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Spectrum: To Auction or Not to Auction?

The FCC's recent call for unbounded spectrum auction authority spotlights an important debate over whether some of this scarce and extremely valuable wireless spectrum should be auctioned or not.

  • Ironically the FCC is asking Congress to give it spectrum auction authority to not auction spectrum.
  • In other words, the FCC is asking to be unilaterally empowered to decide not to auction some spectrum so it can deem it "unlicensed spectrum," like that used for WiFi and garage door openers.

There are huge fiscal problems with the FCC's position, given our nation's severe fiscal situation: a trillion dollar Federal budget deficit and a ballooning multi-trillion dollar public debt.

First, the real world effect of the FCC's gambit here is to try and get revenue-raising legislation to not raise many billions of dollars.

Market Auction or FCC Allocation of Spectrum

The latest twist in the spectrum auction debate is to try and shift the focus from the long accepted bipartisan purpose of auctioning airwaves for deficit and debt reduction

FCC Seeks Unbounded Spectrum Auction Authority

At CES, the FCC signaled that it opposed any effort by Congress to give the FCC policy direction or to establish any checks and balances on the FCC in authorizing incentive auctions of prime TV broadcast spectrum.

See my Forbes Tech Capitalist post "FCC Seeks Unbounded Spectrum Auction Authority" to see why the the FCC's lack of regulatory humility here is so stunning.

Android’s Pickpocket behind Google Wallet

The kerfuffle painting the Google Wallet App as an innocent victim of Verizon blocking -- in violation of an "open" Internet and net neutrality regulations -- completely misses the forest for the trees. This conflict revolves around two ongoing industry battles.

To see what this kerfuffle is really all about read my Forbes Tech Capitalist blog post here: Android's Pickpocket behind Google Wallet.

 

Verizon-Cable Spectrum: Is FCC Open to Competition?

The out-of-the-box thinking that led to Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House to sell $3.6b of AWS spectrum to competitor Verizon is a watershed competitive development which ultimately will flush out the real FCC.

 

 

Top Ten Flaws in FCC’s AT&T/T-Mobile Competition Analysis

The unprecedented release of a FCC draft staff analysis opposing the the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile transaction could backfire legally, undermining its intent to backstop the DOJ's pending lawsuit against the merger.

See my Forbes Tech Capitalist post here on the "Top Ten Flaws in the FCC's AT&T/T-Mobile Competition Analysis."

 

NetCompetition Statement on Verizon/Cable-SpectrumCo Transaction

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 2, 2011

Contact: Scott Cleland

703-217-2407

Verizon/SpectrumCo Deal Reflects Metamorphosis of Communications Competition

Broadband, Internet, & Cloud Computing Technologies Creating Omni-Modal Competition

WASHINGTON D.C. – Verizon Wireless’ purchase of 20 MHz of currently unused, near-nationwide AWS spectrum from Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks for $3.6b and reselling rights spotlights the extraordinary metamorphosis of communications competition being driven by broadband, Internet and cloud computing technologies.

The following quotes may be attributed to Scott Cleland, Chairman of NetCompetition.org:

SOPA Opponents' Bogus Net Neutrality Comparisons

The only thing proponents of Net neutrality regulation and opponents of online piracy legislation appear to have in common is the boy-crying-wolf "censorship" rhetoric of FreePress' Save The Internet activists.

See my Forbes Tech Capitalist post here, "SOPA Opponents' Bogus Net Neutrality Comparisons."

Net Neutrality Proponents Pyrrhic Senate Victory

The Senate's 52-46 rejection of the Resolution of Disapproval of the FCC's net neutrality regulations (after the House voted differently 240-179 to disapprove last spring), is a classic pyrrhic victory for net neutrality proponents in two big ways.

First, the issue put the FCC on the political radar screen of every Member of Congress, and not in a good way.

For several hours the Senate debated and then officially voted on whether the Constitutionally-authorized Congress should be the entity to effectively establish new Internet law, or whether unelected FCC commissioners with no direct statutory authority from Congress should be able to effectively establish new Internet law and effectively claim boundless unchecked regulatory power whenever they see fit.

Supporters of the FCC were put in the very awkward position of politically having to defend a constitutional/legal position that:

 

  • Is strongly contrary to the Senate's institutional interests; and
  • Involves preemptive regulation of a major swath of the economy without credible evidence of any existing problem -- all in the midst of a weak economy badly struggling to create jobs.

 

The Politics of Regulating the Internet

As the Senate prepares to vote on the fate of the FCC's net neutrality regulations this week, it's instructive to look more closely at the politics of regulating the Internet.

Read my Forbes Tech Capitalist post here.

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths