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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. 

First NetCompetition vs. Open Internet coalition debate: see C-Span "The Communicators"

For those interested in learning more about the net neutrality policy differences between the broadband sector and the applications sector, tune into my first debate with Mr. Markham Erickson, the Executive Director of the Open Internet Coalition, on the C-Span show "The Communicators" which first ran on 12-5-09 at 6:30 EST and will re-air on 12-7-09 at 8am and 8pm EST.

It is instructive to see the very wide gulf between us on what the FCC open Internet regulations would do.   





Competition Reality Paves Way for Comcast-NBCU Approval

The reality of vibrant competition in every segment of the proposed Comcast-NBCU joint venture, combined with the companies' proactive public interest commitments, will pave the way for ultimate Government approval of this deal.

Vociferous anti-business opponents like FreePress have preemptively kicked up a lot of dust about this proposed deal, but when FreePress' initial contrived dust cloud settles -- the reality of competitive facts will ultimately drive the process. 

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.

Open Un-Neutrality – Will FCC Re-Distribute Internet Opportunity? For Consumers? Businesses? Investors?

In effectively reversing fifteen-year bipartisan U.S. communications policy from promoting competition and reducing regulation to promoting regulation and reducing competition, the FCC’s coming “Open Internet” regulations are anything but neutral; they pick sides and strongly skew outcomes.

  • First, the FCC is proposing new preemptive business bans mid-game, the harshest most disruptive form of economic regulation possible.
  • Second, the FCC is arbitrarily discriminating among increasingly similar and converging businesses resulting in the arbitrary punishment of some businesses for what they allegedly might do, while rewarding others with protection from competition for what they allegedly might not do.
  • Third, the FCC is arbitrarily mandating one-way technology convergence without any supportable justification, i.e. banning distribution convergence into applications/content, while encouraging application/content convergence into distribution.


FCC's concluding market power in the wrong place; See great ACI analysis: Broadband vs Internet profits

Given that the apparent justification for new formal net neutrality rules is that fifteen-year policy has failed and that the market is unable to ensure consumer choice, the FCC will need to justify with facts that broadband providers indeed have market power to exercise anti-competitively.

Kudos to Larry Darby of the American Consumer Institute for his excellent and illuminating comparative financial analysis of the market power and profits of broadband companies vs. Internet companies. From his post

The Many Vulnerabilities of an Open Internet

What an "Open Internet" does not mean is as important as what it does mean.

  • Surely an "Open Internet" is not intended to mean what it certainly can mean: un-protected, unguarded, or vulnerable to attack. 

  • Thus, it is essential for the FCC to be explicit in defining what the terms -- "Open Internet," "net neutrality," and Internet non-discrimination -- don't mean, as well as what they do mean.

The word "open" has 88 different definitions per and the word "open" has even more different connotations depending on the context. While the term "open" generally has a positive connotation to mean un-restricted, accessible and available, it can also have a negative or problematic connotation if it means unprotected, unguarded or vulnerable to attack.  

    "Competition in Cable TV" is working!

    The New York Times' editorial board seems stuck in a time 1992 time warp in its "Competition in Cable TV" editorial that nonsensically disagrees with the DC Appeals Court for having the good sense to see what everyone can see -- that there is very active competition for video service in the U.S.  

    The New York Times acts like it is still 1992, that since then nothing has happened, and that the 1992 Cable Act and the 1996 Telecom Act didn't succeed wildly in promoting competition.

    Thank goodness the DC Court of Appeals considers facts and is in touch with the reality of "Competition in Cable TV." 

    • 32 million Americans get video service from a cable competitor: DBS providers DirecTV and Echostar, telcos Verizon and AT&T, or overbuilder RCN.
    • Cable has earned 38 million new broadband subscribers -- a completely new service since the 1992 or 1996 Acts.
    • Cable has earned 18 million new telephony subscribers, an entirely new service for cable, since the 1992 or 1996 acts.
    • Cable also has invested in Clearwire to create a fifth national wireless broadband provider.
    • And America's cable industry is the only one in the world that has built out a nationwide fiber-coax infrastructure increasingly capable of 50 MBs of broadband speed.

    And that's not competition?!   

    It seems like The New York Times editorial board needs to get out and about more, a lot has changed since 1992 when they apparently last went outside.

    Why Broadband is Not a Public Utility

    The data and evidence show that broadband is not a public utility warranting economic regulation of prices, terms and conditions; this is contrary to the assertions of net neutrality proponents: the Markey-Eshoo Bill, FreePress, the Open Internet Coalition, and Google's Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf, among others.

    Why is broadband not a public utility? 

    First, it is a competitive service, not a natural monopoly service.

    A public utility presumes "natural monopoly" economics where economies of scale and scope preclude the possibility of competitive facilities/services. 

    • The roughly $200b in private risk capital invested in financially-successful U.S. competitive broadband facilities over the last several years is incontrovertible evidence that broadband does not enjoy natural monopoly economics.

    Second, users have choice of access providers.

    Comcast-Clearwire 4G Rollout Spotlights Vibrant U.S. Facilities-Based Broadband Competition

    Comcast-Clearwire's 4G WiMax rollout starting in Portland today, as part of broader national launch this year, is powerful evidence of the vibrancy and dynamism of the facilities-based broadband competition trajectory in the U.S.

    • This latest announcement provides an excellent opportunity to take stock of both the current state of broadband competition in the U.S. and the competitive trajectory of how the U.S. broadband market is getting increasingly more competitive.

    Contrary to the parade of imperfection horribles claimed by anti-competition groups to try and justify a wide variety of new net neutrality-related regulations, the U.S. has more real and growing facilities-based broadband competition than any nation in the world.

    The Comcast announcement provides powerful proof points of all the good aspects of vibrant facilities-based competition.


    Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths