Is Net Neutrality ‘The Law’ Or ‘The Great Internet Power Grab’?
Sometime in the next several months, a federal appellate court will choose between two narratives used to describe the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision earlier this year to regulate the Internet as a public utility using “net neutrality” rules: Was the FCC simply implementing the law as Congress had always intended; or Was net neutrality a ploy for an Internet power grab by three unelected bureaucrats? A | Read More »
Sprint’s Decision To Skip Wireless Auction “Highlights The Folly” Of Federal Hubris
Few industry analysts seemed surprised when Sprint’s new CEO announced “after thorough analysis” that the company won’t participate in next year’s auction of TV broadcast spectrum (known as the “incentive auction”). Analysts already knew that Sprint “has the spectrum it needs to deploy its network architecture of the future.” As a senior telecommunications analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence said in response to the news, “Sprint really | Read More »
New Net Neutrality Order Is a Nadir for the First Amendment & Internet Freedom
The First Amendment is premised on a simple idea: Ensuring mass media communications are free of government control is a “precondition to enlightened self-government and a necessary means to protect it.” Though this principle should be obvious, it has been lost in application to the Internet age. In its recent order adopting net neutrality rules and reclassifying Internet access as a common carrier service subject to telephone regulation | Read More »
Government Broadband Plan Would Move US Policy to the Left of Europe
From the diaries… Last year the European Union (EU) ruled that government owned broadband networks are harmful to competition and counterproductive to broadband deployment in markets with private competitors — like the market in Cedar Falls, Iowa where the President spoke. In a speech preceding the State of the Union Address, President Obama said that preempting state laws prohibiting municipalities from owning broadband networks puts him on the | Read More »
The White House Lied About Broadband in Cedar Falls
From the diaries… The President’s claim that Cedar Fall residents can get a gig for less than many Americans pay for premium cable is untrue. His statement that the Cedar Falls Utility network is 100 times faster than the average American Internet connection is, at best, a misleading and contradictory exaggeration, and at worst, absolutely false. Last week, President Obama said “were gonna change” — i.e., preempt through | Read More »
Obama Plan to Regulate the Internet Promises More Economic Despair
It’s no mystery why the Democratic Party lost big in this year’s election: “The party of economic despair will always lose.” President Obama has presided over six years of lackluster economic growth. “Progressive Democratic policies on Keystone, power-plant closures and oils exports crushed younger, unionized job seekers.” This week, the President doubled down on his bad economic policies when he announced his plan to impose | Read More »
The Rick Perry Veto and Ferguson: Holding the Police State Accountable
There is no obvious connection between the juxtaposed headlines about Texas Governor Rick Perry’s indictment for demanding the resignation of a district attorney with statewide responsibility for prosecuting political corruption and the police violence in Ferguson, Missouri. But it’s there, stark and unyielding, in the video of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s booking the night she was arrested for driving with a blood alcohol | Read More »
FCC Incentive Auction Plan Won’t Benefit Rural America
The FCC is set to vote later this month on rules for the incentive auction of spectrum licenses in the broadcast television band. These licenses would ordinarily be won by the highest bidders, but not in this auction. The FCC plans to ensure that Sprint and T-Mobile win licenses in the incentive auction even if they aren’t willing to pay the highest price, because it | Read More »
In His Bid to Buy T-Mobile, Sprint Chairman Slams US Wireless Policies that Sprint Helped Create
Promoted from the diaries by Neil
Sprint’s Chairman, Masayoshi Son, is coming to Washington to explain how wireless competition in the US would be improved if only there were less of it.
After buying Sprint last year for $21.6 billion, he has floated plans to buy T-Mobile. When antitrust officials voiced their concerns about the proposed plan’s potential impact on wireless competition, Son decided to respond with an unusual strategy that goes something like this: The US wireless market isn’t competitive enough, so policymakers need to approve the merger of the third and fourth largest wireless companies in order to improve competition, because going from four nationwide wireless companies to three will make things even more competitive. Got it? Me neither.
Read More »
How Cable and Satellite TV Providers Are Using the Net Neutrality Playbook to Regulate Broadcast Television Content
Promoted from the diaries by Neil
The American Television Alliance (ATVA), a coalition comprised primarily of cable and satellite TV operators, is using the playbook of net neutrality proponents in a bid to convince the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate prices for broadcast television content. The goal of ATVA’s cable and satellite members is to increase their profit margins by convincing the government to artificially lower the cost of programming they resell to consumers. I suspect the goal of ATVA’s non-profit members, e.g., Public Knowledge and New America Foundation, is to solidify the FCC’s flawed rationale for adopting net neutrality rules in 2010, which imposed restrictions on market arrangements between Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Internet content providers without finding a market failure.
Many of ATVA’s cable members are also ISPs that have routinely argued against the imposition of net neutrality regulations in the market for Internet services. By supporting ATVA, these same companies appear to have abandoned the intellectual foundation for opposition to net neutrality. Are they now signaling their intent to embrace net neutrality regulation of the Internet?
Read More »
Susan Crawford’s Captive Audience Filled with Misplaced Fear
From the diaries by Neil Susan Crawford, a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, is in our nation’s capital today to promote her new book, Captive Audience. The book declares the United States is suffering from broadband inequality because no “privately provided wired Internet access product . . . can compete with cable.” Its proposed solution to this alleged monopoly is government ownership and control | Read More »