2014 January

CBIT Statement on FCC Action on IP-Transition

Posted by | Broadband Internet | No Comments

Washington, January 30, 2013The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today launched a proceeding to conduct trials for the transition of the plain old telephone network to all Internet Protocol (IP) networks, known as the IP-transition. The following is a statement by Fred Campbell, Executive Director of the Center for Boundless Innovation in Technology (CBIT):

“CBIT applauds the FCC’s decision to move forward on IP-transition trials. Consumers are abandoning plain old telephone service in droves for the superior functionality provided by high-speed Internet connections. But outdated regulations are discouraging investment in new infrastructure by diverting funds to maintain the aging telephone network. These trials will examine how communications policies must change to keep up with ongoing consumer demand.

The trials are a critical first step, but today’s action is only the end of the beginning. The faster the IP-transition is completed, the faster we will see new, competitive investment in modern communications infrastructure and new competitive choices for millions of Americans.”

The Center for Boundless Innovation in Technology (CBIT) advocates for market oriented government policies to advance innovation in technology. Additional information, blog posts and commentary about CBIT can be found on the CBIT website, cbit.org.

FCC Chairman Wheeler Shows Uncommon Wisdom, Chooses Common Law Approach to Internet Oversight

Posted by | Broadband Internet | 2 Comments

The Internet is abuzz with news that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler favors a case-by-case approach to addressing Internet competition issues. It is the wisest course, and perhaps the most courageous. Some on the right will say he is going too far, and some on the left will say he isn’t going far enough. That is one reason Wheeler’s approach should be commended. Staunch disagreements about net neutrality and other Internet governance issues reflect the uncertainty inherent in a dynamic market.

Chairman Wheeler’s comments this week echoed Socrates (“I’m not smart enough to know what comes next [in innovation]”) and, to my surprise, Virginia Postrel (the Chairman favors addressing Internet issues “in a dynamic rather than a static way”). He recognizes that, in a two-sided market, there is no reason to assume that ISPs will necessarily have the ability to charge content providers rather than the other way around. The potential for strategic behavior on the Internet today is radically different than in the dial-up Internet era, and the Chairman appears prepared to consider those differences in his approach to communications regulation. Read More

Maximizing the Success of the Incentive Auction

Posted by | Public Safety, Wireless | 2 Comments

I prepared a report for the Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition and Consumer Electronics Association entitled Maximizing the Success of the Incentive Auction, which was filed at the Federal Communications Commission on November 4, 2013. The executive summary is reprinted below and the full paper can be viewed here. Read More

Supreme Court Opinion in Arlington Clarified FCC Ancillary Authority Is Limited by Chevron

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Regulatory State | No Comments

In City of Arlington v. FCC, 133 S.Ct. 1863 (2013), the Supreme Court held that administrative agencies are entitled to Chevron deference when they interpret the scope of their statutory authority (or “jurisdiction”). As a practical matter, this holding is unlikely to have a substantial impact on most agencies, because it is consistent with current practice in most federal courts of appeal. It has particular relevance for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), however, which had relied on its ancillary jurisdiction to extend traditional common carrier regulations to the Internet. To the extent there was any lingering doubt, City of Arlington clarified that the FCC cannot rely on ancillary jurisdiction (also known as ancillary authority) to impose regulations that would (1) exceed the statutory boundaries of the Communications Act or (2) contradict a specific provision within the Act.

The Supreme Court’s clarification in Arlington dictated the DC Circuit’s decision vacating the net neutrality anti-blocking and anti-discrimination rules earlier this week. (See Verizon v. FCC, No. 11-1355 (DC Cir. 2014)) The broadband access provided by Internet service providers (ISPs) is classified as an “information service” under the Communications Act, and the Act expressly prohibits the FCC from regulating information service providers (e.g., ISPs) as common carriers. The court found that the FCC lacked authority to enact the anti-blocking and anti-discrimination rules, because they constituted traditional common carrier requirements and thus contravened a statutory mandate. Read More

FCC Should Pause Before Pushing the Title II Button

Posted by | Broadband Internet | 5 Comments

It’s The Day After the court ruled that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) cannot treat Internet service providers (ISPs) as common carriers and the Internet is still working. The largest ISPs have already committed to maintaining an open Internet despite the court’s ruling, and there is no reason to believe that will change any time soon. The Internet is not – I repeat, is not – in imminent danger. It is safe to leave the bomb shelter.

Don’t believe the doomsayers who claim the ruling leaves consumers with no protection from ISPs. They are wrong. In the unlikely event that Internet openness is seriously threatened, the government retains authority to intervene. Although the FCC cannot impose common carrier regulations on ISPs, the court held that the FCC has “authority to promote broadband deployment by regulating how broadband providers treat edge providers.” And, to the extent the FCC lacks authority to prevent anticompetitive, deceptive, or unfair practices by ISPs, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has such authority. Read More

Center for Boundless Innovation in Technology Launches to Advance Innovation and Excellence in Technology

Posted by | Media | No Comments
For Immediate Release
January 14, 2014
Contact: Fred Campbell
Ph. (703) 470-4145
Email: fcampbell@cbit.org

Center for Boundless Innovation in Technology Launches to Advance Innovation and Excellence in Technology

Washington, D.C., January 14, 2013 – Today, Fred Campbell, formerly Chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau at the FCC and a noted communications technology expert, launched the Center for Boundless Innovation in Technology (CBIT), a new policy organization focused on advocating for market oriented government policies to advance innovation in technology. Campbell, past founder of the Communications Liberty and Innovation Project, is also the Executive Director of CBIT.

According to Campbell, CBIT’s mission is to support the ingenuity and creative spirit of America’s high-tech entrepreneurs through market-oriented government policies in four key areas:

  • Limiting government control of the Internet
  • Promoting private investment in high-tech infrastructure and technologies
  • Modernizing our approach to spectrum allocation and assignment
  • Protecting our Constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and privacy on the Internet

Read More