You are here
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2012-05-24 15:03
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 24, 2012
Contact: Scott Cleland 703-217-2407
Verizon-Cable's Market-based Spectrum Transaction Promotes Competition
Promoting secondary market for spectrum & new forms of competition is in the public interest
WASHINGTON D.C. – In response to Senate Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman Kohl's letter to the DOJ and the FCC on the Verizon-Cable transaction, the following quotes may be attributed to Scott Cleland, Chairman of NetCompetition.org:
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2012-05-23 11:43
This week the EU issued a formal antitrust ultimatum to Google: recommend acceptable remedies or face prosecution for abusing monopoly power. This action has sweeping ramifications and enables one to make several educated conclusions.
1. EU has called Google's bluff on being cooperative.
2. Google is busted.
3. "Preferential treatment" is 99% of this EU-Google fight.
4. "Preferential treatment" is Google's business strategy.
5. As a self-declared publisher, Google competes with the web.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2012-05-21 09:35
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2012-05-17 19:11
Exploding overall broadband usage, combined with increasingly varied usage between average users and heaviest users, is naturally evolving the broadband market towards the flexibility of tiered usage-pricing over time.
Yesterday, Verizon Wireless indicated that it will begin to move its wireless data users away from unlimited data plans for single users that upgrade to its 4G LTE wireless broadband network, towards more-shared, tiered usage-pricing data plans, where with the potential added-price comes the added-flexibility of combining the usage of multiple devices of a family or a small business.
Today Comcast announced a transition from its current very-high, but static 250G monthly data usage cap, to a more flexible and expandable 300G monthly usage threshold, where a user would then have the option of buying additional usage above 300G -- at the likely cost of about an additional $10 per additional 50G used in a month. So in addition to choice of broadband speeds, the heaviest-use Comcast consumers will now also be able to choose how much more capacity they want to use/buy as well.
Both companies, which invest billions of dollars in their broadband infrastructures, are naturally evolving their pricing and competitive business offerings over time to address the exploding high-bandwidth usage of smart phones and tablets, market segments that did not even exist five years ago.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Tue, 2012-05-15 11:51
Google's latest claimed antitrust get-out-of-jail-free-card is that Google is effectively immune from antitrust prosecution because it has a constitutional free speech right to free speech to rank and present its search results any way it wants, per a new Google-sponsored white paper by UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh. This effort is much more of a political argument and PR wish than a legal or antitrust argument, because neither the right to free speech nor any other right in the Constitution's Bill of Rights confers immunity from the rule of law foundation on which the rest of the U.S. Constitution rests. There are many reasons to be skeptical of Google's blanket claims of antitrust immunity via its free speech rights.
First, anybody that considers the many forms of illegal speech that are unprotected by the First Amendment: perjury, libel, slander, misrepresentation, lying under oath, fraud, deceptive practices, falsifying documents, collusion, conspiracy, impersonating a police officer, stealing, vandalism, graffiti, inciting a riot, etc., will take Google's imagined blanket immunity from antitrust laws on free speech grounds with a grain of salt. Google exaggerates its "free speech" rights to protection from antitrust, just like it exaggerates its "fair use" rights to take others' property without permission.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2012-05-03 17:55
Opponents urging the FCC to block the Verizon-Cable secondary market spectrum transaction are pushing the FCC into dangerous institutional territory, effectively goading it to: overreach its statutory authority; ignore FCC precedent, evidence, and facts; and game its own spectrum-screen process. The same FreePress radical fringe -- that goaded the FCC to flout the D.C. Appeals Court decision and pass the Open Internet Order and Data-Roaming Order -- are at it again.
The FreePress radical fringe who care not for the rule of law, are again goading the FCC to trump up some new public interest rationale and statutory theory to allow the FCC to transmogrify its limited public interest authority into unbounded authority that disregards the law, FCC precedent, or the facts. This radical manipulation of the process may be good for forwarding FreePress' anti-business, Internet commons goals, but it is not good for the institution of the FCC, which is a creature of Congress and subject to the rule of law. And nor is it good for the American public.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2012-05-02 11:17
My Daily Caller op-ed: "Obsolete Communications Law Stifles Innovation, Hurts Consumers," puts a spotlight on how America's century-old communications law and regulatory framework is obsolete and strangles America's innovation potential.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Tue, 2012-04-17 18:52
Reading through The American Antitrust Institute's white paper on Verizon-Cable, it is striking how little analysis is relevant to antitrust/market-competition and how it is basically a thinly-veiled tacit pitch for the DOJ and the FCC to pursue an aggressive industrial policy for the wireless industry.
The white paper presumes that because the DOJ blocked the AT&T/T-Mobile merger to preserve T-Mobile as a disruptive fourth wireless competitor, and because T-Mobile now claims it needs more spectrum, that the government should intervene somehow to effectively redirect the spectrum to T-Mobile and away from Verizon.
The huge flaw in the AAI's analysis is its central presumption, which is contrary to longstanding spectrum auction law, that the government, not market forces, should allocate spectrum. The analysis ignores that the law of the land allocates spectrum via property rights and auctions enabling the spectrum to find the party that most economically values it and has the most economic incentive to put it to productive use. The AAI's analysis appears biased against existing law in assuming that the only or primary reason that the largest wireless providers would want more spectrum would be to anti-competitively keep it from its smaller competitors, and not the obvious and real reason that they want to provide better, faster, more reliable mobile broadband service to more people in more of the country to make more money.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2012-04-13 17:38
The Washington Post's lead story today, "Landline Rules Frustrate Telecoms," puts a needed spotlight on obsolete communications law that: falsely assumes the telecom marketplace is still a monopoly with no consumer choice; and still mandates telecom companies subsidize below-cost, copper-line telephone service to households as if it were still a government-sanctioned monopoly.
A bit of history is warranted here. This century-old political arrangement -- the 1913 Kingsbury Commitment between the Federal Government and AT&T -- effectively established a government-sanctioned monopoly in return for universal telephone service to all Americans and utility rate of return regulation. In 1996, Congress reformed Federal communications policy by ending monopoly and promoting competition. Today, despite copper telephone networks losing half of their customer base to cable, wireless, VoIP, broadband and other Internet competitors (and losing most of their most profitable landline customers) many legacy telecom legal requirements, like subsidized below-cost telephone service, live on despite being obsolete. This means that in today's fiercely competitive voice service marketplace, mandating that only one provider must provide subsidized below-cost, copper-line service to potentially millions of households, is a classic un-funded mandate and a hidden, unfair, investment-distorting business tax on only one competitor.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2012-03-29 18:42
Two top Google executives responsible for Google's corporate acquisitions unwittingly made it clear recently that Google, as a corporate entity, does not take the risk of antitrust enforcement very seriously.
First, Marcella Butler, Google's Senior Director, Corporate Development, M&A Operations and Integration, ”who manages how new firms are integrated into Google" recently told Slate.com: “We do not slow down our integration efforts at all during that time” i.e. during a DOJ antitrust review of a major transaction.
Such a surprisingly blanket absolute statement from a Google insider who is intimately familiar with how Google actually operates during DOJ merger antitrust reviews, at a minimum raises concerns with antitrust authorities about Google's respect for, and compliance with, antitrust law.