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Harms of a Potential New FCC De-Competition Policy -- Reply comments to FCC Open Internet NPRM

The FCC's proposed Open Internet Regulations and/or the oft-rumored potential re-classification of broadband as a Title II telephone service effectively would create a new FCC "de-competition policy." (For the one-page PDF submitted to the FCC click here)

 

A new FCC "de-competition policy" would:

  • Supplant market-based competition policy with outdated common carrier regulation policy;
  • Shift the FCC's primary purpose from promoting competition to promoting openness;
  • Replace the core mechanism for advancing consumer welfare from a voluntary, bottom-up, market-based competition system, to a coerced, top-down, centralized, FCC regulation system; and
  • Remove users from being in charge of the Internet to the FCC asserting control over the Internet.

 

A new FCC "de-competition policy," unauthorized by Congress, would effectively:

  • Devolve existing communications law from its purpose in the 1996 Telecom Act “to promote competition and reduce regulation” to promote regulation and reduce competition;
  • Abandon existing Congressional Internet policy in law, which is “to preserve the…competitive free-market…Internet…unfettered by Federal or State regulation;
  • Distort the notion of an “open” market to mean government-driven, not competition-driven; and
  • Install the introduced, but never marked up or passed, Markey-Eshoo bill (HR 3458) as new national policy.

 

The harms of a potential new FCC "de-competition policy" are: 

  •  Missing the point of competition and its unique benefits:
    • Best at anticipating consumers’ ever-evolving and diverse demands -- in real time;
    • Best at responding to demand with a diverse offering of consumer choices and platforms;
    • Best at incenting real innovation through opportunity for reward and the discipline of risk;
    • Best at delivering sustainable economic growth and good job creation broadly; and
    • Best at generating sustainable, long-term, multiple-technology infrastructure investment.
  • Over-reaching regulatory hubris:
    • Ignoring the Federal fiscal reality that the FCC must rely on robust private investment for universal broadband;
    • Positing without evidence, that the FCC’s visible hand can outperform market’s invisible hand;
    • Deeming the lobbying contest for specially-granted regulatory prices, terms & conditions to be “competition,” but facilities-based, multi-technology competition for consumers’ business based on price, value, innovation, and differentiation – to not be competition; and
    • Over-reaching with big regulatory changes without authority, justification, or consensus.
  • Undermining the National Broadband Plan’s consensus with de-competition policy’s major strife.
  • Regressing backwards to a 19th century regulatory paradigm designed for a single technology monopoly (railroads), away from a 21st century competition paradigm for diverse technologies.
  • Halting progress by changing the rules and moving the goalposts mid-game, requiring a complete -- regulatory, legal, policy, business, investment, competition, and innovation -- do-over.
  • Supplanting technology-neutral policy with industrial policy favoring Google, eBay & Amazon.
  • Ignoring the FCC’s well-known regulatory/legal failures from a decade ago and the consequent bubble speculation and crash they helped cause (CLEC & fiber bankruptcies, dotcom bubble) with no lessons-learned or analysis why new de-competition policy won’t result in déjà-vu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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