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Debated free super-WiFi with Professor Crawford on NPR's Diane Rehm Show Today -- Hear podcast

Today National Public Radio's Diane Rehm Show featured a lively and informative discussion of "The FCC's Proposal for a Free Nationwide Wireless Network" -- based on the Washington Post's top story Monday on the topic of the FCC's "super WiFi" plans.

  • The podcast is -- here.

Diane Rehm's guests were:

  • Professor Susan Crawford;
  • Bloomberg's Todd Shields; and
  • Me.

I believe it was a very helpful and informative discussion because it corrected much of the confusion prompted by the Washington Post's cryptic and inaccurate article on the FCC's plans for "Super-WiFi."

It also provided an excellent and appropriate forum to systematically challenge and counter Professor Crawford's selective use of facts in her advocacy that broadband should be regulated like a public utility.

 

Developing Fundamental Consensus for the IP Transition -- Part 2 Modernization Consensus Series

Please read my latest Daily Caller Op-ed: "Developing Fundamental Consensus for the IP Transition" -- here." Importantly, it builds upon Public Knowledge's "Five Fundamentals" framework in its PSTN comments to the FCC.

    • It's part 2 of the Modernization Consensus Research Series.

 

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Modernization Consensus Series

Implications of Google's Broadband Plans for Competition and Regulation -- Part 1 Modernization Consensus Series

Google's latest broadband pilot, experimenting with micro-cell (mesh) wireless broadband in its Mountain View headquarters, comes on top of Google Fiber's high-profile, commercial broadband pilot in Kansas City, that Google's CFO recently told investors was not a "hobby" but a real business opportunity.

These broadband pilots put a spotlight on Google's overall broadband plans and beg an analysis of the potential implications of Google's broadband plans for competition and regulation.

Summary of Conclusions:

  1. Securing much-faster broadband access for its users is a strategic imperative for Google.
  2. Google can offer much-faster broadband access, more widely, less expensively, and potentially more profitably, than conventional wisdom believes.
  3. Competitively Google is counting on favorable industrial policy to accelerate rollout of its broadband offering in the U.S.
  4. The more Google offers broadband access the more it will need modernization of obsolete communications laws.
  5. Potential FCC Title II regulation of broadband could be the single biggest threat to Google's ultra-fast broadband plans.

 

Professor Crawford's Obsolete Public Utility Thinking for Broadband -- My Daily Caller Op-ed

Please see my latest Daily Caller Op-ed "Professor Crawford's Obsolete Public Utility Thinking for Broadband" -- here.

  • It's a critical review of Professor Susan Crawford's new book on broadband and media concentration.
  • It's also Part 16 of my Obsolete Communications Law research series.

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Obsolete Communications Law Research Series:

Note: Please see here for a summary powerpoint presentation of the problems with obsolete communications law.

The Uneconomics of Data Cap Price Regulation and Legislation -- Part 14 Broadband Internet Pricing Freedom Series

 

The latest attempts to subvert the competitive success of the current free market broadband Internet to advance the fantasy of abundance uneconomics and cost-less Internet commons is the New America Foundation's (NAF) white paper entitled: "Capping the Nation's Broadband Future? Dwindling competition is fueling the rise of increasingly costly and restrictive Internet usage caps;" and Senator Wyden's proposed "Data Cap Integrity Act" to have the FCC effectively price regulate broadband usage and ban traffic discrimination a la "net neutrality."

In a nutshell, the NAF paper argues competition, usage-based pricing and the profit motive ill-serve the broadband Internet consumer; thus the Government should prohibit the market-pricing model of broadband data caps.

In a nutshell, Senator Wyden's proposed legislation argues that broadband usage and tiered pricing harm consumers by discouraging Internet use, discriminating against high-bandwidth services, and inhibiting innovation because ISPs make money on heavy broadband usage. Thus the Government should price regulate competitive broadband companies to prevent extraction of "monopoly rents."

Google Fiber's Avoidance of Phone Service Makes Case for Obsolete Law -- Part 15 Obsolete Communications Law Series

This week Google's actions made the case that U.S. communications law and regulation is obsolete.

The Head of Google Fiber disclosed that Google considered offering phone services in Kansas City as part of its bundle of Gigabit "ultra high-speed" Internet service and TV offering, but declined to do so when they became familiar with the prohibitive morass of legacy analog federal and state telephone regulations with which Google would have had to comply. While acknowledging that the incremental cost of offering voice services would have been "almost nothing," Mr. Medin lamented that Google would have had to build a more complex billing system to comply with the various state calculations in Kansas and Missouri.

It is telling that with all the special tax breaks and large business subsidies that Google was offered to choose Kansas City as the pilot Google Fiber city, they were still not enough to offset the high operational, management, and regulatory costs to comply with legacy telephone regulations.

What Court Data Roaming Decision Means for FCC Open Internet Order

While the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals gave the FCC a significant win in upholding the FCC's Data Roaming Order, the incremental, serpentine, and limiting way the court did it suggests that this same Court will likely not uphold the FCC's sweeping assertion of legislative-like Internet regulation authority in its Open Internet Order.

In upholding the Data Roaming Order, the Court was faced with a set of facts where the FCC already had clear authority to require mobile voice roaming and the question was whether the FCC had enough authority to extend it to data roaming. In excruciating legal detail, the Court explained why the FCC had the Title III radio authority for this limited action and why the FCC "warrants deference" in this "gray area" of determining when a service is or isn't common carrier. Nevertheless, the court warned the FCC to not try and overreach beyond the narrow boundaries that the court allowed.

Simply, the court gave the FCC more leash in this set of circumstances, but still warned they remained on the court's leash.

Bad Information -- Rebutting a Shockingly Misinformed NYT Op-ed

I can't remember reading a more misinformed op-ed than today's NYT's "Bad Connections" by David Cay Johnston.

His stated premise that telecommunications competition hasn't fulfilled its promise of lowered prices, more innovation or improved quality since 1974 is apparently blind to obvious commonly-known facts.

In 1974, most all Americans used black rotary-dialed phones, suffered from prohibitively-expensive long distance rates, and phone technology that hadn't changed much for forty years.

Now thanks to competition Americans can:

See My New Presentation -- Modern Beats Obsolete in Spurring Economic Growth and Innovation

Please see my new power point presentation here entitled: "Modern Beats Obsolete in Spurring Economic Growth and Innovation -- Modernize Obsolete Communications Law and Spectrum Management." It is the culmination of a year of research and presents very powerful evidence of how woefully obsolete and absurdly dysfunctional America's communications policy has become.

This neglected problem has been bipartisan in the making over sixteen administrations and dozens of Congresses. It also will take a long-term bipartisan effort to correct. It will only become increasingly imperative to do so as more and more of our economy and society depends on a fully modern mobile Internet.

After reading this presentation you won't be able to look at current American communications policy in the same way again. America's got a lot of work to do to ensure our leadership in the Internet and high tech continues and is not slowed by the nonsensical and unnecessary drag on investment, innovation and growth of obsolete law and spectrum resource management.

Please don't miss the charts. An outline of the presentation follows:

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths