Washington Times Editorial Slams FCC

December 3, 2010 -

A Washington Times editorial slams FCC chairman Julius Genachowski's plan to introduce and vote on net neutrality rules, instead preferring market solutions to deal with the problems of network congestion, prioritizing content, and more. The editorial is a bit odd considering all the concessions the FCC has given cable operators already.

The main thrust of the article is that the FCC is trying to expand its regulatory power into a sector that congress has had a hands-off policy on for over a decade. Sample:

"It's not clear why the FCC thinks it needs to intervene in a situation with obvious market solutions. Companies that impose draconian tolls or block services will lose customers. Existing laws already offer a number of protections against anti-competitive behavior, but it's not clear under what law Mr. Genachowski thinks he can stick his nose into the businesses that comprise the Internet. The FCC regulates broadcast television and radio because the government granted each station exclusive access to a slice of the airwaves. Likewise when Ma Bell accepted a monopoly deal from Uncle Sam, it came with regulatory strings attached.

No such rationale applies online, especially because bipartisan majorities in Congress have insisted on maintaining a hands-off policy. A federal appeals court confirmed this in April by striking down the FCC's last attempt in this arena. "That was sort of like the quarterback being sacked for a 20-yard loss," FCC Commissioner Robert M. McDowell told The Washington Times. "And now the team is about to run the exact same play. ... In order for the FCC to do this, it needs for Congress to give it explicit statutory authority to do so."

Read the whole thing here.

[Commentary: I'm trying to figure out who supports this new proposal beyond cable operators and wireless companies..]


Comments

Re: Washington Times Editorial Slams FCC

A major failing is that we let companies like Comcast and AT&T get into other areas. AT&T was allowed to move beyond phone and into TV and internet. Comcast was allowed to become far more than just a cable operator.

And this is why standing back and doing nothing is so damn insidious: Comcast wants to force their TV services upon you with a stranglehold on your internet service because they control both.

This should never have been allowed to happen. Comcast should have never been allowed to be anything more than a cable company. AT&T should have never been allowed to be anything more than a phone company.

Re: Washington Times Editorial Slams FCC

"Companies that impose draconian tolls or block services will lose customers."

I guess that could theoretically happen, if ISPs weren't regional monopolies.  In a lot of the country, there pretty much is no competition when it comes to internet service.  And the ISPs know it.

Re: Washington Times Editorial Slams FCC

Instead of saddling us with this horrible framework why not just take a laisse faire attitude and let things continue as they have for the last two decades until the ISPs do something worth rule making? It seems to me more good would be done by staying silent and letting the providers decide for themselves what will cross the line and risk the wrath of regulation.

All in all a VERY poor showing by Genachowski.

Re: Washington Times Editorial Slams FCC

Uh...  Heard of Comcast?

Re: Washington Times Editorial Slams FCC

Instead, we just allow a government agency to act completely outside of it's legal purview with no recourse whatsoever on such activity?

FCC's third way is exactly that.  They don't have the authority to do such a thing.  They've even admitted to it.

Imagine if the CIA assassinated a foreign diplomat in the United States that everyone knew paid for terrorist activities.  The act itself would be considered a good thing in the "big picture," sure, but would any of you who are chomping at the bit for FCC regulations on the internet be okay with such?  No, you wouldn't.  You'd freak out that the CIA is overstepping it's boundaries, just as I would.  So, tell me - why is it okay for one government organization to break the law but not all of them?

Oh, wait, I know the answer - you're convinced that corporations would be punished by such, and that makes anything and everything okay in your opinion.

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Re: Washington Times Editorial Slams FCC

Interesting... even if you register it will not let you comment.....

 

Oh well, it was really just my standard 'free market solutions require competition.  The broadband market is an effectively monopoly (or oligopoly depending on the region) and thus smith's invisible hand fails to produce solutions.

Re: Washington Times Editorial Slams FCC

Agreed, Neeneko.

For many Americans there is no "free market". And for the rest of us, the "free market" is often only one competitor who is working in collusion with the other.

Free market solutions my arse.

Re: Washington Times Editorial Slams FCC

I know I have ranted before.. but I still maintain.. the version of NN I would like to see would just return the requirement that line owners lease out their lines to any ISP.... I keep thinking back to the wonderful landscape of competition DSL had before that was lifted and how the market shrank to monopolies overnight afterwards..... return that and require cable companies to play by the same rules and I would be a very happy camper.

I think if we had that, THEN the free market would be able to do its thing.

Re: Washington Times Editorial Slams FCC

I worked for an ISP that used Qwest's lines, and I'll tell you right now that allowing other businesses to use their cable is not enough to allow fair competition.

Qwest is profiting on the line whether they're profiting on the service or not; hence, they can ALWAYS undercut competitors on the service end.

Add to that that every time there's a problem with the line they'll blame it on the ISP and try to convince the user to switch over to their service.

Besides that, when they were adding ADSL in new markets, they weren't required to share THAT line with other ISP's.  That could be fixed by bringing back line-sharing requirements, but those other two problems couldn't.

 
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