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FCC's In Search of Relevance in 706 Report

The FCC's latest arbitrary and capricious torturing of the facts, law, and common sense, in its most recent 706 report, makes it obvious that the FCC is "in search of relevance" and highly insecure about its authority and role in the broadband competition era.


  • Apparently, the FCC now sees competition-driven consumer benefits as a threat to the FCC's relevance, role and authority.
    • If the bipartisan policy/law of promoting competition succeeds, then the FCC by definition has less and less to do.
  • It is becoming increasingly apparent that many at the FCC don't want competition policy to succeed, because they vainly believe that the FCC can, and should, mandate social outcomes "better" than market forces and consumer choice can produce via competition.

Thus the pro-regulation forces at the FCC are increasingly and proactively seeking to discredit competition policy wherever possible by ignoring and torturing any facts, evidence, logic and common sense that do not forward their government-centric-view that "expert" FCC regulators invariably know best.

Consider the common thread between:

  • The FCC's nonsensically-twisted 706 report...
  • The FCC's blindfold tour of wireless competition in the wireless competition report... and
  • The FCC deeming itself unlimited new legal authority (over a majority of Congress' objections) in its December Open Internet Order?
    • The common thread here is an FCC desperately in search of relevance.

More specifically, the FCC's common approach to broadband deployment, wireless competition, and net neutrality is an "ends justify the means" approach -- the end is more permanent FCC-centric regulation and the means are whatever is necessary -- ignoring facts and evidence and/or flouting the law, the court and Congress -- in order to promote the survival of permanent FCC-centric regulation.


Given the FCC's recent actions, apparently it is OK for the FCC to:

  • Twist an obviously deregulatory provision of law, Section 706, beyond all recognition, in order to justify new price regulation...
  • Point to a broadband deployment "glass" that has been filled super-fast by competitive forces to be 95% full, and then exclaim horrors the broadband deployment glass is still 5% empty and its all the fault of the fast-filling market competition...
  • Ignore the overwhelming  facts and evidence that the wireless market is highly competitive, to justify new wireless price regulations like data roaming...
  • Preemptively mandate net neutrality regulations with miniscule evidence of the existence of a problem to be solved... and
  • Flout the D.C. Court of Appeals' Comcast decision that the FCC did not have statutory authority to regulate broadband as the FCC did in passing the Open Internet Order.


Ironically at core, the FCC's ends justify the means approach -- that ignores the rule of law, the Courts and Congress -- will likely accelerate the fate that the FCC desperately seeks to avoid.


  • If the FCC can't be trusted to respect the court, Congress and the public -- because it serially ignores the facts, the law, plain language and common sense in order to price regulate broadband competition -- how can the Courts, Congress and the public trust the FCC?


The ultimate fate of the FCC's search for relevance is in the hands of Congress and the Courts -- the entities that the FCC is most antagonizing with its lawless ends justify the means approach to broadband price regulation.