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Deregulation

What to Expect from a Trump FCC

In the wake of a generally-unexpected election outcome, most everyone in the Internet space is grasping to understand the implications of an all Republican-led government and a Trump FCC, on their key issues. 

The purpose of this analysis is to spotlight and explain the most predictable changes to expect. By design, it is not comprehensive, because some issues are naturally less predictable than others.

To be most accurate, this analysis will be high-level and strategic, not detailed and tactical, because the “what” and the “why” here are more predictable at this early stage than the specific “how,” “when,” and “who” -- for obvious practical reasons.

I. Why are some issues very predictable at this early stage?

First, the simple, hiding-in-plain-sight, premise here, is the process/values clarity and predictability that naturally flow from unified one-party control of the levers of government.

This is the fourth time in eighteen years there will be unified one-party control of government: the Democrats had it 1993-94 and 2009-10; and Republicans had it 2003-06 and now in 2017-18. History confirms the high-level strategic predictability of one-party control of the levers of government.

Why the FCC Approach to Special Access Regulation Is All Wrong

The FCC’s approach to special access is all wrong because they should be doing the exact opposite of what they are doing. The FCC should be price de-regulating special access, not signaling increased micro-regulation of special access rate terms and conditions.

Like an ostrich, the FCC has its head hidden in the sand on its approach to special access regulation, hoping that no one notices that the rest of its body is fully exposed.   

If the FCC can convince everyone to join them and put their heads in the sand too, and to look at special access regulation in the dark of self-defined isolation, and ignore the broader context of the competitive U.S. communications sector visible all around them, the FCC has a reasonable chance of sounding reasonable.

However, if anyone has their head out of the FCC’s regulatory sandpit and looks around for a moment at special access regulation in the broader context of the real world, more special access regulation looks ridiculous, just like the exposed back-end of an ostrich does when it hides its head in the sand.  

Perspective on the FCC’s Special Access Delay of its IP Transition – Part 7 Special Access Series

FCC staff just muffed an easy opportunity to advance the IP transition on the FCC’s timetable in the National Broadband Plan.

Apparently FCC staff missed the big picture here.

1. On November 25th, AT&T proposed a baby step forward in the IP Transition.

AT&T did not propose any change in special access rates. AT&T simply proposed that its special access contract term-lengths, synch up with the FCC’s own goals for when the IP transition should be complete.

Instead of promoting investment certainty -- by respecting its own IP transition timetable that the private sector has come to rely on for infrastructure investment planning -- FCC staff announced an unnecessary five-month investigative delay.  

Why Chairmen Upton/Walden Plan a Communications Act Update – Daily Caller Op-ed

Please don’t miss my latest Daily Caller op-ed “Why Chairmen Upton/Walden Plan a Communications Act Update” – here.

The op-ed provides a foundational answer to both:

  • Chairman Upton/Walden’s organizing question: “…is this working for today’s communications marketplace?” and
  • Representative Dingell’s core question: What is the need for change?

This is Part 21 of my Obsolete Communications Law Series.

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FYI: See additional background below: two key PowerPoint presentations & my Obsolete Communications Law Series.

A Modern Vision for the FCC – New White Paper – Part 7 Modernization Consensus Series

Please don’t miss my new white paper:  A Modern Vision for the FCC: How the FCC Can Modernize its Policy Approaches for the 21st Century (here/PDF).

  • It is the first comprehensive review of FCC policy and vision through the lens of what is modern vs. what is nostalgist.
  • Please don’t miss the first slide, a chart that concisely defines modern vs. nostalgist FCC visions.
  • My recommendation -- A Modern FCC Policy Agenda -- is near the end of this post.    

NetCompetition Capitol Hill Event:

5 BIG Implications from Court Signals on Net Neutrality – A Special Report -- Part 34 FCC Open Internet Order Series

Economic rationality, competition, and broadband pricing freedom are the big winners, and common carrier-like net neutrality was the big loser, if the Appeals Court panel decides Verizon v. FCC as expected.

Monday’s intense tag-team grilling of the FCC’s lawyer by Judges Tatel and Silberman left most observers thinking the Court will decide it is illegal for the FCC to impose common-carrier-like regulation on broadband providers -- regardless of what else they decide.  

Don't Miss FSF's Book: Communications law and Policy in the Digital Age

For those who have been following my Obsolete Communications Law Series, and those interested in an outstanding and more in-depth free-market analysis of the many communications matters that demand modernization for the digital age, please don't miss: Communications Law and Policy in the Digital Age -- The Next Five Years, edited by Randy May of the Free State Foundation.

  • One can get it on Amazon here.

The important work and views of Randy May, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Seth Cooper, Christopher Yoo, James Speta, Michelle Connolly, Daniel Lyons, Ellen Goodman, and Bruce Owen are a must read for those who want to learn how we can vastly improve current obsolete and increasingly dysfunctional communications law and policy in the United States.

Kudos for an important book well done!


Why the 1996 Telecom Act's Unbundling Model is Obsolete -- My Daily Caller Op-ed

Please see my new Daily Caller Op-ed: "Why the 1996 Telecom Act's Unbundling Model is Obsolete" -- here.

  • This is part 14 of my Obsolete Communications Law research series.

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Obsolete Communications Law research series:

Part 1: "Obsolete communications law stifles innovation, harms consumers"

The FCC's 1887 Railroad Regulation Mindset -- My Daily Caller Op-ed

Please see my latest Daily Caller op-ed: "The FCC's 1887 Railroad Regulation Mindset" here. This piece is part 10 of my Obsolete Communications Law research series.

*****

Obsolete Communications Law Op-ed Series:

Part 1: "Obsolete communications law stifles innovation, harms consumers"

FCC Showcases Its Growing Obsolescence -- My Daily Caller Op-ed

Please see my latest Daily Caller op-ed: "The FCC Showcases its Growing Obsolescence" here. This piece is part 9 of my Obsolete Communications Law research series.

*****

Obsolete Communications Law Op-ed Series:

Part 1: "Obsolete communications law stifles innovation, harms consumers"

Part 2: "The FCC's Public Interest Test Problem"

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths