For a while there, we seemed to have a bit of a break from the big news. We knew big fights like the AT&T/T-Mobile deal loomed, but it was all talk.
But that's changing. As the coalition of self-seekers and socialists forms, the final scope of the debate is beginning to take shape. Listen to this: Some Democrats are criticizing AT&T for planning to use money from the FCC's Universal Service Fund to provide high speed, wireless Internet to 97% of Americans. That is, as close to truly universal access as possible. Apparently universal access isn't actually the goal of the USF? Remember that when they talk about applying USF taxes to Internet connections, folks.
Another criticism of AT&T is that it's using acquisitions to expand instead of building, which is absurd. Check the numbers. They spend billions, however you can't just build spectrum. You have to buy it, and AT&T needs spectrum or else Verizon will be alone at the top in the 4G market.
Of course, the Senate is looking into the deal. Mike Wendy has a statement on the matter, reminding the Senate that modern technology and competition render silly any talk that today's AT&T has any chance of becoming an actual monopoly like the old AT&T.
Hopefully they listen. Because as the forces of larger government are the only winners if the deal is blocked. Because guess what? Without government, the Internet continues to evolve, getting better at getting more data to you, faster and cheaper. The market provides better pressure to succeed in innovative ways than government ever can.
Welcome to the next expansion of government. Government is now dictating more cellular phone features with a national emergency alert system deploying soon in New York and later everywhere. They promise they won't use it much but... you know how these things work. Government programs start narrow, then get scope creep. Think of the children! This is a good cause! Programs expand, but never seem to contract. It'd be nice to kill this.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Welcome to Net Neutrality. If ISPs can't discriminate between abusive traffic and the rest, then the only tool they have left to protect the network in the best interests of the ISP and of the Internet-using public is to cap traffic for everyone. One size fits all. Funny, they didn't warn you about that, did they?
Still more FCC: The gears turn on Low Power FM radio. The FCC is mandated by law to perform a study of the economic impact of LPFM on the big commercial stations. Let's hope this doesn't become a tool for the big guys to try to muscle out the little guys.
Of course, the possibility of that, given the track record of the FCC, is just one reason to be glad that the House GOP is calling the FCC "broken" and in need of major reform. That's why a hearing approaches that will see every single FCC Commissioner called in to testify.
How about some copyright? COICA is back, only the bill granting the government sweeping powers to control the Internet has been reborn under the new name PROTECT IP. It still must be defeated. Government must not have dictatorial control of content online, even to go as far as to create national blacklists of websites.
I'll close tonight with a warning: There appears to be a mass attack on conservatives on Facebook going around tonight. People are being asked to "verify" their accounts. Don't click on the links. It's a trap!