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FCC Should Declare Victory

Comcast's EVP David Cohen spoke at Brookings today on "Who should Govern the Internet."

 

  • His thesis was dead on and well worth spotlighting -- the Internet is an engineering creation and the Internet flourishes because it lives in the collaborative and capable hands of engineers dedicated to making the Internet work for everyone.
  • The speech explained how engineers working together in forums like the IETF and BITAG can solve, and solve quickly, issues that others try to unnecessarily involve lawyers and regulators in.

 

My big takeaway from the event, was that the FCC should declare victory -- that we have a free and open Internet -- and then get back to the real pressing work facing the FCC -- the National Broadband Plan.

There are no existing net neutrality problems, and no technical issues that the industry engineering bodies, IETF and BITAG have not been able to resolve.

There is simply no need for the FCC to fix an Internet that is already operating as the FCC and most everyone expects it to operate.

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”

 

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.  

 

Impact of court vacating Comcast net neutrality order -- NetCompetition.org's press release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                     

April 6, 2010                                                                                          

Contact:  Scott Cleland 703-217-2407

 

 

NetCompetition Comments on Impact of D.C. Circuit Vacating FCC Comcast Order

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.   

DOJ Review of Comcast-NBCU Good for the Companies

News reports that the DOJ, and not the FTC, will conduct the antitrust review of the Comcast-NBCU deal is a very good development for the companies. 

First, DOJ's filing to the FCC on the National Broadband Plan just this week showed that the DOJ clearly understands that the cable industry is competitive and that DBS competition has improved innovation, content choice, and customer service in the market, and that telecom competitive entry has provided pricing pressure to the cable market as well. (See pages 15 & 16 of the DOJ filing.) 

Second, that same DOJ filing shows that DOJ rejects the radical thinking of FreePress that competition must be commodity-like to be competition and that pricing should be based on incremental costs. If the DOJ does not agree with FreePress' approach to analyzing competition in the National Broadband Plan they are unlikely to agree with FreePress' approach to analyzing competition in this Comcast-NBCU merger review. Simply, DOJ does not analyze competition and antitrust like FreePress does. DOJ is professional and driven by the facts and the law -- not politics. 

Third, the DOJ merger review process, because it is overseen by a single antitrust enforcer/prosecutor and not a commission with additional consumer protection responsibilities, is a much harder process for FreePress to politically influence/manipulate than the FTC. 

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.   

 

 

 

 

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths