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Competition

600MHz Market Auction or FCC Three-Ring-Circus?

It appears the FCC may be betting again that it is smarter than everyone else in the marketplace. Time will tell.

From the various reports of briefings about the FCC’s planned rules for the 600 MHz incentive auction, two things appear clear. First, the FCC doesn’t trust market forces. And second, the FCC doesn’t want the highest bidders to win the spectrum.

Apparently, the FCC is trying to produce something for everyone in this now circus-like auction process – a proverbial, dazzling three-ring-circus of political compromises that catch and keep different people’s attention.

At core, the FCC reportedly is adding a third ring to the already-complex, unprecedented, two-ring circus of the incentive auction. The first ring is the incentive reverse auction of broadcasters bidding for what they must earn in order to sell their spectrum, and the second ring is what wireless companies will then pay to own the broadcasters’ spectrum.

The FCC wants to add a third ring to this growing auction spectacle. Reportedly the FCC is going to effectively create yet a third auction process that would commence when certain, not-yet-known auction revenue targets are met in the auction. Below those FCC-determined-revenue-targets anyone can bid. Above those targets, the largest potential bidders’ opportunities to bid further would be dramatically restricted.

600MHz Market Auction or FCC Three-Ring-Circus?

It appears the FCC may be betting again that it is smarter than everyone else in the marketplace. Time will tell.

From the various reports of briefings about the FCC’s planned rules for the 600 MHz incentive auction, two things appear clear. First, the FCC doesn’t trust market forces. And second, the FCC doesn’t want the highest bidders to win the spectrum.

Apparently, the FCC is trying to produce something for everyone in this now circus-like auction process – a proverbial, dazzling three-ring-circus of political compromises that catch and keep different people’s attention.

At core, the FCC reportedly is adding a third ring to the already-complex, unprecedented, two-ring circus of the incentive auction. The first ring is the incentive reverse auction of broadcasters bidding for what they must earn in order to sell their spectrum, and the second ring is what wireless companies will then pay to own the broadcasters’ spectrum.

The FCC wants to add a third ring to this growing auction spectacle. Reportedly the FCC is going to effectively create yet a third auction process that would commence when certain, not-yet-known auction revenue targets are met in the auction. Below those FCC-determined-revenue-targets anyone can bid. Above those targets, the largest potential bidders’ opportunities to bid further would be dramatically restricted.

Online Video Competition’s Tipping Point Has Tipped – My Daily Caller Op-ed

Please don’t miss my new Daily Caller op-ed: “Online Video Competition’s Tipping Point Has Tipped.”

It pulls together how regulatory developments, much faster wireless networks, and several new entrants with deep pockets are converging to create a tipping point for over-the-top, online video competition.

It is Part 25 of my Broadband Internet Pricing Freedom series. 

 

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Broadband Internet Pricing Freedom Series

Part 1: Netflix' Glass House Temper Tantrum Over Broadband Usage Fees [7-26-11]

How to Modernize Communications Law for American Consumers

Please don’t miss my new white paper that I will present Friday at a NetCompetition Capitol Hill event with the following well-known experts responding: Gene Kimmelman of Public Knowledge; Jeff Eisenach of the American Enterprise Institute; Mark Cooper of the Consumer Federation of America; and Hal Singer of the Progressive Policy Institute. (Event details are below for anyone who wishes to attend.)

The white paper -- “Thinking and Starting Anew: Modernizing Communications Law for American Consumers” -- has a simple but critically important premise: that consumers and not technology should be the organizing principle of any update of the Communications Act  

I believe you will find the two contrasting graphics particularly helpful:

The Growing EC-Google Settlement Scandal – An Open Letter to European Commissioners

Dear European Commission Official,

The more the European Commission learns about the proposed EC-Google competition settlement, the less sense it makes, and the more scandalous it appears.  

Never has the European Commission been presented with such a controversial, perverse, and unreasonable competition settlement to approve. This is not how the EC’s law enforcement process is supposed to work.

Everyone knows that a worthy settlement is a true compromise, where most parties gain something they need, and on balance support it as a reasonable net gain from the status quo. It is telling that virtually no one but Google is supporting this settlement outcome publicly or coming to Google’s defense. That fact should scream that this proposed settlement is not what it is represented to be.  

Sadly, this particular process and settlement has devolved into an indefensible and perverse spectacle that has brought unwelcome attention and ridicule to a critical EC law enforcement process that must be beyond reproach.

The reason the European Commission has yet to disapprove a DGComp proposed settlement, is that the European Commission has never been presented with a toxic settlement that is so perversely: anti-consumer; un-European; worse than the status quo; pro-dominance; tolerant of dominance abuses; and ineffective in achieving its main priority – “quick resolution.”

U.S. Wireless Competition Criticism “Believe it or not!”

With due credit to "Ripley's Believe it or Not!®," so much odd and bizarre is happening in Washington in the "name" of "U.S. wireless competition criticism” that the topic calls for its own collection of: "Believe it or Not!®" oddities.

Softbank’s CEO Masayoshi Son, who bought Sprint for $21b in 2013 with public plans “to become the #1 company in the world,” tells U.S. regulators just eight months after he bought Sprint, that Softbank-Sprint cannot compete with either of America’s #1 and #2 wireless providers, Verizon and AT&T, unless Softbank can buy America’s #4 wireless provider -- T-Mobile! 

FCC’s Open Internet Order Do-over – Key Going Forward Takeaways

As the dust has settled from the D.C. Circuit’s January 14thdecision to vacate and remand the FCC Open Internet Order for another try, and from FCC Chairman Wheeler’s February 19thstatement accepting the court’s invitation to propose open Internet rules that could pass court muster, what does it all this mean going forward?

First, we need to glean the key separate baseline takeaways from what the court ruled and also what Chairman Wheeler initially decided. Then we need to put them together to glean what the big going-forward takeaways are.

Court Decision Takeaways

The Narrowing Net Neutrality Dispute – My Daily Caller Op-ed

Please see my latest Daily Caller op-ed: “The Narrowing Net Neutrality Dispute.”

  • It puts the recent positive Netflix-Comcast IP interconnection agreement into the broader net neutrality context.

It is Part 24 of my Broadband Internet Pricing Freedom Series.  

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Broadband Internet Pricing Freedom Series

Part 1: Netflix' Glass House Temper Tantrum Over Broadband Usage Fees [7-26-11]

Part 2: Netflix' Uneconomics [9-6-11]

Comcast’s Merger in Perspective – My Daily Caller Op-ed

Anyone interested in some perspective on the over-the-top criticisms of the pending Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, please read my latest Daily Caller op-ed: “Comcast’s Merger in Perspective.”  

Don’t Miss Great AEI Report on EU Lagging US in Broadband

Anyone interested in broadband policy should not miss the excellent new research of Roslyn Layton, an AEI Internet economist, who has studied European broadband progress as compared to America’s.

Let me flag two big research takeaways that should not be missed.

  • “… per capita [broadband] investment in the U.S. is twice that of Europe, and the gap is growing.”
  • Then there is the claim that Americans pay more for broadband than Europeans. As I point out in my report, critics forget to include the impact of value added taxes (as high as 27% in some countries) and compulsory media license fees (adding hundreds of dollars per year to the cost of every broadband subscription). When accounting for these real differences, Americans pay less for broadband.”

These findings affirm the wisdom of America’s market-led broadband policy that encourages facilities-based broadband competition over the EU’s lagging, common carrier, monopoly-unbundling, approach to broadband.   

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths