You are here

AT&T

WSJ lead article highlights tradeoff of competition vs regulation

The cover story in the Wall Street Journal today "A fight over what you  can do with your cellphone; Handset makers push free features for which carriers pay for" was obviously perfectly-timed and placed by open access/net neutrality proponents trying to influence the Senate Commerce Committee hearing today on the FCC's 700 MHz auction.

  • The article offers a list of complaints for net neutrality supportive Senators to browbeat competitive wireless carriers with.

What the article ignores is the broader and essential context of this issue and debate.

FCC Commissioner McDowell debunks OECD broadband rankings

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.

  • My personal favorite line in the speech was on how the OECD methodology is skewed against the US:
    • "...even if every existing broadband subscriber in America had a fiber-fed 100 mbps broadband connection, we would only rank 12th."

No shadowy spectrum earmarks for Dotcom Billionaires!

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. 

  • The FCC should keep the auction free of the corrupting influence of spectrum or policy "earmarks" for the obvious benefit of only one company lobbying the process for permission to pick the American taxpayers' pocket.

What am I talking about specifically? Two special interest spectrum/policy "earmarks" are getting a lot of press attention lately.

Markey-like Net Neutrality bill fizzles out in Maine Senate

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.
    • Both the FTC and the FCC have said that they do not see a current problem in the marketplace concerning the alleged problem of net discrimination.
  • 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.  

  • They don't seem to "get" or care that the Internet is Federal jurisdiction and Federal policymakers at every official level have rejected calls for net neutrality legislation.

FCC can't afford yet another Reed Hundt wild goose chase

Reed Hundt is up to his old "managed-competition" tricks again. 

  • The former Clinton-Gore FCC Chairman is now Vice Chairman of Frontline Wireless, which wants the FCC to auction spectrum to them requiring net neutrality/open access -- so effectively no company will be able/or want to pay much for the 700 MHz spectrum -- and so Frontline Wireless could capture this most valuable spectrum available at the market-managed price of -- pennies on the dollar. 
    • 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.  
      • A big part of Google's strategy for value creation and 90% gross margins is to take intellectual property without permission or compensation and to secure use of bandwidth and spectum below market cost. 
  • 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.

Edwards backs Google's Big Government spectrum subsidy plan

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.

President candidate Huckabee blindsided on net neutrality

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.

Broadband data bills favor Big Government over competition

Senate Democrats are attempting to sneak through the back door what they cannot get through the front door of the "free and open"  policy process.

The Inouye "Broadband Data Improvement Act" is really a long term trojan horse for net neutrality and heavy regulation of broadband.

  • The bill requires that the FCC "establish a new definition of second generation broadband to reflect a data rate that is not less than the data rate required  to reliably transmit full-motion, high definition video." 
    • "Reliable" "high-definition" broadband is certainly not DSL or existing cable modems.

The clever ruse in this innocuous-sounding language is to redefine broadband competition as a total abject failure, and to declare broadband market failure, so the pro-regulatory types can regulate broadband becuase it is not competitive, or is at best a future duopoly.

SaveTheInternet effectively endorses "digital socialism"

SaveTheInternet and net neutrality proponents are losing their populist message discipline, and starting to show their true philosphical colors in blatantly calling for what is effectively "digital socialism."

Andrew Rasiej, the founder of The Personal Democracy Forum, challenged Presidential candidates to become the next "Tech President" in a recent blogpost. It's important to note that his views are mainstream in the net neutrality movement as evidenced by the hearty endorsement they received by SaveTheInternet and by Wired Magazine Blog.

Broadband mapping is a transparent pro-regulation policy scheme

I personally think the Markey proposal to spend $36 million for a "national broadband map" is a monumental waste of taxpayer money and really bad "policy".

  • We don't have even a "national" broadband problem, we have more broadband facilities based competition and investment than any nation in the world.
  • We may have a rural broadband lag, and if a map is needed at all it could only be justified for rural areas and it would only cost a fraction of the $36m.
  • If Chairman Markey proposed a rural broadband map I would be much more muted in my criticism.

However, there is a not so hidden agenda lurking here.

  • A "national" broadband map is a transparent political scheme to re-define the issue so pro-regulation and pro-net neutrality proponents can define away "competition" and current policy success with a stroke of a pen.
  • If they can define away satellite and the 5 national wireless providers as broadband competitors, they can smugly say "I told you so" broadband is really a monopoly/duopoly and declare  competition policy a failure!
  • Then they could have a policy basis for mandating net regulation, subsidies and net neutrality!

The reason they want a national broadband policy is that they want a one-size-fits-all national policy like net neutrality which ensures everyone gets the same broadband service regardless of different needs, wants or means.

  • These "nationalized" regulation visionaries, then can create a role for Big government programs where there is none now.

It still amazes me how Chairman Markey and his fellow Big Government/net neutrality proponents can not see that competition and not regulating the Internet has been a fabulous, albeit imperfect success for the United States.

Pages

Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths