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Googleopoly conf. call Tues. July 17 11am EST on Google-DoubleClick merger

You're invited to participate in a conference call Tuesday July 17th at 11 am EST to hear a discussion of, and Q&A on, my new 35-page white paper, entitled:

I will explain how a Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) - DoubleClick merger will facilitate a de facto Internet information access monopoly, substantially lessen competition, and harm consumers, Internet content providers, and advertisers.

"Earmarked Airwaves" -- a 700 MHz auction "UNE-P" deja vu?

Kudos to Robert Hahn and Hal Singer for their outstanding op ed in the Washington Post "Earmarked Airwaves."

  • The editorial cogently presents the fork in the road that faces any major FCC decision: to follow law, which promotes competition and market-driven outcomes, or to freelance and try and "manage" competition and pick winners and losers in advance through "spectrum earmarking."
  • FCC history is littered with freelance "managed competition" failures, but two are particularly ignominious and highly relevant to this 700 MHz auction:
    • the illegal UNE-P scheme to rig telecom competitive outcomes following the 1996 Telecom Act; and
    • the Nextwave auction scandal that kept 30 MHz of prime spectrum fallow and tied up in court for almost a decade.

At its core a spectrum auction is the quintessential type of competition. The auction law's purpose in 1993 was to use market forces, competition, to allocate the public's asset most appropriately, largely because previous FCC spectrum allocation processes were so ineffective, unfair and prone to serious abuse and graft.

  • While no process is perfect, a clean competitive auction process has proven highly effective in rewarding US taxpayers and fostering a growing and highly competitive wireless marketplace that greatly benefits consumers.

This 700 MHz auction may be shaping up to be FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's legacy moment: will it be marked by promoting competition and market-based outcomes or will it be marked by standing on the auction scales to ensure the spectrum is "earmarked" to the predetermined, chosen "winner" -- in this case former Clinton-Gore FCC Chairman Reed Hundt's Frontline Wireless company.  

The privacy dark side of Google's antitrust win over Microsoft

 

Anyone interested in privacy issues, should be on a heightened sense of alert, because Google has just won a big victory in getting its "pryware" deeper into the average American's private life.

The media focused only on the antitrust angle in covering Google's antitrust complaint against Microsoft, for not making it easy enough in its new Vista operating system for users to select Google as its search engine of computers' INTERNAL hard drive.

Despite puffery over 700 MHz "3rd pipe" -- the market is solving it

You gotta love how the free market works when left alone by the Government!

Just as Frontline and others are demanding that the government has to intervene in the 700 MHz auction to "create" a third broadband pipe, the free market finds another way to solve these market problems without the Government.

One of the most significant developments in the spectrum world today was not the hot air at the Senate Commerce Committee hearing, but what happened in the free market -- DirecTV and Echostar signing agreements with Clearwire to sell their WiMax broadband service.

WSJ lead article highlights tradeoff of competition vs regulation

The cover story in the Wall Street Journal today "A fight over what you  can do with your cellphone; Handset makers push free features for which carriers pay for" was obviously perfectly-timed and placed by open access/net neutrality proponents trying to influence the Senate Commerce Committee hearing today on the FCC's 700 MHz auction.

  • The article offers a list of complaints for net neutrality supportive Senators to browbeat competitive wireless carriers with.

What the article ignores is the broader and essential context of this issue and debate.

Note to Google: Those in glass houses should not throw stones

Google, in making a high-profile complaint to the Justice Department and State Attorney Generals, about Microsoft's latest operating system Vista, appears to be naively unaware of its own antitrust vulnerabilities in its pending Google-DoubleClick antitrust review at the FTC.

It has always been unwise for those in "glass houses to throw stones."

FCC Commissioner McDowell debunks OECD broadband rankings

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell gave an outstanding speech today at the Broadband Policy Summit in which he did the single best job I have seen totally debunking the OECD rankings that purportedly indicate the US is falling behind on broadband.

Commissioner McDowell explains with example after example -- how skewed the OECD methodology is.

  • My personal favorite line in the speech was on how the OECD methodology is skewed against the US:
    • "...even if every existing broadband subscriber in America had a fiber-fed 100 mbps broadband connection, we would only rank 12th."

President candidate Huckabee blindsided on net neutrality

Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was reported on a blog to have "supported" net neutrality in a conference call with bloggers.

  • Don't believe this is his "official" policy position for a minute.
  • When conservative Mike Huckabee learns both sides of this issue and is not blindsided on a conference call on a subject he was unfamiliar with, and which was then grossly mispresented, I am convinced he will not "support" net neutrality.
      • No legitimate economic conservative like Mike Huckabee, who wants to radically downsize the Federal Government, will support a Big Government program to regulate the Internet for the first time.
      • He clearly was not at all familiar with the issue nor that nearly all the biggest funding supporters of net neutrality are liberal groups like Moveon.org who believe in digital socialism and radically reducing intellectual property rights on the web.
      • When Mike Huckabee's campaign staff research this issue, (we recommend they read the one pagers at the top right hand side of the www.NetCompetition.org website) there is no way he will support net neutrality as part of his official campaign.
      • It would be totally inconguous with his other limited Government views.
      • The last thing conservative Mr. Huckabee would want is to put the current "free and open" Internet under Government control.
      • Not gonna happen.

This is another in a long line of supposed "endorsements" of net neutrality that result from NN proponents consistent misrepresentation of the facts and gross use of unsubstantiated allegations of a problem.

Broadband data bills favor Big Government over competition

Senate Democrats are attempting to sneak through the back door what they cannot get through the front door of the "free and open"  policy process.

The Inouye "Broadband Data Improvement Act" is really a long term trojan horse for net neutrality and heavy regulation of broadband.

  • The bill requires that the FCC "establish a new definition of second generation broadband to reflect a data rate that is not less than the data rate required  to reliably transmit full-motion, high definition video." 
    • "Reliable" "high-definition" broadband is certainly not DSL or existing cable modems.

The clever ruse in this innocuous-sounding language is to redefine broadband competition as a total abject failure, and to declare broadband market failure, so the pro-regulatory types can regulate broadband becuase it is not competitive, or is at best a future duopoly.

SaveTheInternet effectively endorses "digital socialism"

SaveTheInternet and net neutrality proponents are losing their populist message discipline, and starting to show their true philosphical colors in blatantly calling for what is effectively "digital socialism."

Andrew Rasiej, the founder of The Personal Democracy Forum, challenged Presidential candidates to become the next "Tech President" in a recent blogpost. It's important to note that his views are mainstream in the net neutrality movement as evidenced by the hearty endorsement they received by SaveTheInternet and by Wired Magazine Blog.

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths