Items tagged "Regulatory Reform"

Post

Industry Tells Senate: Internet Video Is “Ready Now”

April 24, 2012 Competition , Data Caps , MVPD , Regulatory Reform , Video Innovation

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.

Read More
Post

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

October 27, 2010 Competition , Enforcement , FCC , MVPD , Regulatory Reform

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).

Read More
Post

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

October 15, 2010 Competition , FCC , Mobile Communication , Regulatory Reform , Set-Top Box

“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.”

Read More
Post

The Verizon Wireless Data Rip Off—A Case Study

October 14, 2010 Competition , FCC , Mobile Communication , Regulatory Reform

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  <

Read More
Post

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

May 27, 2010 Broadband , FCC , National Broadband Plan , Network Neutrality , Regulatory Reform

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.

Read More
Post

Determining Causality in Telecommunications

May 6, 2010 FCC , Innovation , Last Mile , Non-Discrimination , Regulatory Reform

With the FCC and most government actors obsessed with incentive creation, it makes sense to determine whether and how a regulatory or deregulatory action causes some desired outcome.  Consider the creation of incentives to invest in physical plant.  Incumbent carriers have spent a lot of time, money and effort arguing that regulation creates investment disincentives and deregulation does the desired opposite.  This simplistic and not always correct premise constitutes the prevailing wisdom in the U.S.

Read More
Post

RCN Settlement Demonstrates the Perils of ISP Self-Regulation

April 20, 2010 BitTorrent , Network Neutrality , Non-Discrimination , P2P , Regulatory Reform

When the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals called into question the FCC’s ability to protect broadband users earlier this month, the ongoing debate about the legal classification of broadband services took on a new urgency. While we’ve argued that the Commission should waste no time in reclassifying broadband as a “telecommunications” (Title II) service, others have suggested that no action from the Commission is necessary, seeing how Comcast’s blocking of BitTorrent was an isolated act that no other ISP is likely to emulate. As if on cue, cable provider RCN has provided us with a timely reminder that Comcast isn’t the only ISP that has stood accused of blocking its users’ traffic. In a proposed settlement for a suit brought against the ISP for throttling its users’ peer-to-peer traffic, RCN is not only not held accountable for its actions, it’s also not prohibited from using similar network management techniques in the future. As this series of events demonstrates, if we’re going to rely on the ISPs to self-regulate, we might as well kiss the open Internet goodbye.  

Read More
Post

FCC Reform Moves Forward At Thursday’s Meeting

February 9, 2010 FCC , Regulation , Regulatory Reform

Assuming the Federal Government opens for business on Thursday (and I am not taking bets), we can expect to see Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski taking another substantial step to make good on his pledge to reform how the FCC does business. The agenda for the Commission's open meeting for Thursday, February 11 lists three items. Two have to do with changing FCC rules to make the agency more open and more streamlined, the third has to do with reforming the E-Rate Program under which schools get money to subsidize broadband.

We can expect that to the extent the press cover this, the focus will go to the E-Rate story. At least people understand about broadband in schools. But for long term difference that matters, the FCC process stories — while phenomenally boring and unsexy — have much broader impact.

The first item is a general "housekeeping" item.

Read More
Post

Stupak Bill Would Promote More Honest Decisionmaking at the FCC

December 4, 2009 FCC , Regulatory Reform

It’s been nearly a year since Public Knowledge and the Silicon Flatirons Center held its FCC Reform conference, and the FCC has moved slowly but steadily towards addressing many of the concerns raised at the conference and the paper submitted beforehand.

Read More
Post

FCC Team Takes Shape, Looks Like We Can Get Work Done.

June 3, 2009 FCC , Network Neutrality , Regulatory Reform , Spectrum Reform

At long last, it looks like the Senate Republicans got their act together enough to settle on two FCC candidates: Current Republican FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell and former NTIA Administrator Meredith Atwell Baker. While I expect a fair number of policy fights, I also expect to see this group weighing matters fairly and searching for common ground.

Both Baker and McDowell are fully up to speed on the gamut of media and telecom issues. Neither comes with a lot of incumbent industry baggage. Prior to joining the FCC, McDowell worked for Comptel representing competing telephone companies.

Read More