2014 November

Following FCC Precedent Isn’t Analogous to Statutory Reclassification Under Title II

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Wireless | No Comments

I’m still waiting for my compatriot, Harold Feld, to address how the FCC should reconcile its conclusion that forbearance is never warranted for terminating monopolies with its conclusion the same year that Internet service providers are terminating monopolists with respect to Internet content providers. In the meantime, he published a blog analogizing the FCC’s decisions in its automatic roaming orders to reclassifying broadband as a Title II service while forbearing from price regulation.

While analogies are often useful, this one is flatly misleading. The FCC’s automatic roaming orders merely followed existing precedent, both with respect to their decisions regarding “classification” and their decisions regarding the application of price regulations under Title II. They didn’t classify (or reclassify) anything in the first instance or depart from the FCC’s previous approach to regulating mobile voice services under Title II or its general approach to broadband services under Titles I and III. (I know, because the FCC’s first automatic roaming order was decided while I was Wireless Bureau Chief.) Read More

President Obama’s Plan to Impose Title II Regulations on the Internet Promises More Economic Despair

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Net Neutrality Series | No Comments

A version of this post was previously published by 4G Trends.

It’s no mystery why the Democratic Party lost big in this year’s election: “The party of economic despair will always lose.” President Obama has presided over six years of lackluster economic growth. “Progressive Democratic policies on Keystone, power-plant closures and oils exports crushed younger, unionized job seekers.”

This week, the President doubled down on his bad economic policies when he announced his plan to impose net neutrality through ‘Title II’ price regulation of Internet broadband providers — a plan that will discourage investment in new communications infrastructure and threaten our economic recovery.

Over the last three years, America’s broadband providers have been the brightest source of economic hope during a particularly gloomy recession.

The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) ranks AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast among the top ten U.S. “investment heroes” — the companies who are investing the most capital in the United States. These three companies alone have invested nearly $125 billion in the U.S. over the last three years, with AT&T and Verizon topping the list on an annual basis.

Obama’s response to their investments in America’s long-term future? A government plan that would take the value of their investments and gift it to his allies in Silicon Valley — companies that haven’t been willing to make the same level of investment on American soil. Read More

What Does the Shift Toward Online Video Streaming Mean for Regulatory Policy?

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Video | No Comments

A flurry of announcements that HBO, CBS, and Lionsgate and Tribeca Enterprises will stream video content online has prompted plenty of speculation about its potential success or impending failure. Some claim it proves that all consumers want to purchase video programming on an ‘à la carte’ basis. Others claim that HBO’s online service is “doomed before it even starts.”

I’m inclined to side with Representative Bobby Rush, who is optimistic that the trend will positively impact the video marketplace while remaining mindful that it’s too soon to predict the ultimate fate of à la carte video streaming.

No matter how these services fare among consumers, however, the fact that a cable channel (HBO), a broadcast network (CBS), and a major movie studio (Lionsgate) have all chosen to experiment with a new distribution model offers valuable insight to policymakers. Read More

CBIT Statement on President Obama’s Plan to Regulate the Internet

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Statement | No Comments

This morning, President Obama urged the Federal Communications Commission to impose common carrier regulation on the Internet using Title II of the Communications Act. CBIT’s Director, Fred Campbell, responded as follows:

“Imposing Title II regulations on the Internet would discourage investment in new communications infrastructure and threaten our economic recovery. Investment in the Internet is flourishing under the current light-touch regulatory approach using the FCC’s section 706 authority, an approach that was pioneered in the Clinton-era and approved by Federal courts earlier this year. The President’s plan would reject the legal roadmap using section 706 that was approved by the courts in favor of an untested, heavy-handed approach originally designed for the analog telephone system. Applying Title II to the Internet would create legal uncertainty at home and encourage the efforts of totalitarian regimes abroad to tighten their control over the Internet — the 21st Century’s mass media communications system.”