Currently the FCC is considering reversing the legal status of American Internet services from lightly-regulated information services to utility-regulated “telecommunications” services in response to a 2014 appeals court decision that limited a portion of the FCC’s net neutrality regulatory authority.
A little-noticed article in the Wall Street Journal over Labor Day Weekend concerning the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger caught my eye, not only because the article obviously concerns an important matter of communications policy, but also because it raises questions regarding a matter of proper administrative agency process.
In Scott Cleland’s recent piece titled, “Silicon Valley’s Biggest Internet Mistake,” he makes an important, too little addressed point: Were the FCC to classify Internet service as a “telecommunications” service under Title II of the Communications Act, this drastic step likely would have significant adverse international ramifications.
Silicon Valley’s net neutrality tunnel vision in America blinds it to the disastrous international policy repercussions of promoting a protectionist industrial policy for Silicon Valley at the FCC, exactly when most other nations are looking for any pretext to justify imposing their own protectionist policies in response to Edward Snowden’s revelations of NSA spying.
Rep. Henry Waxman, Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee,wrote the FCC to propose that the FCC, in its pending Open Internet order remand, “reclassif[y] broadband providers as telecommunications services and then using the modern [Title I] authority of section 706 to set bright-line rules to prevent blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization.”
Conservatives and Libertarians inherently have little faith or trust in government. We know the institution is inherently flawed – and self-serving. Government violates the Wallet Rule. Which is: You go out on a Friday night with your wallet. You go out the following Friday night with my wallet. On which night are you going to have more fun?
Recently two towns, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the City of Wilson, North Carolina, have petitioned the federal government, via the FCC, complaining that state laws are constraining them from the municipal provision of broadband services, that is, from building a government owned network (GON). That is, these municipalities want to expend resources to build and operate broadband systems, without following any of regulations that govern private sector providers. To overcome the state’s rightful authority the city governments have proposed that the FCC preempt state law and empower municipalities in ways that upset the political structure of the U.S.
Back in 1997, then-FCC Chairman Reed Hundt titled a speech, “Thinking About Why Some Communications Mergers Are Unthinkable.” In his address, Mr. Hundt explained why, in his view, it was “unthinkable” to contemplate a merger between AT&T and one of the Bell Operating Companies. A principal reason had to do with what Mr. Hundt claimed would be the “resulting concentration” of “the long distance market.”
The FCC’s invitation has prompted a “rainbow of policy and legal proposals” that would explore “new ideas for protecting and promoting the open Internet” by imposing Title II telecommunications regulation on America’s Internet infrastructure.
The FTC implicitly laid down an important jurisdictional, political, and public marker against FCC reclassification of broadband as a utility, in its recent FCC filing in the FCC’s Section 706 inquiry proceeding.
Is the Internet consumer in charge or the product sold to others? Is net neutrality about protecting consumers or Silicon Valley?
We’ll learn the answers to these critical questions in the coming months when the FCC votes on a redo of its “Open Internet” order implementing net neutrality.
For almost eight years, I have been urging, along with other Free State Foundation scholars, an end to the costly so-called “integration ban.”This outdated, costly FCC regulation bans cable operators from integrating the security and programming navigation functions in set-top boxes.
The Left consists of two groups of people running on two parallel yet very different paths to Oblivion.
The Left’s leadership knows their Huge Government ideas are absurd and don’t work – but they’ll be in charge after the collapse they induce so they’re fine with it.
There are two core reasons the FCC should not try to preempt State muni-broadband laws.
1. The Supreme Court has already indicated it would be unconstitutional.
2. It would be anti-competitive, the opposite of the FCC’s statutory purpose and legal mandate.
The New York Times’ utterly ridiculous Editorial Board recently as one addressed Title II Internet regulatory Reclassification and Network Neutrality – and they did so in utterly ridiculous fashion.
Pro-regulation interests often resort to highly misleading arguments to advance their cause. Fortunately that kind of deception ultimately exposes the weakness of their underlying argument and public policy position.
Far too many government officials (and civilian Leftists) are Aesop scorpions. It’s in their nature to regulate. And regulate again. And then regulate some more. In Baby Boomer Radical parlance, they are willing – even eager – to destroy the village in order to save it.