private investment

FCC’s Proposed Cybersecurity Regulation Fatally Flawed

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Cybersecurity, Public Safety | No Comments

For most people, the hardest part of their last few days on the job is finding the motivation to tie up loose ends before they leave. This should have been easy for the former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Tom Wheeler, who left the agency upon President Trump’s inauguration. After Trump’s election victory, congressional leadership advised Wheeler to focus his staff’s energies on consensus and administrative matters and to avoid complex or controversial issues.

Wheeler didn’t take their advice. Just two days before Trump’s inauguration, Wheeler’s FCC issued a white paper asserting that the agency (1) has jurisdiction to comprehensively regulate cybersecurity for commercial communications networks and (2) should regulate the cybersecurity practices of broadband internet service providers (ISPs) and other sectors of the communications industry.

The FCC’s report is not only complex and controversial, its key conclusions are wrong. Like the analysis in so many other items the Wheeler FCC issued, the report just presumes the agency has authority to do whatever it likes with regard to cybersecurity. It doesn’t. Congress has determined that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the appropriate forum for addressing cybersecurity, not the FCC.

The FCC’s view of the cybersecurity marketplace is also based on something other than reality. Compelling evidence shows that market forces are in fact incentivizing substantial investment in the deployment of cybersecurity protections without the FCC’s interference. Read More

Tech Knowledge Reply Comments In BDS Proceeding

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Wireless | No Comments

Today, Tech Knowledge filed the following comments at the Federal Communications Commission in its proceeding to regulate business data services (BDS). The complete comments as filed can be downloaded in PDF format HERE. (Note, the HTLM version of the comments printed below does not contain the footnotes provided in the PDF version available at the link above and filed at the FCC.)

Introduction

Tech Knowledge submits these comments to emphasize a single point: the data does not support arguments that prospective 5G deployments require price regulation of fiber-based wireless backhaul in any market. Read More

Georgetown Analysis Shows FCC Special Access Regulation Intended To Give CLECs Even Higher Profits

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Regulatory State | No Comments

The FCC is examining whether AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink and other incumbent telephone companies have market power in the market for business data services (also known as “special access”). To hear their competitors like Level 3 and Windstream tell it, incumbent telcos have “locked up” the business broadband market and exercise “overwhelming control … to dictate terms and conditions” in that market. According to a recent study by Anna-Maria Kovacs at Georgetown University, however, these competitors’ services “are far more profitable” than services provided by incumbent telephone companies.

If incumbent telcos could actually exercise market power, they could unilaterally increase their profitability by either (1) charging monopoly prices (i.e., prices that are higher than would occur in a competitive market) or (2) lowering the quality of their services (e.g., by forgoing maintenance or investment in new network capabilities). These results of market power — artificially high prices or lower quality services — are what competition laws are intended to avoid.

Yet the evidence presented in the Georgetown report and the recent, sworn testimony of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler show that the way incumbent telcos are behaving in the broadband marketplace is the exact opposite of how firms with market power are expected to behave. Read More

Shining The Spotlight On The FCC: How Rules Impact Consumers And Industries

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Regulatory State | No Comments

The American Action Forum has posted a video of last week’s event examining current regulatory issues at the FCC. The event was keynoted by FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly, who was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Rob Pegoraro (Yahoo Tech) with panelists Fred Campbell (Tech Knowledge), Meredith Rose (Public Knowledge), and Will Rinehart (American Action Forum). You can watch the video HERE.

Tell The FCC That Competition And A Monopoly Aren’t The Same Thing

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Regulatory State | No Comments

Fred Campbell’s latest article in Forbes explains why forcing phony competition on fiber investments will only slow the deployment of fiber Internet to businesses and put our global competitiveness at risk. The complete article is available HERE.

CBIT Statement: Federal Communications Commission Embraces Investment Slacker Culture

Posted by | Broadband Internet, Regulatory State | No Comments

Haymarket, VA, August 6, 2015 – Fred Campbell, Director of the Center for Boundless Innovation in Technology, released the following statement with respect to the Federal Communications Commission order forcing Verizon, AT&T and other incumbent telephone companies to sell their new fiber infrastructure to their competitors at regulated rates that are based on outdated copper infrastructure:

“The FCC took two huge steps backward today when it voted to give America’s investment slackers a free ride on the backs of the country’s biggest investment heroes, AT&T and Verizon. When Congress adopted the Telecommunications Act nearly 20 years ago, it hoped that allowing global companies like Level 3 — known as CLECs — to piggyback on incumbent telephone company networks would prod CLECs to compete by investing in their own network infrastructure. The FCC implemented Congress’s desire to give CLECs a hand while maintaining investment incentives by permitting CLECs to use incumbent telcos legacy copper networks, but not their new fiber infrastructure. The happy result was massive investment in the new fiber facilities that power the Verizon FIOS and AT&T U-verse services.

