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The FCC’s IP Transition: Two Key Perspectives

Kudos are due to FCC Chairman Wheeler for quickly announcing that “it is time to act with dispatch” on the IP transition, and putting that into swift action.

As the FCC refocuses on the IP transition, some important perspective is warranted.

First, the consumer-driven transition to IP in the marketplace is already three quarters complete.

America's private video market success -- My Daily Caller Op-ed

Please see my latest Daily Caller op-ed: "America's private video market success" here.

  • It debunks Free Press' diatribe against cable to try and promote net neutrality regulation and a ban on usage-based broadband pricing.
  • It is Part 16 of my broadband Internet pricing freedom research series.  

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Broadband Internet Pricing Freedom Research Series

Part 1:    Netflix' Glass House Temper Tantrum Over Broadband Usage Fees

Don't miss Litan-Singer book: The Need for Speed

Kudos to Robert Litan and Hal Singer for the clarity-of-thought and free market policy wisdom in their new book: “The Need for Speed: A New Framework for Telecommunications Policy for the 21st Century.” Here is the link to the book at Amazon.

Why Europe is Falling Behind America in Broadband -- Daily Caller Op-ed -- Part 3 Modernization Consensus Series

Please see my Daily Caller op-ed "Why Europe is Falling Behind America in Broadband" -- here.

  • It's Part 3 of Modernization Consensus Series.

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Modernization Consensus Series

(Note: This research series previews strategic developments that could encourage consensus to modernize obsolete communications law.)

Top Ten Flaws in FCC’s AT&T/T-Mobile Competition Analysis

The unprecedented release of a FCC draft staff analysis opposing the the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile transaction could backfire legally, undermining its intent to backstop the DOJ's pending lawsuit against the merger.

See my Forbes Tech Capitalist post here on the "Top Ten Flaws in the FCC's AT&T/T-Mobile Competition Analysis."

 

The FCC's public wireless network blocks lawful Internet traffic

According to the FCC's own hard-to-find disclosure, the FCC does not operate its own broadband "public use wireless 'Hotspot' network" according to the FCC's Open Internet regulations that it mandated for most everyone else.

 

  • Without this link to the policy, one would have to stumble upon the oblique reference to the 4-27-11 "VPAAC Hotspot Network" reference in the FCC newsroom, then click on "VPAAC Hotspot Network" and then click on the button "Expand," then go to the very end of the document, to find the FCC's terms-of-use policy for its public broadband network.

 

Ironically, the FCC's public wireless network terms-of-use policy #3 says: the FCC's broadband network "will block all inbound Internet traffic to minimize any negative impact" on the network user.

 

  • This blocking of Internet traffic is in stark contrast to the FCC's Open Internet Order, which essentially defined Internet "openness" throughout the order as not blocking lawful Internet traffic requested by a user.

 

The FCC's own public network policy is also not transparent like it expects most every other broadband provider of Internet access service to be.

 

Rural Cellular’s Dilemma: Can’t Win the Future, Anchored to the Past

 

The Rural Cellular Association’s opposition to the AT&T/T-Mobile acquisition puts a spotlight on the un-sustainability of the analog rural cellular model that is on the wrong side of broadband change.

 

  • The clear but unspoken subtext of the RCA’s opposition is their recognition that their current subsidized model of rural cellular providers is fundamentally ill-equipped for the competitive broadband era.
  • Simply, the RCA is quixotically trying to drag the anchor of an inefficiently and unsustainably subsidized analog business model into the efficient and competitive broadband Internet future – a recipe for losing the future.

 

Importantly, most of the RCA’s problems exist completely separate from this transaction.

 

The Dangers of Over-Regulating Competition

As a regular reader of Steve Pearlstein's Washington Post's business column, I was dismayed at the consistent pro-regulation frame of Sunday's piece on the AT&T-T-Mobile acquisition: "The Revenge of the Baby Bells."

The hallmark of longstanding bipartisan competition policy has been that if market players have the freedom to succeed or fail at differentiating, innovating and investing to meet consumers' rapidly evolving needs, market forces can maximize consumer welfare much better than FCC regulators can.

 

  • Current fierce communications sector competition on multiple levels, vibrant innovation and massive private sector investment have proven Congress' wisdom in instituting competition policy to replace economic regulation as the best framework to maximize consumer welfare in communications.
  • Without the 1996 Telecom Act replacing economic regulation with competition policy, the Internet would be a fraction of the phenomenon it it today.

 

Thus it is dismaying that Mr. Pearlstein crafted a false choice in his column: "...stick with the competitive, lightly-regulated model and... block a merger... or it could acknowledge... the "telephone" market is a natural oligopoly... and... requires much stronger government regulation."

 

Denying Competitive Substitution is Weakest Link of FCC's De-Competition Policy

In order to justify broadband price regulation in the Open Internet and Data Roaming orders, the FCC and FreePress must continue to undermine Congress' competition policy by denying the increasingly obvious and incontrovertible facts that users competitively substitute broadband services between various broadband technologies like copper networks/DSL, cable modems, fiber, WiFi/WiMax, wireless broadband, and satellite.

 

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:

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    Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths