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Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2011-06-06 16:00
As a regular reader of Steve Pearlstein's Washington Post's business column, I was dismayed at the consistent pro-regulation frame of Sunday's piece on the AT&T-T-Mobile acquisition: "The Revenge of the Baby Bells."
The hallmark of longstanding bipartisan competition policy has been that if market players have the freedom to succeed or fail at differentiating, innovating and investing to meet consumers' rapidly evolving needs, market forces can maximize consumer welfare much better than FCC regulators can.
Thus it is dismaying that Mr. Pearlstein crafted a false choice in his column: "...stick with the competitive, lightly-regulated model and... block a merger... or it could acknowledge... the "telephone" market is a natural oligopoly... and... requires much stronger government regulation."
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2011-05-26 18:19
FreePress' radical anti-business, anti-capitalism politics lead it to make up or contort facts and analogies in order to promote its world view of a publicly-owned and regulated Internet commons.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2011-05-26 09:51
The FCC's Open Internet Order is even more likely to be overturned in court than before because the FCC's extraordinary delay in publishing its December net neutrality regulations has oddly moved the FCC's April Data Roaming Order to the front of the line of cases challenging the FCC's overall legal authority to regulate broadband.
Consequently both cases are now more likely to be heard in the FCC-unfriendly D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2011-05-09 15:00
Like pro-regulation forces did everything they could to undermine competition policy to justify FCC net neutrality regulation last year, those same FreePress-led pro-regulation forces are focused in 2011 on trying to characterize the AT&T/T-Mobile combination as a threat to competition -- so that they can impose new regulations on AT&T that they can then try and force on the rest of the industry.
The problem is that the FreePress-led pro-regulation forces are trying to convince people of the preposterous claim that the AT&T/T-Mobile merger will reconstitute the Ma Bell Monopoly when the obvious facts are that AT&T is no longer dominant 27 years after the Bell-break-up.
The Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee hearing on the AT&T-T-Mobile merger is entitled: "The AT&T/T-Mobile Merger: Is Humpty Dumpty Being Put Back Together Again?"
Just like it was preposterous last year that the U.S. was falling behind on broadband because of insufficient competition, it is preposterous that the AT&T/T-Mobile merger will reconstitute the the Ma Bell monopoly.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2011-04-25 12:45
As the DOJ and FCC research and sort through the competitive facts of the AT&T-T-Mobile acquisition for themselves in the months ahead, it will become clear that opponents' current rhetoric and assertions are over-the-top, exaggerated and simply not credible.
I. The Relevant Facts:
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2011-03-30 10:18
Why is there a selective political fixation on AT&T-T-Mobile's ~43% combined market share when so many related markets are dramatically more concentrated, less competitive, or even monopolized?
When the FCC does the "data-driven analysis" that it claims to value, it will discover a blatant competition double standard where broadband critics gerrymander and torture broadband market share statistics to raise the specter of a broadband "opoly" -- to justify broadband regulation.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2011-03-28 18:38
Despite Sprint and Clearwire opposing the proposed AT&T-T-Mobile acquisition, expect the DOJ and FCC to approve it, because the DOJ appreciates the facts of vibrant wireless competition and because the FCC will come to appreciate how the transaction actually helps solve many of the FCC's highest priority problems.
As a veteran analyst, who has closely covered most all of the roughly two dozen major communications mergers since the 1996 Telecom Act, it is easy to cut through the critics' standard, hyperbole and histrionics -- that they use to attack every major communications merger -- to get to the rub of this matter.
Like I blogged that the Comcast-NBCU merger would get approval when the hyperbole and histrionics were similarly over the top and not credible, this acquisition ultimately will gain government approval.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2011-03-14 16:35
It will be surprising if the Republican FCC Commissioners and a bipartisan majority of Congress do not oppose the FCC's unwarranted war on wireless competition policy.
The linchpin of the FCC's de-competition policy to restore the FCC to its pre-1996 monopoly regulation glory days, and to put the FCC in more control of the communications sector going forward, is to politically define away the existence of "effective competition," in order to justify FCC regulation of the mobile Internet.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2011-01-20 17:54
Verizon is highly likely to win its appeal of the FCC's December Open Internet order, because the FCC's order is likely to deeply and broadly offend the legal sensibilities of the Appeals Court, just like the FCC offended the DC Appeals Court's sensibilities when it punished Comcast for violating a regulation that did not exist.
To understand the most likely outcome here, it is critical to cut through the FCC's claims, assertions, and arguments, and focus on the big picture context of what the FCC is actually doing in this Open Internet Order, i.e. what is the effect of the FCC's decision and process on the rule of law. That is what matters most to the Court.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Tue, 2010-09-28 10:28
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."