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Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2007-06-27 11:05
Kudos to Robert Hahn and Hal Singer for their outstanding op ed in the Washington Post "Earmarked Airwaves."
- The editorial cogently presents the fork in the road that faces any major FCC decision: to follow law, which promotes competition and market-driven outcomes, or to freelance and try and "manage" competition and pick winners and losers in advance through "spectrum earmarking."
- FCC history is littered with freelance "managed competition" failures, but two are particularly ignominious and highly relevant to this 700 MHz auction:
- the illegal UNE-P scheme to rig telecom competitive outcomes following the 1996 Telecom Act; and
- the Nextwave auction scandal that kept 30 MHz of prime spectrum fallow and tied up in court for almost a decade.
At its core a spectrum auction is the quintessential type of competition. The auction law's purpose in 1993 was to use market forces, competition, to allocate the public's asset most appropriately, largely because previous FCC spectrum allocation processes were so ineffective, unfair and prone to serious abuse and graft.
This 700 MHz auction may be shaping up to be FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's legacy moment: will it be marked by promoting competition and market-based outcomes or will it be marked by standing on the auction scales to ensure the spectrum is "earmarked" to the predetermined, chosen "winner" -- in this case former Clinton-Gore FCC Chairman Reed Hundt's Frontline Wireless company.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2007-06-21 12:10
I have been watching with some amusement all of the SaveTheInternet-launched blogilantes ranting about the prospect of Internet backbone networks like AT&T or others, becoming a filtering technology solution to Hollywood's problem of rampant content piracy on the Internet.
Why am I amused?
- Because net neutrality proponents are so predictably knee jerk in their reaction to anything that they see as a threat to their datatopian ideal of a net free of any broadband competition, differentiation or diversity of choice.
- Net neutrality proponents have such a bad case of "myneutralopia" that they can't see the proverbial forest for the trees.
- Over the last year, net neutrality proponents have had to make an increasing number of big concessions about what "bit discrimination" is acceptable in order to remain credible on Capitol Hill.
- They have had to concede and support network management "discrimination" of bits:
- To filter out viruses, filtering which is essential to protect the Internet and users from Net blackouts or shutdowns;
- To filter out illegal spam, so the Internet and email remains unclogged and useful; and
- To allow for law enforcement under CALEA, the ability to surveil criminal and terrorist activity on the Internet.
- If all that network managment "discrimination of bits" is OK,
- Then why isn't it OK for these same network managers to filter traffic for pirated content, i.e. trafficking in stolen goods?
- In other words, if it is OK to filter the Internet for the misdemeanors and felonies of spreading viruses and spam, and it is longstanding law for the Goverment to be able to surveil the Internet to detect criminal behavior, how is new network filtering for illegal pirated content any different or any less necessary?
Once again, the net neutrality crowd's kneejerk reaction is to side with lawbreakers rather than with every day citizens and users of the Internet who are all ultimately harmed by allowing Internet-enabled crimes to go undetected and unnpunished.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2007-06-15 09:43
You gotta love how the free market works when left alone by the Government!
Just as Frontline and others are demanding that the government has to intervene in the 700 MHz auction to "create" a third broadband pipe, the free market finds another way to solve these market problems without the Government.
One of the most significant developments in the spectrum world today was not the hot air at the Senate Commerce Committee hearing, but what happened in the free market -- DirecTV and Echostar signing agreements with Clearwire to sell their WiMax broadband service.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2007-06-14 11:11
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2007-06-07 18:20
FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell gave an outstanding speech today at the Broadband Policy Summit in which he did the single best job I have seen totally debunking the OECD rankings that purportedly indicate the US is falling behind on broadband.
Commissioner McDowell explains with example after example -- how skewed the OECD methodology is.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2007-06-06 11:33
Like the discredited and shameful congressional practice of fleecing the American taxpayer with "earmarking" public funds for special interests, Frontline-Google and eBay-Skype are asking for the equivalent of special interest commercial "earmarks" from the FCC.
It is outrageous that the FCC is actually entertaining these proposed special interest scams against the American taxpayer.
What am I talking about specifically? Two special interest spectrum/policy "earmarks" are getting a lot of press attention lately.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Tue, 2007-06-05 19:26
Yet another state legislature has rejected passing a law mandating net neutrality -- this time in Maine, the home state of Senator Olympia Snowe, one of net neutrality's primary sponsors and highest profile proponents in the US Senate.
