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Tech at Night: Untying the Retransmission Consent knot with LOCAL CHOICE?

Tech at Night

So after Republicans went ahead and avoided major Retransmission Consent reform in the satellite TV reauthorization bill, it turns out the Senate is going to take its own stab at reform.

You see, right now the way that local broadcasters and local cable companies make deals is governed by a set of government mandates called the Retransmission Consent framework. This framework heavily favors broadcasters, on purpose, as an attempt to pick winners and losers in government.

So barring a free market option, we have to decide whether the new option is more or less distorting of the market. I think I support the LOCAL CHOICE plan by Jay Rockefeller and John Thune.

The idea is simple, and it strikes me as a minimal change to the regulatory framework that minimizes the chances that we’re picking different winners and losers. Basically, the bill removes the cable companies from the situation. Instead of making cable companies negotiate with broadcasters, and then turn around to resell the stations to their customers, cable companies become pure conduits of cash from customers to broadcasters.

So it’s a very, very limited a la carte mandate, only instead of replacing anything resembling a free market, it’s only imposing this mandate where there is already a complex system of regulations. I think that’s fair.

I also think it’s fair that this mandate would effectively remove any leverage cable companies or broadcasters would have over each other. They would no longer be against each other. Of course, broadcasters hate it because they no longer get to have the rules stacked in their favor, but let’s be clear: cable companies don’t profit here. They’re merely conduits. There is no winner and no loser chosen here.

I’m open to being shown that this is a bad idea, but far as I can tell, I support LOCAL CHOICE.


Google may have capitulated, but Wikipedia will not bow to Europe’s “Right to be Forgotten” censorship mandate, and in fact has come out against it. Apparently as a result, Wikipedia articles are being memory holed at Google. Turns out thanks to the EU it’s Google, not IBM, that’s making 2014 look like 1984.

Let’s be clear about how important it is that the US, not Russia or China or the Un, controls ICANN, the central governing body of the Internet. a US court may confiscate Iran’s top level Internet domain due to Iran’s failure to pay out lawsuits they’ve lost for their terrorism. Imagine if Putin could do that. Anarchist utopia won’t happen. If we leave a vacuum, others will fill it.

The Soros-backed Free Press group thinks more regulation will produce better service. Sure, just like the phone company in the old days of the monopoly, right?

Meanwhile the President is repeating the Soros-funded Net Neutrality talking points, but they’re just empty talking points. If he actually opposed the Wheeler Net Neutrality plan, he’d tell Wheeler not to do it, or ask the Congress to legislate against it.

It’s sad but it’s poetic justice that after Sprint rallied the socialists to take down the AT&T/T-Mobile deal, the radicalized Obama FCC has now seemed to have ended the Sprint/T-Mobile deal.

I’m just glad at least Verizon’s willing to fight back against lawless intimidation.

Russia is hindering innovative WiFi use even as it goes after US websites. Gee, I wonder what information Snowden sold to Russia in exchange for 3 more years of asylum.

But I doubt he’ll have information to buy more time after that, so I guess Russia’s funding another.

Microsoft joins Google in scanning its servers for child pornography. I’m glad we’ll stop making it quite so easy on these predators.

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