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Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2011-08-01 15:25
In the end, the U.S. Government is highly-likely to approve the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, despite the significant opposition, because of three over-riding realities: 1) market/financial realities, 2)DOJ legal/precedent realities, and 3) FCC public-interest realities.
I. Market Reality:
T-Mobile's leadership and owners have decided that they are unable and unwilling to invest what is necessary in order to compete going forward in the American 4G wireless market, and given that fundamental premise, the AT&T/T-Mobile merger is the optimal market outcome for T-Mobile's customers and for competition.
So the key baseline fact grounding the DOJ/FCC's decision processes here, is that T-Mobile's leaders/funders are effectively exiting this business one way or another long term via merger, sale or benign neglect.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Tue, 2011-07-26 17:44
Netflix continues to throw stones at the common economic practice of usage-based pricing, to which broadband carriers are naturally migrating, all while Netflix stands inside a glass house filled with mis-managed usage pricing practices.
Netflix as Stone Thrower:
In a concerted campaign for net neutrality regulation that would ban broadband usage caps or pricing, Netflix has generated a:
Netflix as Glass House:
FCC Denies the Effective Wireless Competition Staring it in the Face -- Internet Competition Series Part IIISubmitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2011-06-27 23:47
In another blow to its competition policy credibility and objectivity, the FCC's 308 page, 15th Wireless Competition Report, amazingly reached no conclusion about whether the wireless market was effectively competitive, despite overwhelming evidence of effective competition throughout the report and a dearth of evidence in the report of any discernible anti-competitive issues that would suggest the wireless market was somehow not effectively competitive.
If only the FCC absorbed the significance of the data compiled in their own report, the FCC would conclude that the wireless market was effectively competitive.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Tue, 2011-06-14 19:10
If reports are true that the FCC is planning on claiming in its upcoming wireless competition report that the FCC cannot conclude that the U.S. wireless market is effectively competitive, then the FCC is neither "data-driven" as it claims, nor in touch with market reality.
If the FCC is a wireless competition denier in the upcoming wireless competition report, despite the overwhelming factual evidence to the contrary, the FCC seriously risks its going-forward credibility with Congress, the Courts, industry and the public.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2011-06-06 16:00
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.
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."
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2011-05-26 09:51
The FCC's Open Internet Order is even more likely to be overturned in court than before because the FCC's extraordinary delay in publishing its December net neutrality regulations has oddly moved the FCC's April Data Roaming Order to the front of the line of cases challenging the FCC's overall legal authority to regulate broadband.
Consequently both cases are now more likely to be heard in the FCC-unfriendly D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Sun, 2011-05-15 19:48
Reset publish time If reports are true that the FCC doesn't plan to publish its Open Internet Order until August -- the critical trigger-date when the order can be challenged in court and when the Senate can start its process to vote on disapproval of the FCC order -- it sure looks like the FCC is gaming the net neutrality rule making process... again.
It appears the cynical common thread of the FCC's net neutrality rule making is to officially act only when Congress is maximally focused elsewhere and the media and public are on vacation or focused elsewhere.
late 2010 Process Gamed: Last November 15th, thirteen months after originally announcing the Open Internet rules, the FCC Chairman spoke to his fellow state regulators at NARUC on the FCC's agenda ahead, and made no mention of an imminent upcoming net neutrality order or that the issue was urgent. Just three days later, and conveniently just before the Thanksgiving recess/vacation, the FCC announced the FCC would vote on the order in December. The FCC then claimed it was so urgent to decide the issue before Christmas that everyone's Holiday plans had to be scrapped.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2011-03-30 10:18
Why is there a selective political fixation on AT&T-T-Mobile's ~43% combined market share when so many related markets are dramatically more concentrated, less competitive, or even monopolized?
When the FCC does the "data-driven analysis" that it claims to value, it will discover a blatant competition double standard where broadband critics gerrymander and torture broadband market share statistics to raise the specter of a broadband "opoly" -- to justify broadband regulation.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Mon, 2011-03-14 16:35
It will be surprising if the Republican FCC Commissioners and a bipartisan majority of Congress do not oppose the FCC's unwarranted war on wireless competition policy.
The linchpin of the FCC's de-competition policy to restore the FCC to its pre-1996 monopoly regulation glory days, and to put the FCC in more control of the communications sector going forward, is to politically define away the existence of "effective competition," in order to justify FCC regulation of the mobile Internet.
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2011-01-20 17:54
Verizon is highly likely to win its appeal of the FCC's December Open Internet order, because the FCC's order is likely to deeply and broadly offend the legal sensibilities of the Appeals Court, just like the FCC offended the DC Appeals Court's sensibilities when it punished Comcast for violating a regulation that did not exist.
To understand the most likely outcome here, it is critical to cut through the FCC's claims, assertions, and arguments, and focus on the big picture context of what the FCC is actually doing in this Open Internet Order, i.e. what is the effect of the FCC's decision and process on the rule of law. That is what matters most to the Court.