Today’s FCC order upset this successful balance by forcing Verizon and AT&T to sell their new fiber facilities to their CLEC competitors at legacy copper network prices. The FCC’s change in course is a government handout of the worst sort — one that rewards the sloth of investment slackers while punishing the industriousness of the companies who are betting the most on America’s future. The FCC’s new approach is sure to help CLECs make more money at the expense of consumers, but will do nothing to promote sustainable competition or the deployment of new fiber networks. What a sad day for innovation, investment, and competition in America.”

What position should the government take on net neutrality?

Posted by | Broadband Internet | No Comments

The following article authored by Fred Campbell was originally published in the February 2015 edition of the Illinois Business Journal.

The Federal Communications Commission is poised to break the Internet this month unless Congress intervenes. It is widely expected that the FCC will vote to regulate the dynamic, open Internet as a public utility under “Title II” of the Communications Act — a 1930s regulatory approach that would allow the FCC to set the rates, terms and conditions for broadband Internet access and regulate edge providers like Google and Apple.

Net neutrality” is the ostensible reason for imposing Title II regulation on the Internet, but it’s really a Trojan Horse intended to give public utility advocates a platform to argue for more expansive Internet regulation down the road. The principles of net neutrality were first adopted by the FCC a decade ago under its ancillary authority, and generally prohibit Internet service providers from blocking or unreasonably discriminating in the transmission of lawful Internet traffic. After a federal court overturned the FCC’s net neutrality rules last year, however, public utility advocates seized the opportunity to push full-blown public utility regulation, arguing that Title II is the only sustainable path to net neutrality.

The fact is, legislation is a simpler and shorter path to net neutrality that offers less risk and a more democratic process. If Title II advocates were motivated solely by net neutrality, they would embrace a bipartisan legislative solution. 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

Campbell Speaking at Internet Innovation Alliance Telecommunications Forum

Posted by | Broadband Internet | No Comments

It’s going to be a busy week: In addition to the Wednesday webinar, I’ll be speaking this Thursday, July 24 from 10 to 11:30 pm ET at an Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA) Telecommunications Forum entitled, “Title II Regulation and its Potential Impact on Deployment of 21st Century Broadband Networks and Services.” The event features FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, who will be delivering a keynote presentation, and will be held in Washington, DC at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

Registration is available HERE.

CBIT White Paper: The Future of Broadcast Television

Posted by | Satellite, Video, Wireless | One Comment

Click HERE to download the complete paper in PDF.

Executive Summary

The migration of consumers from over-the-air television to other video platforms has prompted a debate about the role that television (TV) stations should play in the future communications marketplace. This debate has focused on only two options, each of which is supported by a competing segment of the video marketplace:

  • Broadcasters support maintaining the regulatory status quo; and
  • Multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) support maintaining only the unique “public interest” obligations imposed on TV stations by the regulatory status quo while repealing the regulatory provisions that enable TV stations to meet those obligations.

Neither option would harness the power of the free market to determine the future of broadcast television. Though the first option would continue to rely on government intervention to preserve free over-the-air television, the second option would bear even less resemblance to a functioning free market. Repealing only the regulations that enable TV stations to meet their unique public interest obligations would effectively result in the forced abandonment or sale of TV stations at fire-sale prices, thus destroying the legitimate, investment-backed expectations of TV stations through government action. It would be the antithesis of a free market approach.

This paper proposes a free market alternative that could unleash the broadcast industry’s full competitive potential and usher in a new wave of innovation and investment in communications: Enabling TV stations to innovate and compete in the MVPD and wireless broadband market segments through comprehensive, market-based regulatory reform. This alternative would allow TV stations to transition their businesses to a free market approach by eliminating the following anticompetitive regulations:

  • The free television mandate,
  • The broadcast MVPD prohibition,
  • The Federal broadcast tax,
  • Broadcast ownership limits,
  • Broadcast programming restrictions, and
  • Broadcast spectrum limitations.

This pro-competitive approach would enable the elimination of regulations that are necessitated by the government-mandated broadcast business model while respecting the investment-backed expectations of TV station owners. The result would be a truly comprehensive approach to reforming broadcast regulation that would promote competition, investment, and innovation by allowing market forces to determine the future of broadcast television stations. Read More