Moveon.org/SaveTheInternet are now 0-3 in their hand-picked states where they thought they had the best chance of passing a version of the Senate Snowe-Dorgan bill or the House Markey bill from last year -- and where they focused their efforts.
Previously, Moveon.org?SaveTheInternet failed to pass net neutrality legislation in Michigan, and Maryland.
To let the net neutrality proponents save face, the Maine Senate passed a resolution, not legislation, that asks for a study on net neutrality to be completed next year.
This is the same outcome as has occurred at the Federal level as both the FTC and FCC are studying net neutrality and seeking comments.
Moreover, the Maine resolution also recognizes that net neutrality is a federal issue and that Maine does not have jurisdiction over the net neutrality issue.
I fully expect that Moveon.org and SaveTheInterent will continue to waste valuable state legislative time and resources on a problem they cannot even define or prove exists.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2007-05-31 18:51
Reed Hundt is up to his old "managed-competition" tricks again.
It is highly relevant that Frontline is financially backed by big Google investor/Board members
; their involvement was probably orchestrated by Google Senior advisor Al Gore, Hundt's political benefactor in the Clinton-Gore Administration.
- True to form in this new venture, Mr. Hundt has never met a marketplace that he didn't think he could personally "manage" better than the free market can.
The FCC should be very very careful in following this policy charmer's latest government intervention advice on the 700 MHz auction, because he has been personally responsible for most all of the largest wild goose chases that the FCC has been involved in over the last few decades.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2007-05-31 11:59
Bloomberg reports that Democratic Presidential candidate John Edwards "backs Google's push for wholesale leasing of airwaves."
Let's cut to the chase here.
Google has proposed a self-serving idea for real-time auctions of spectrum that might be able work in five to ten years time, but is not at all relevant to, or practical for, the auction scheduled for next winter.
Google's idea is really a clever diversion and stalking horse for wireless net neutrality -- a sweet-sounding name for government-subsidized free spectrum or "corporate welfare for dotcom billionaires."
More importantly, Google's proposal would effectively undermine the FCC's ability to raise the maximum amount in the upcoming 700 MHz auction for American taxpayers.
Presidential candidate Edwards appears more interested in pandering to powerful Democratic special interests and fundraisers that can contribute to his lagging campaign, than being a good steward of taxpayer money.
And who might those special interests be that Mr. Edwards is pandering to?
Google, whose employees in the last election cycle contributed 98% to Democratic candidates;
Al Gore, Google's senior Advisor, (who is now seriously rich, but quietly so, from his Google options) and who is ringleader of "Google's Poodles"
Google's very own astroturf group the "Open Internet Coalition." and
Former Clinton-Gore FCC Chairman, Reed Hundt, Chairman of Frontline spectrum company, funded in part by Google-related money, which is seeking to rig the upcoming FCC spectrum auction for their own commercial benefit under the guise of an "open Internet."
Don't be fooled by the clever diversions surrounding the FCC's upcoming 700 MHz auction.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2007-05-31 10:02
Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was reported on a blog to have "supported" net neutrality in a conference call with bloggers.
Don't believe this is his "official" policy position for a minute.
When conservative Mike Huckabee learns both sides of this issue and is not blindsided on a conference call on a subject he was unfamiliar with, and which was then grossly mispresented, I am convinced he will not "support" net neutrality.
No legitimate economic conservative like Mike Huckabee, who wants to radically downsize the Federal Government, will support a Big Government program to regulate the Internet for the first time.
He clearly was not at all familiar with the issue nor that nearly all the biggest funding supporters of net neutrality are liberal groups like Moveon.org who believe in digital socialism and radically reducing intellectual property rights on the web.
When Mike Huckabee's campaign staff research this issue, (we recommend they read the one pagers at the top right hand side of the www.NetCompetition.org
website) there is no way he will support net neutrality as part of his official campaign.
It would be totally inconguous with his other limited Government views.
The last thing conservative Mr. Huckabee would want is to put the current "free and open" Internet under Government control.
Not gonna happen.
This is another in a long line of supposed "endorsements" of net neutrality that result from NN proponents consistent misrepresentation of the facts and gross use of unsubstantiated allegations of a problem.