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Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2015-10-23 12:51
There are troubling signals that the FCC is gearing up to further increase regulation of cable -- on top of the extra-legal new utility regulation the FCC already did in its 2015 Open Internet Order.
What is profoundly troubling is the abject illegitimacy of their premise for more regulation of cable, i.e. the FCC’s new arbitrary and capricious definition of broadband that illegitimately redefined long-recognized, strong broadband competition -- out of existence with the stroke of a pen.
So what are the signals of more cable regulation? Two speeches from the FCC Chairman, one from the FCC General Counsel, another from the DOJ Antitrust Chief, a variety of Hill and edge-industry entreaties to regulate cable more via new MVPD or ALLVID regulatory proceedings, (but of course without regulating favored edge providers), and an explosion of new opposition to the proposed Charter-Time-Warner merger (by the exact same cast of characters whose opposition doomed the Comcast-Time-Warner merger).
This broad simultaneous level of focused regulatory chatter and organized activity is not coincidental, but highly-orchestrated and abjectly illegitimate.
Why is more cable regulation abjectly illegitimate?
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2015-09-30 15:24
To try to justify mandating Title II utility regulation of broadband and the blocking of the Comcast-Time Warner acquisition, the Administration and FCC had to gerrymander broadband definitions to reach their political goal that wireless broadband service not be considered an official competitor to wireline broadband service.
Never mind the obvious: that the nearly three quarters of Americans who use a smartphone know that one can functionally do most everything one wants on a mobile smartphone/tablet/laptop that one can do on a wireline connection. Also never mind: tens of millions of Americans who use only wireless broadband for all their Internet needs.
To try to justify preempting State limitations of gigabit muni-broadband build-outs and its cheerleading for Government Owned Networks (GON) to politically and economically devalue commercial broadband competition, the government had to ensure that the wireless industry could not create four more very-high-speed competitors to wireline cable and telco broadband providers.
It did so by unilaterally changing Federal spectrum policy to starve and limit the amount of licensed and unlicensed spectrum available to wireless users long-term, because for smartphone users -- spectrum is speed. Limit spectrum, limit speed, to maintain the charade that wireless broadband does not compete with wireline broadband.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2015-09-25 10:03
It is timely to fact check the Federal Government’s storyline that broadband is a ‘core utility,’ given a new White House report that directs municipalities that broadband is a “core utility… like water, sewer and electricity;” and given that a senior FCC official recently encouraged local municipalities at the NATOA conference to build their own local broadband infrastructure with the FCC’s backing now that the FCC has claimed the legal authority to preempt State laws limiting municipal broadband.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2015-09-23 11:28
The juxtaposition of Google tacitly accusing the EU with “digital protectionism” and “discrimination” as the EU’s Digital Chief, Günther Oettinger, visits D.C. and Silicon Valley, while the Google-created Internet Association this week asks for U.S. protection from ISP “discrimination” in an appeals court brief in support of the FCC’s Open Internet order – exposes exceptional hypocrisy.
Antitrust and privacy regulators around the world weren’t born yesterday. They know Google and its online platform allies want it both ways – manipulating policy to advantage them and disadvantage their potential competitors.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2015-09-18 11:08
How many times is it “reasonable” for any agency to assert that their core legal arguments are “reasonable” before they sound unreasonable? A few? Several? A dozen?
Of the 19 core statutory arguments in the summary defense of the FCC’s Open Internet order, TWELVE defend the order by declaring the FCC’s legal judgment was “reasonable.”
When arguing in court that the FCC has the statutory authority to common-carrier-regulate the Internet for the first time, shouldn’t the FCC be able to declare at least once in their summary defense: “the law says,” “precedent supports,” or at least “Congress intended?”
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2015-09-17 12:10
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2015-09-14 18:15
The FCC’s latest legal brief defending its Open Internet Order, will represent the FCC’s “strongest possible” legal arguments for its Title II net neutrality case – a vainglorious legal fortress.
In reality, the FCC’s legal case is closer to a magnificent beach sandcastle.
Its downfall will be that its case is sand, on top of a sand foundation -- that won’t be able to weather the elements intact.
Consider some of the elements the FCC’s sandcastle legal case must withstand.
The term “net neutrality,” or direct Congressional authority to mandate the FCC’s concept of “net neutrality,” is not found in law.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2015-08-03 13:46
Everyone should have the freedom to innovate and compete in America, the land of opportunity.
There should be no innovation or competition double standard where government politically picks winners and losers by rigging competition via denying some companies the freedom to innovate and compete spectrally while granting it to their competitors.
With radio spectrum, America has created different but symbiotic spectrum models. One is licensed spectrum where spectrum for exclusive use is auctioned to the highest bidder. The other is unlicensed spectrum where anyone is free to share the same spectrum if they play nice and do not interfere with other spectrum sharers’ use. These models have never been either/or; they have always been free and open to use separately or together to maximize innovative, commercial, and competitive opportunity.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2015-07-29 17:49
Google’s market capitalization has approached a half trillion dollars as its stock hit an all time high, because of a positive quarterly profit surprise and because Google’s new CFO signaled that “Google cost discipline” may no longer be an investment oxymoron.
The market appears to be ignoring that Google’s legal status as a corporation changed in 2Q15 to an FCC Title II regulated common carrier that is subject to very strict and preemptive behavioral non-discrimination requirements to mitigate potential abuse of market power on Google’s network -- per the FCC’s new Open Internet Order which reclassified Internet infrastructure as Title II common carriage regulated to enforce strict net neutrality.
This analysis of Google’s many new common carrier liabilities has four parts: I) the investment and regulatory relevance of Google being a common carrier; II) the evidence of Google being a major Internet access player via the surprising size of its Internet infrastructure, communications, traffic carriage, and market power; III) a listing and explanation of Google’s many new FCC common carrier liabilities, including nine potential net neutrality violations, three privacy, and three transparency; and IV) a conclusion about what this could mean for Google and its valuation going forward.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2015-07-20 19:01
Imagine if one company out of the Fortune 500, #474 with ~$6b in revenues, and 2,000 employees, representing about .03% of U.S. GDP, and .06% of the population, comprised 36% of all the vehicle traffic going in one direction on our interstate highway system on any given day.
Now imagine that one company’s lobbying was instrumental in convincing the government to grant that company’s business model the right to commercially use the highway system forever for free, by not ever having to pay a standard gas tax or private highway tolls, like other businesses or people do to pay for the relative wear and tear that their usage causes on the highway systems.
Imagine further that the government justified this special one-way highway traffic treatment, by saying it would be better and fairer for everyone if the companies that use and profit most from using the most one direction of the highway system never had to pay for that delivery benefit – that consumers should subsidize their commercial use and profits in “perpetuity.”
The company’s situation you just imagined is Netflix’. The government agency is the FCC. And the perverse government arrangement is the FCC’s mandate of a permanent zero price for all Internet downstream traffic.