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Tech at Night: Deregulation(!), Regulation, Cable TV

Tech at Night

The new Congress is in session, and while some people are supremely interested in badmouthing the new Republican leadership, I’m more interested in trying to work with the Republicans to oppose the actual bad things being done by the Obama administration. I don’t have time to complain about past votes. Because guess what? Republicans who were previously bad under the Democrats can turn out good now that we’re in charge.

Because the fact is, the new, unprecedented, illegal Net Neutrality regulations are in fact a confused mess. In particular, the rules on paid prioritization on the Internet are so muddled that the whole thing is probably going to get tossed as soon as the FCC tries to stomp the boot of regulation onto anyone (which might be Comcast, because everyone knows the Democrats hate Comcast and the radicals are still going to be fuming about the NBC Universal/Comcast merger).

Also, Netflix itself my run afoul of the new regulations. That’s right, poor widdle Netflix, supposedly the victim of big, bad ISPs, is probably in violation of the new regulations. Heh.

No, really. Here’s what Steve Effros says over at Digital Society:

Here’s how Art Brodsky, of Public Knowledge, defined it:

“The issue is whether the company providing the network can favor one company’s content over another’s on the basis of a financial arrangement, i.e., payoff, so that one service works better than another on the Internet.”

Well, I hate to have to break it to you, Art, but Netflix just made a financial arrangement so that its service works better, and is easier and quicker to access by consumers than any other “over the top” video delivery on the Internet while you were looking the other way!

Oops. So already this whole concept of Net Neutrality is already standing in the way of innovation and convenience for people. Isn’t that just swell? Don’t you feel so protected by big government, now that their rules, as written, stand in the way of putting a Netflix button on your television?

And as warned in the last Tech at Night installment, the drumbeat against cable providers continues. I told you they hate Comcast. They also hate the idea that we have competition, because competition undermines the legitimacy of FCC intervention in the market. So they have to manufacture false claims that there isn’t really any competition.

But seriously, how unnecessary was this whole Net Neutrality sham? The FCC is having to advertise to try to drum up test cases, because there aren’t any real cases out there.

I advertised in this post’s title that we’ve actually done some deregulation recently. Barack Obama signed the Local Community Radio Act, which supposedly further deregulates low power radio broadcasts from the previous acts of 2007 and 2005. I’m concerned about the bill because Free Press supported it. I think we need to watch and wait. If the LPFM stations interfere with important stations, we need to push for a rollback on the licensing. If they don’t, then I’m all for deregulation and expansion of the right of people to broadcast within their communities.

Remember when Bob Parks called out James Rucker of ColorOfChange.org? Well, Rucker is quitting that position now that he’s been exposed as a shill for CREDO Mobile. Conservative grassroots activism strikes again.

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