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House Net Neutrality Legislation Takeaways

House Democrats have proposed a resolution to Net Neutrality that strongly signals to the FCC majority to not pursue its considered Title II reclassification of broadband as a 1934 regulated telephone service. The House Democrats' draft is here. The implications of this House draft are broad, important and constructive.

First, this House Democrat draft signals to the FCC Democrat majority loud and clear that House Democrats do not support the radical FreePress-driven proposal to regulate broadband Internet networks as 1934 common carrier telephone networks.

Second, it proves that the FreePress-driven proposal to takeover the Internet and regulate it as a public utility is extreme, way out of the political mainstream, and a non-starter.

Third, this legislation proposes a sensible resolution and workable alternative to this destructive polarizing issue that is serving no one who seeks an open Internet that works, grows and innovates without anti-competitive concerns, but only the revolutionary interests of FreePress and its allies that claim they want net neutrality, but really seek a utopian "information commons revolution."

NetCompetition Statement on FCC's Broadband Legal Framework NOI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June, 17 2010

Contact:  Scott Cleland

703-217-2407

 

 

“FCC Regulating the Internet like a Phone Company Would Enthrone “Ma Google”

“FCC’s Broadband De-competition Policy Would Accelerate Google-opolization of the Net”

 

NetCompetition.org Press Release on FCC wireless report which advances FCC de-competition policy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE       

May 20, 2010                                                                                         

Contact:  Scott Cleland

703-217-2407

 

Scott Cleland, Chairman NetCompetition.org, on FCC Wireless Report:

  • “FCC advances its new de-competition policy in its new wireless assessment”

Why FCC's broadband public option is a lose-lose gamble

The FCC would be making a long-shot bet-the-farm gamble, if it decided to mandate the broadband public option i.e. deeming broadband to be a common-carrier-regulated service and regulating the Internet essentially for the first time. 

  • It would be a classic lose lose gamble because:
    • The FCC is very likely to lose in court -- accomplishing nothing, but damaging the hard-built trust, cooperation, and commitment necessary for public-private partnerships to be able to get broadband to all Americans fastest; and
    • Everyone else would lose from the irreparable damage to private broadband investment, innovation, growth, jobs, and America's broadband ranking in the world. 

I.   Lose in Court:

It is a given that the FCC would be sued; and it is very likely that the Appeals Court and/or the Supreme Court would overturn any FCC unilateral assertion of authority to deem broadband a common carrier service.

FCC deeming broadband to be regulated opens a Pandora's Box

Proponents of the FCC asserting new "deeming authority," to "deem" broadband to be a regulated phone service and thus subject to the FCC's existing Title II telephone authority, have not even begun to answer the most fundamental questions of what such a foundational change would mean.

  • Premature characterizations that this nouvelle regulatory "deeming" would somehow be easy, clean, or containable, simply have not thought through the potential chaos, havoc, and uncertainty that such a radical, foundational, and over-reaching regulatory "deeming" would wreak on:
    • Legal/policy precedent, clarity, and stability;
    • Business investment, and innovation -- assumptions, incentives, models and practices;
    • Economic growth, private investment and job creation;
    • Industry financial stability, contracts, and debt covenants; and
    • Trust, cooperation, and respect the FCC needs to fulfill its mission and its National Broadband Plan.
  • Consider the following to be a preliminary, non-exhaustive list of important questions the FCC and others will have to confront, answer and address, before the FCC seriously considers "opening" this potential Pandora's Box of ills.  

 

Must read Broadband industry letter to FCC: Title II reclassification would do incalcuable harm

In one of the best, most strongly-worded and serious letters to the FCC that I have read in my 18 years following FCC issues closely, the united broadband industry's letter to FCC Chairman Genachowski is simply a must-read; it explains why the FCC's serious interest in reclassifying unregulated broadband information services as regulated telecom services is among the worst and most destructive ideas the FCC has ever seriously considered.

The letter characterized Title II reclassification as:

  • "a radical new direction,"
  • "regulating the Internet,"
  • "a profound mistake,"
  • "betraying decades of bipartisan support for keeping the Internet unregulated,"
  • "misguided regulatory overreach," and a
  • "Pandora's Box."

A particularly strong summary statement was:

FCC Reclassification is Eminent Domain, but with No Just Compensation or Authority

At core the FCC's contemplation of reclassifying, or effectively treating, unregulated broadband info services as regulated telecom services, would be tantamount to the FCC declaring "eminent domain" over private broadband providers, i.e. justifying a government takings of private property for public uses, but doing so "without just compensation" or any statutory authority. 

  • The U.S. Constitution's Fifth Amendment requires: "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

A gaping missing element in all the FCC's discussions of all the new "public uses" it envisions for broadband in its pending National Broadband Plan and its proposed preemptive Open Internet regulations is any consideration at all of the potential hundreds of billions of dollars of un-budgeted liability to the U.S. Treasury that could result from the takings of private network property without just compensation -- at a time of skyrocketing trillion dollar Federal budget deficits and rapidly mounting public debt.   

Anti-competition FreePress mocks antitrust, feigning support of video competition

FreePress, which philosophically opposes competition policy, effectively is mocking antitrust law and authorities by cynically feigning to care about antitrust and competition in calling for an antitrust investigation of "TV Everywhere" efforts to enable authenticated paying video customers the additional convenience of accessing their paid-for content on any device at no extra cost. 

  • FreePress is misrepresenting its latest report -- "TV Competition Nowhere" -- as antitrust analysis when it is standard FreePress villain-ization of broadband and media businesses.   

In their own words, FreePress is anti-competition, anti-property, and anti-business. 

Why/how did Google outbid Apple for AdMob? Schmidt: Google Apple not "primary competitors"

Recent revelations indicate that the seriousness of the FTC's antitrust investigation of Google's proposed acquisition of AdMob will be ramping up.

Only eight months ago, Google CEO Eric Schmidt claimed Google and Apple were not "primary competitors" when a shareholder asked Mr. Schmidt to step down from Apple's board, because of an FTC antitrust investigation of Google for engaging in anti-competitive interlocking directorates per an AP story.

  • Only four months ago did Mr. Schmidt actually resign from the Apple board under pressure from the FTC.

While everyone is distracted by the front-page news of Google launching its own Google-manufactured smartphone called Nexus One, what I find most  interesting is that Google outbid Apple for AdMob by paying an exceptionally-high "multiple of up to ~16.7 times sales, the sort of price rarely seen in takeover deals since the heady days of the dot-com boom" per Reuters reports.

The Wall Street Journal also reported some very interesting new information/insights relevant to the FTC's Google-AdMob investigation:

Net Neutrality is a Made-Up Issue: The Smoking Gun

To see "smoking gun" proof that "net neutrality" is a made-up issue and argument, read the short but telling excerpt below from George Lakoff's Book: "Thinking Points" published October 3, 2006, when the only net neutrality incident at that time was the FCC's Consent Decree with rural telco, Madison River Communications in February 2005.  

From Thinking Points, Chapter 8, The Art of Arguments:

"Thus, the argument for Net neutrality becomes an argument for government regulation in this form by the FCC.

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths