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Why FCC Net Neutrality Regs Are So Vulnerable

See my Forbes Tech Capitalist post on net neutrality here, entitled: Why FCC Net Neutrality Regs Are so Vulnerable.

Google 21st Century Robber Baron

See my Forbes post "Google 21st Century Robber Baron" which briefly tells the story of Google's Robber Baron rap sheet, in advance of Google's Wednesday Senate antitrust hearing.

  • The post is documented with 79 links to the supporting evidence.

The post also explains why Google's Board of Directors have been AWOL while all this scofflaw behavior has been going on.

Opposing "The Verge" of Socialism -- My latest Forbes Tech Capitalist post

Please see my Forbes Tech Capitalist blog "Opposing "The Verge" of Socialism" here, which rebuts Joshua Topolsky's Washington Post column: "Want better wireless service in America? Socialize it."

Satirical Preview of Google's Senate Antitrust Testimony -- Google's Pinocchio Defense Part X

Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member, it is a real pleasure to be here today, and thank you again for not issuing that formal subpoena you had to threaten in order to compel us to testify.

Let me begin my testimony by taking this opportunity to divert the media’s attention from this hearing by making a series of Google public announcements that our news algorithms predict will bury news of today’s hearing on the second page of most search results.

Netflix' Uneconomics

Netflix' continues to exhibit serious difficulties grasping basic economics, competition and value.

First, Netflix is lowering its value to customers.

  • Netflix now charges its subscribers' 60% more in September in return for lots less premium content available for subscribers in February, as Netflix just lost Starz,its top premium content provider, which supplies 22 of Netflix' top 100 movies.

 

Second, Netflix is shifting its costs to its customers.

  • Netflix used its abrupt and controversial 60% price hike to force many of its core users away from the DVD model that many prefer and have the viewing technology for (but costs Netflix more), to the streaming model, (which Netflix prefers because it costs them less) even if it costs many of their DVD customers to spend lots more to upgrade their viewing technology to view the streamed content in the way they can currently view DVDs.

 

Third, Netflix is chasing away the premium content its subscribers demand.

AT&T/T-Mobile: DOJ's Achilles Heel is Ignoring Competition Facts

The broader evidence of competitive price pressure in the U.S. mobile marketplace that the DOJ has ignored and excluded in its gerrymandered market definition -- is the DOJ case's Achilles Heel.

 

  • Remember, the DOJ has the burden of proof here to prove the deal will "substantially lessen competition," based on the preponderance of the evidence.
  • The DOJ's suspect market definition puts the DOJ in the unenviable position of convincing the judge to ignore vast swaths of evidence of competitive price pressures, growing choices   facts and evidence that average consumers are well aware of that seriously undercut the DOJ's contrived market definition and conclusion.

 

While layman may not understand that the DOJ's HHI concentration indices are not determinative, this experienced Judge certainly does.

 

Top Ten Flaws in DOJ's Case Against AT&T-T-Mobile

The DOJ lawsuit against the AT&T/TMobile merger has many serious flaws that will make it difficult for the DOJ to meet its burden of proof in court that this merger is anti-competitive.

 

  • Court cases are precedent, fact, and merit driven, and DOJ's case is much weaker in those critical dimensions than most appreciate or reports indicate.
  • (See DOJ's release here and the DOJ's complaint here.)

Importantly, if the DOJ ultimately cannot prove this merger is anti-competitive in a court of law, that official legal decision would make it legally difficult for the FCC to block the merger on competition grounds under the FCC's public interest standard, especially given that the merger would bring more broadband speed more quickly to more Americans, and create jobs, which the FCC's claims are their top public interest priorities.

  • Simply, the precedents, facts, and merits are friends of the proposed AT&T-T-Mobile deal.

I.   Summary of Top Ten Flaws in DOJ's Case

 

FCC Needs to Update Sect. 652 to Conform with Market Reality & Congress' Intent

An easy way for the FCC to show respect for the President's Executive Order to eliminate "outmoded" and "excessively burdensome" regulations would be to grant the NCTA's petition for a declaratory ruling, that Section 652 of the 1996 Telecom Act, (intended to encourage incumbent local telcos and cable companies to compete in telephony and video) was not meant to prohibit pro-competitive mergers between cable companies and new entrant CLECs that didn't exist in 1996 and thus have no market power.

The FCC Sect. 652 status quo is counterproductive in perversely thwarting a central competition policy goal of the 1996 Telecom Act: i.e. promotion of cable-telco competition.

  • By creating unnecessary regulatory uncertainty around actual and potential cable-CLEC mergers, at both the FCC and with local franchising authorities, the FCC effectively has created a regulatory barrier to more cable-telco competition.
  • We cannot "win the future" with a broadband Internet "excessively burdened" with anachronistic analog anchors like the FCC's current interpretation of Sect. 652.

 

Specifically, the NCTA's petition exposes a dysfunctional local franchising authority review process that has no standards or time limits, which makes the overall regulatory review process for cable-CLEC mergers uncertain, arbitrary, and "excessively burdensome."

FreePress' Dumb Pipe Internet Commons Fantasy

FreePress and its allies continue to harass the FCC for not supporting its radical Luddite vision of rolling back the Internet to its pre-1994 days when it was Government-owned and operated, and used only by a small elite, before it was privatized by the Clinton-Gore Administration an became a worldwide phenomenon enjoyed by most everyone most everywhere.

FreePress, Public Knowledge and their allies continue to fantasize about turning the Internet into an information commons and a "dumb pipe" network.

FreePress criticized the FCC Chairman in TR Daily for his common sense mainstream view that broadband providers can and should emply usage-based pricing.

  • "While the rest of the world is moving away from this type of price gouging, it is puzzling why the FCC chairman would endorse a practice that in the long run will relegate the United States to an Internet backwater.”


FreePress Cries Wolf -- Yet Again

FreePress with its "all complaints all the time" approach to advocacy has been caught once again "crying wolf" when there was no real problem or threat.

A new FCC study that shows ISPs are effectively delivering on the broadband speeds they advertise, exposes FreePress for crying wolf -- yet again.

  • FreePress has to acknowledge Verizon's FIOs far exceeds advertised speeds, Comcast and Charter exceed advertised speeds, and other ISPs are more than close enough to advertised speeds to show that there is not a problem here for the FCC to be concerned about.

FreePress also continues to cry wolf about its spurious tethering" complaint against Verizon because users are prevented from unauthorized tethering of additional devices trying to bypass users' terms of service agreement.

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths