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.
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.”
The FCC seems bent on overreaching their legal authority – yet again.
At the NCTA convention, Chairman Wheeler said: “I believe the FCC has the power – and I intend to exercise that power – to preempt state laws that ban competition from community broadband.” And in an FCC blog post, Chairman Wheeler also said this preemption of states on muni-broadband “is an issue that remains high on my agenda, and we will be announcing more on this topic shortly.”
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.
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.
On March 14, the Obama administration announced it was initiating a process to transfer oversight of the Internet from the United States to some yet-to-be-defined global entity.
Assistant Secretary of Commerce Lawrence Strickling said, “The timing is right to start the transition process.”
You don’t need to be a credentialed foreign-policy expert, however, to harbor reservations concerning the plan to turn over management of key Internet functions to what the Commerce Department called the “global multi-stakeholder community.”
This article explains the broad implications for the Internet of: America handing over the master key of the Internet to ICANN; and the European Parliament updating privacy law for the first time since 1995 nearly unanimously. As the Internet’s moorings increasingly detach from America, the Internet ship will enter the uncharted waters of Internet realpolitik.
Anyone who has followed communications law and policy for a number of years – and I’ve been doing so for over thirty-five years – knows that the marketplace environment has changed dramatically in the last “number” of years. And undeniably – although at times some do try to deny it – the change has been in the direction of more competition and more choice for consumers.
With due credit to “Ripley’s Believe it or Not!,”® so much odd and bizarre is happening in Washington in the “name” of “U.S. wireless competition criticism” that the topic calls for its own collection of: “Believe it or Not!”® oddities.
The Federal Communications Commission has been much in the news recently — and deservedly so — owing to its ill-conceived “Critical Information Needs” study. Thankfully, after a public outcry, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recently canceled this study.
Tomorrow the House Judiciary Committee will hold the hearing “Exploring Alternative Solutions on the Internet Sales Tax Issue.” Taking some time to explore the Constitutional challenges of current proposals which mandate the collection of taxes by businesses across state lines and an examining the potential for the radical expansion of government would be a good place to focus.
As the dust has settled from the D.C. Circuit’s January 14th decision to vacate and remand the FCC Open Internet Order for another try, and from FCC Chairman Wheeler’s February 19th statement accepting the court’s invitation to propose open Internet rules that could pass court muster, what does it all this mean going forward?
Rather than enforcing European competition law against systemic abuses of dominance by the single most dominant company in Europe, this political deal surrenders inexplicable concessions, including defining Google’s 90 percent share as not dominant, claiming its multiple abuses of dominance are legal and implying Google did nothing wrong.
America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century tells the story of our nation’s government as crushingly expensive, one that is failing at its basic functions and unable to keep its promises. Such an unworkable and out-of-control government cannot continue as the status quo.