DOJ Approves AT&T-Bell South merger: more affirmation market is competitive not a duopoly

The Department of Justice Antitrust Division approved the AT&T-Bell South merger today without conditions. What this means is that the expert agency responsible for preserving competition believes the various markets these companies are engaged in are competitive: broadband data, voice, wireless and internet access.

The key quote from the DOJ announcement included below is:

  • "The proposed acquisition does not raise competition concerns with respect to Internet services markets or 'net neutrality.'

This effectively stuffs those net neutrality proponents trying to argue that there is a "broadband duopoly." 

Best editorial I've read in a long time

Anyone looking for an extremely cogent editorial opposing net neutrality could do no better than the Harrisburg Patriot News of today "Net Neutrality will create endless litigation."

Interestingly it was written by two former chairmen of the Pennsylvania Christian Coalition. It's interesting because Save the Internet loves to tout that the national organization of Christian Coaltion backs net neutrality. What they are silent on is that the net neutrality position has caused a growing national-state rift for the Christian Coalition causing some state Christian Coalition organizations like Georgia and others to change their name and disavow the national organization.  

Moyers on America: The Net @ Risk" could not be more abashedly biased

Watching the nine minute preview of "Moyers on America" "The Net @ Risk" I was struck with how unabashedly biased they were is presenting only one side of the net Neutrality debate. This was a new low in media bias on the issue.

  • In the nine minutes of preview that is available online, I counted a full eight minutes and forty five seconds that were devoted to regurgitating the views of FIVE of the most ardent net neutrality proponents like: Tim Wu, Ed Markey and Earl Comstock, while the anti-net neutrality side got ONE person that was relegated to a measly 15 seconds of air time -- House Chairman Fred Upton.
  • In the interests of fair representation, the show should have a disclaimer at the bottom of the screen that it is a paid infomercial for SavetheInternet.org and Moveon.org.

It is supremely ironic that this show waxes eloquently about how net neutrality is important to democracy and free speech, yet Mr. Moyers and his production team make no attempt to democratically or freely present both sides of the issue. Where have ethics and professional standards in journalism gone?

This show is part of a clear pattern, that net neutrality proponents seek out undiscerning, fawning and intellectually lazy forums (i.e. Newsweek) where they can frame and discuss the issue unchallenged.

T-Mobile becoming stronger competitor from more spectrum and Moore's Law declining costs

Broadband competition is increasing! Just listen to what T-Mobile USA President Robert Dotson has to say as quoted in Communications Daily today:

  • "We are now at parity with competitors" he said because they nearly doubled their spectrum holdings in the U.S.
  • Dotson also believes T-Mobile has a new competitive advantage because his $4.2b acquisition of spectrum was at bargain prices, roughly 39% cheaper per pop (potential user) than the price paid previously for this type of spectrum.  
  • Dotson also highllighted the benefit of declining costs to enhancing T-Mobile's competitiveness: "The next generation of 3G handset will cost carriers like T-Mobile anywhere from $150 to $300 on average versus the $250 to $500 our competitors are paying today. The same can be said with regard to 3G infrastructure."

Not only is wireless broadband becoming increasingly, rapidly, and directly competition to DSL and Cable, but wireless broadband competition itself is getting increasingly competitive!

A SavetheInternet Coordinator brags about fearmongering -- the advocate "that cried Wolf!"

It's very interesting what people will slip and say when they are being lionized by a reporter. Salon's recent piece: Telecom Slayers, describes Ben Scott as "one of the SavetheInternet's coordinators," "a leading advocate for net neutrality," and "the closest thing to a field general in the grass roots campaign to ensure net neutrality."

It must have been pretty heady stuff for Ben Scott to hear the liberal icon: "the Salon", compare him to the biblical David that slayed the telecom Goliath!

AEI-Brookings Editorial on NN gets to the point

Kudos to Hahn/Litan Directors of the AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies for their editorial in The Hill opposing Net Neutrality. 

It is very helpful for two well-respected regulatory thinkers and two well-respected Washington Think Tanks to write a cogent and to-the-point editorial opposing net neutrality.

My favorite sentence is:  "...one truth is clear while both sides are prone to hyperbole and exaggeration, net neutrality enthusiasts are also just plain wrong." Well said. and well worth the read.

Keep the Internet Free? or without cost?

I continue to hear net neutrality proponents say "keep the Internet Free" but really want the Internet to be without cost. Freedom and no cost are two very different concepts.

I think one of the biggest reasons the two sides of this debate talk past each other is that broadband companies view this as a marketplace and a business where value is provided through products/services in return for a fee. Provide more value, get more payment.

However, many on the other side just assume that the Internet is a "right, a pillar of democracy and a public good/gift and that everyone should have and not have to pay any more for.

Why this debate has polarized so much is that the world views supporting each side are planets apart...

Newsweek's lazy take on net neutrality

As a regular weekly reader of Newsweek and "The Technologist" column by Stephen Levy, I was very disappointed to read Mr. Levy's lazy and very one-sided take on Net Neutrality.

In his Newsweek piece of October 9th, Mr Levy referenced a breakfast he had with Susan Crawford and Craig Newmark on Susan Crawford's self-proclaimed "OneWebDay" ("a geeky parallel to Earth Day" Levy described.)

It was obvious that his article was basically a straight regurgitatation of Susan and Craig's datatopian philosophy on Net Neutrality in his weekly column. Having debated the issue recently with Susan at a recent conference and done dueling commentaries with Craig on National Public Radio, it is not hard to discern that Susan/Craig apparently were the sole source of Mr. Levy's knowledge on the subject. It is also pretty obvious that they directed him to Senator Stevens, problably after summarily bashing the Senator's knowlege of the subject.

FCC understands Telehealth needs premium net service

I know it might be hard for some net neutrality proponents to believe... but somethings might be a lot more more important than equal treatment on the Net.

I don't think I am going out on a limb to say that the overwhelming majority of Americans would say that prioritizing net traffic or providing a premium tier for telehealth in order to save lives, to get underserved areas access to quality health care support and to better the quality of health care in general -- was a lot more important value than net neutrality.

It may sound appealing in the abstract that all traffic should be treated equally, but in the real world Americans value life, health care, and helping people in need more than they value guaranteeing that each bit of traffic takes the same nanoseconds to arrive as any other.

Welcome to PoliBlog -- Verizon's new policy blog

I am pleased to welcome Verizon's new PoliBlog to the blogosphere, they will add another sound and reasoned voice to the debate for free markets and regulatory humility. Verizon is a Netcompetition.org eforum member and funder

Like Cisco's great policy blog, I believe Verizon, as the first major communications company to launch a policy blog, will be a helpful and constructive entrant. Tom Tauke is one of the most respected statesmen in the industry and it will be good for him to be more engaged in the blogosphere. His able team also brings a wealth of expertise and opinions.

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths