Entries Matching: Regulatory Reform

Industry Tells Senate: Internet Video Is “Ready Now”

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Today's Senate hearing on online video was interesting for a few reasons. The most important of these, to me, was that no one questioned whether the Internet was the future of video. It's apparent to most observers by now that it is. Just a few years ago Mark Cuban was saying that online video at scale was economically and technologically impossible. He's still defending his thesis but in the meantime the explosive growth of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and so forth has put lie to the claim that the Internet can't support the amount of high-quality video people want to watch.

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Fox/Cablevision And FCC Learned Helplessness, or “Finding the FCC’s ‘Man Pants.’”

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I feel a good deal of sympathy for FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski over the ongoing fight between Fox and Cablevision. My brother the educator likes to say that "responsibility without authority is trauma." Or, in other words, if you are responsible for something but don't actually have the authority to do anything about it, then the only thing you can do is suffer when things go wrong. So it is for Genachowski and Fox/Cablevision -- under the FCC's current rules. But here's the funny thing. The FCC actually has fairly strong statutory authority to take action. So while Genachowski is in a bind, he can actually fix the problem. He even has a vehicle all teed up and waiting in the form of our Petition to change the "retransmission consent" rules (I'll explain what those are below).

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Genachowski Enters FCC In 12-Step Program To Stop Enabling Consumer Abuse

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“The first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem.” So goes the self-help cliché. For regulatory agencies, the first step is admitting that industry has a problem and that the wonderful happy world of the unregulated market – no matter how wildly competitive it might or might not be – doesn’t always protect consumers and that in fact, sometimes, free market dogma to the contrary, you actually reach the best result for everyone by having government set basic rules of disclosure and enforcement (the classic paper on this being economist George Akerlof’s oft-cited “The Market For Lemons.” The recent experience with the meltdown of the financial services sector and its ongoing tribulations provide rather vivid proof that “trusting the market” and waiting for “proof of a problem.”

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The Verizon Wireless Data Rip Off—A Case Study

For several years now, without unilateral amends by the company, or intervention by the FCC, Verizon Wireless, has profited handsomely when subscribers push a wrong button on their handsets and unintentionally access the Internet.  15 million subscribers initiated data sessions generating over $90 million in revenues for Verizon.  The revenue number is so high, because many handsets offer one button Internet access and even a few seconds of access generated a $1.99 fee as data users, lacking a monthly plan, trigger a per Megabyte fee regardless of whether only a few bytes got transmitted.  See  <

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Rep. Doyle (D-PA) Shows Washington How To Stand Up To Corporate Front Groups

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The faux populist group Americans For Prosperity has been running ads against network neutrality in Mike Doyle’s (D-PA) district in Pittsburgh. Doyle’s response? A letter to FCC Chairman Genachowski telling him to ignore faux populist FUD from AFP, hold firm, and move full speed ahead to protect consumers while Congress takes up the work of updating the Communications Act for a more comprehensive approach.

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