Ted Johnson penned an interesting piece for Variety on the efforts of both parties to include the Internet in their platforms this year. The article includes a quote offering my view on the significance for conservatives of the Internet language in the RNC platform.
To summarize, on August 22, the FCC found it was appropriate to re-impose monopoly price cap regulations developed over twenty years ago because the FCC lacked “reliable” evidence that cable operators are competing in the special access market. On August 23, the very next day, the FCC found cable companies are “well-positioned” to compete in the special access market and are “increasingly successful” competing in that market. . . . It is impossible to reconcile these inconsistent findings.
Last week, the FCC issued two significant orders. Late Wednesday evening, the FCC issued an order suspending its pricing flexibility rules for special access services (“Special Access Order”), and on Thursday afternoon, it issued an order approving multiple transactions between Verizon Wireless and several cable companies (Comcast, Time Warner, Bright House Networks, and Cox) as well as mobile providers T-Mobile and Leap (“Verizon-Cable Order”). Read More
The Daily Caller posted language from the draft 2012 Republican Party Platform this morning indicating the platform includes Internet freedom. The platform indicates conservatives have embraced Internet freedom based on the removal of barriers to infrastructure investment and resistance to international governance. Within the next ten years, Internet connectivity will form the foundation of economic growth and social discourse at home and abroad. For the United States to lead the world in the 21st Century, it must lead the transformation from outdated, analog communications infrastructures to fully digital networks capable of supporting the ultra fast Internet services of the future. Conservatives recognize the importance of the Internet to American leadership and that the nation’s success depends on the adoption of a visionary approach to communications policy.
“How does the FCC justify taking action without an adequate evidentiary basis? By relying on a series of fallacies to provide an aura of evidence without actually having any. That’s a problem for an agency that wants to be seen as fact-based and data driven. Fallacies are like zeros: No matter how many you have, you still have nothing.”
Yesterday the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), our government’s communications industry experts, issued an order that would flunk an introductory college course in logic. Despite issuing multiple data requests, in October 2011, the FCC told the DC Circuit Court of Appeals that it “lacked a sufficient evidentiary record” to document claims that its “pricing flexibility rules” governing special access were flawed. The FCC’s evidentiary record hasn’t improved, but it suspended its pricing flexibility rules on a so-called “interim” basis anyway while it tries to figure out how to obtain the data it needs to do a transparent, data based analysis.
After he read my analysis of the tech policy lessons learned from the Google Fiber deployment, Jerry Brito, director of the Technology Policy Program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, invited me to do a podcast on broadband deployment for Surprisingly Free. During the podcast, Jerry asked me a number of questions about Google’s strategy for fiber deployment and other policy issues that impact broadband deployment. The podcast is available here.
“Focusing government on encouraging Internet investment, rather than discouraging it, would allow Americans to get back to work, put our economy on the road to a strong recovery, and preserve our global competitiveness.”
Yesterday POLITICO Pro said both political parties are on the verge of declaring support for some version of Internet freedom in their 2012 platforms. The Democratic platform contained a lengthy statement in 2008, but according to Politico, its 2012 platform will consist of a simple sentence about protecting the open Internet. Politico also noted that, though Republicans hardly mentioned the Internet in 2008, they are expected to consider several Internet proposals during their platform meeting early next week. Will the new Republican platform address Internet freedom? If so, what is the platform likely to say?
Google’s first lesson for building affordable, one Gbps fiber networks with private capital is crystal clear: If government wants private companies to build ultra high-speed networks, it should start by waiving regulations, fees, and bureaucracy.
For three years now the Obama Administration and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have been pushing for national broadband connectivity as a way to strengthen our economy, spur innovation, and create new jobs across the country. They know that America requires more private investment to achieve their vision. But, despite their good intentions, their policies haven’t encouraged substantial private investment in communications infrastructure. That’s why the launch of Google Fiber is so critical to policymakers who are seeking to promote investment in next generation networks.
The Google Fiber deployment offers policymakers a rare opportunity to examine policies that successfully spurred new investment in America’s broadband infrastructure. Google’s intent was to “learn how to bring faster and better broadband access to more people.” Over the two years it planned, developed, and built its ultra high-speed fiber network, Google learned a number of valuable lessons for broadband deployment – lessons that policymakers can apply across America to meet our national broadband goals.
To my surprise, however, the policy response to the Google Fiber launch has been tepid. After reviewing Google’s deployment plans, I expected to hear the usual chorus of Rage Against the ISP from Public Knowledge, Free Press, and others from the left-of-center, so-called “public interest” community (PIC) who seek regulation of the Internet as a public utility. Instead, they responded to the launch with deafening silence.
Maybe they were stunned into silence. Google’s deployment is a real-world rejection of the public interest community’s regulatory agenda more powerful than any hypothetical. Google is building fiber in Kansas City because its officials were willing to waive regulatory barriers to entry that have discouraged broadband deployments in other cities. Google’s first lesson for building affordable, one Gbps fiber networks with private capital is crystal clear: If government wants private companies to build ultra high-speed networks, it should start by waiving regulations, fees, and bureaucracy. Read More
Just before I left for vacation, the Atlantic published my response to their interview of Republican Congressman Darrell Issa on Internet policy. The Issa interview is available here, and my response is available here.