So too is government of, by and for the donors. Far too often government regulators and bureaucrats ignore Reality – to tilt at ideological windmills. And WAY too often government becomes one giant stenographer for contributors – writing laws and regulations to accommodate their check-cutters’ every whim and wildest dream.
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.
In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, managing editor Jesse Hathaway talks with Berin Szoka, president of TechFreedom, a non-profit organization devoted to promoting the progress of technology that improves the human condition, about how regulators both at home and abroad are using the power of the state to combat zero-rating, a kind of sponsored-data plan where access to popular web applications like Facebook or streaming video services is made available to consumer at no cost.
The age-old analogy describing a good salesman is “He can sell ice to Eskimos.” Let us now contemplate the opposite. What if someone has repeatedly screwed up so terribly – they could damage the sale of the hottest of commodities to a full panoply of desperate buyers? How could anyone hamstring a water auction – in the desert?
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?
Raise your hand if you think government at any level – federal, state, local – is suffering from a dearth of our money. Or omni-directional ways to take it from us. I don’t see…any arms extended upward. Strange.
Given that the USTelecom v. FCC appellate challenge of the FCC’s Open Internet Order is so important to net neutrality, the FCC’s authority over the Internet, and broadband providers’ future, and given that Judge Tatel’s thinking is so important to the outcome of this case, wouldn’t it be important to better understand Judge Tatel’s personal reasoned public explanation of how courts adjudicate cases just like USTelecom v. FCC?
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.
The Barack Obama Administration has almost inarguably executed more unilateral sweeping power grabs than any previous presidency ever. Administration defenders lamely point to the number of Executive Orders issued: “GOP Slams ‘Imperial’ Obama After Fewest Executive Orders In 100 Years (CHART).” Which is technically true – but totally irrelevant.
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.
The seven years of the President Barack Obama Administration have provided us with two diametrically opposite things. The government time and again failing utterly in just about everything it tries to do – economic recovery, job creation, health care, defense of our borders and our nation, budget stewardship,…. Meanwhile, the Administration and its Democrat Party keep usurping and pushing to usurp as much of the private sector as possible – to add it all to the government’s (ir)responsibility portfolio.
“Mission creep” as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is “the gradual broadening of the original objectives of a mission or organization.” Mission creep as practiced by the Federal Communications Commission is wholesale bootstrapping to create any authority to reach to a goal of ever more regulation of innovation.
You know there are big problems with the so called “principle” of net neutrality when the New York Times writes an editorial headlined “Why Free Can Be a Problem on the Internet” and their editorial has nothing to do with protecting consumers’ privacy/safety or protecting content from piracy, but it is only about the potential problem of consumers enjoying free Internet content for marketing purposes!
The U.S. government’s Internet priorities in Europe are upside down. It has chosen bits over bodies, prioritizing protecting the neutrality of innumerable inanimate Internet bits over protecting peoples’ privacy and personal data.
Google is cleverly and stealthily leveraging a Google-friendly-FCC and lax U.S.-Google antitrust enforcement to extend its global Android mobile operating system dominance to increasingly disintermediate and dominate the spectrum administration function embedded in the firmware of smartphones, connected cars, and Internet of Things devices.