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Tech at Night: FCC, USDA, Net Neutrality, Competition

Tech at Night

Hello. Yes, I’m late again. But I’m genuinely starting to have fun with OpenGL ES 2. So Tech at Night got to wait a bit. Sorry!

Anyway, as I usually do when I have a link to a RedState article, I’ll start tonight with it. RedState Insider suggests cutting the budget while implementing better policy by eliminating the Agriculture Department’s venture into tech subsidy, the Rural Utilities Service. We don’t need to spend billions to have government compete against the private sector. Even if we wanted it, and we don’t, we simply can’t afford it.

What’s the USDA doing in tech policy anyway?

I mentioned previously that the House Judiciary Committee was getting into the act of overseeing the FCC. Interestingly enough, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski denies discussing Net Neutrality with Barack Obama. I see only three possibilities here: 1. He’s lying. 2. Obama doesn’t respect him enough to discuss with him such a key policy initiative, preferring to work through outside groups. 3. Obama doesn’t care, and is letting rogue elements in the White House direct the initiative, men like Andrew McLaughlin before he left. McLaughlin himself was reprimanded for inappropriate communications before leaving the White House shortly after Net Neutrality passed the FCC.

If the answer is 2. or 3., then there’s a chance that if we were to pass a Net Neutrality repeal, that the President might not spend the political capital to veto it.

More Net Neutrality: Nick Shulz has an interesting analysis of the entire Net Neutrality debate, from the beginning to the present. Read the whole thing if you’re interested in the subject. One point you might take away is that no matter how we do it, somehow we’re going to have to find the money to invest in making the Internet faster and better. And nobody yet has come up with a better way to do that than a free market. We need the government to keep its hands off, if we want continually better service as we’ve enjoyed.

And never forget: The FCC broke the law when it ordered Net Neutrality, period.

Free State Foundation says the FCC should deregulate the television market, as new technologies have blown wide open a market once stifled by government-granted monopolies and no competition. In 1994, 91% of people buying premium television services (or Multi-channel Video Programming Distributor services, MVPD, as the FCC seems to call it) were on cable. In 2001, that number was down to 78%, with 21% getting satellite. In 2010 that dropped to 60%, with 33% on satellite, and 7% on “telco services” like FiOS. Clearly the public has choices these days. The justification for regulation no longer applies, so let’s remove it.

Of course, cable is under threat of heightened competition from more than just satellite television. The broadband Internet market continually gets better and better for the buyer. US Cellular is set to be the next 4G provider, ready to deploy LTE by the end of the year. One hopes AT&T and T-Mobile will be allowed to join up, so that together they can join the rush.

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