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You can’t innovate when you have to litigate

April 15, 2015

Lawrence J. Spiwak

The Hill

Last month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued its 300-plus page Open Internet Order, in which it reversed nearly two decades of bipartisan policy of applying a “light touch” to the Internet in favor of imposing legacy common carrier telephone regulations under Title II of the Communications Act designed for the world of the old “Ma Bell” monopoly. The appeals process has already begun and, given the remarkable legal and factual gymnastics employed by the commission to support its decision, the potential for a reversal and/or remand is high. While any lawyer will tell you that there is no way to make an accurate prognostication about the ultimate outcome of the litigation, we are likely to see the appellate arguments proceed along the following sequence.

The threshold legal question will not be on su Read More…

The FCC’s New Municipal Broadband Preemption Order Is Too Clever by Half

April 15, 2015

Lawrence J. Spiwak

Bloomberg BNA

Lawrence J. Spiwak is the President of the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies (http://www.phoenix-center.org), a non-profit 501(c)(3) research organization that studies broad public-policy issues related to governance, social and economic conditions, with a particular emphasis on the law and economics of the digital age.

This March, the Federal Communications Commission, at the urging of the White House,1 voted along party lines to preempt portions of Tennessee and North Carolina laws designed to delineate the terms and conditions under which municipalities may construct and deploy broadband Internet networks in order to offer advanced communications services to the general public.2Regardless of what one may think about the merits of municipal broadband, the FCC’s actions have raised a serious issue of Constitutional law: that is, can the federal government dictate to a state how it governs its municipal subdivisions? Twice in this space I set forth several reasons why the law does not support the FCC’s actions.3 After reading the FCC’s new Order, I remain unconvinced that the agency will prevail in court: The agency’s pre-emptionOrder is unconstitutional. Read More…

The FCC Forbears From The Rule Of Law

April 15, 2015

Harold Furtchgott-Roth

Forbes

Cogent Communications is reportedly considering petitioning the Federal Communications Commission to clarify rules for interconnection under the FCC’s new network neutrality rules. No doubt countless other petitions are in the works, and the FCC may soon recognize that it has become the Internet Czar—having absolute power to make arbitrary decisions that affect the lives of many.

Cogent states that it has congestion problems on its networks, and it quite reasonably seeks relief from the FCC. Any rational company would do the same. After all, it is impossible to read the new FCC network n Read More…

Politico Smears Conservative Group Opposed to New FCC Regulations

April 8, 2015

Joseph Rossell

News Busters

Opposing new FCC “net neutrality” mandates is suspicious, according to Politico. The politics insider site recently cast suspicion on a conservative group over emails asking legislators to oppose the FCC’s new Internet regulations.

As part of American Commitment’s campaign opposing net neutrality regulations the limited-government, free-market group helped hundreds of thousands of people send emails to their congressmen requesting they oppose the FCC’s Internet takeover.

But left-leaning Politico attempted to connect American Commitment to a separate campaign responsible for submitting erroneous messages to legislators, even though the second campaign occurred without the “knowledge Read More…

Aren’t We All Looking Forward to ‘Internet at the Speed of Government?’

March 30, 2015

Seton Motley

Red State

We were on February 26 subjected to the hugest of Barack Obama Administration Internet power grabs. Where the Administration unilaterally decided to start applying 1934 landline telephone law to the 21st-Century-Web.

This government grab was made under the guise of Network Neutrality – but this flashback-to-New-Deal phone law is oh-so-much-worse. The Administration has appointed itself the overlord of just about every private sector decision, transaction and innovation.

This is Mother-May-I-Do-Anything-At-All uber-regulation. It will eviscerate the free-speech-free-market-Xanadu Web we all know and dearly love. Read More…

You can’t innovate when you have to litigate

April 15, 2015

Lawrence J. Spiwak

The Hill

Last month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued its 300-plus page Open Internet Order, in which it reversed nearly two decades of bipartisan policy of applying a “light touch” to the Internet in favor of imposing legacy common carrier telephone regulations under Title II of the Communications Act designed for the world of the old “Ma Bell” monopoly. The appeals process has already begun and, given the remarkable legal and factual gymnastics employed by the commission to support its decision, the potential for a reversal and/or remand is high. While any lawyer will tell you that there is no way to make an accurate prognostication about the ultimate outcome of the litigation, we are likely to see the appellate arguments proceed along the following sequence.

The threshold legal question will not be on su Read More…

The FCC’s New Municipal Broadband Preemption Order Is Too Clever by Half

April 15, 2015

Lawrence J. Spiwak

Bloomberg BNA

Lawrence J. Spiwak is the President of the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies (http://www.phoenix-center.org), a non-profit 501(c)(3) research organization that studies broad public-policy issues related to governance, social and economic conditions, with a particular emphasis on the law and economics of the digital age.

This March, the Federal Communications Commission, at the urging of the White House,1 voted along party lines to preempt portions of Tennessee and North Carolina laws designed to delineate the terms and conditions under which municipalities may construct and deploy broadband Internet networks in order to offer advanced communications services to the general public.2Regardless of what one may think about the merits of municipal broadband, the FCC’s actions have raised a serious issue of Constitutional law: that is, can the federal government dictate to a state how it governs its municipal subdivisions? Twice in this space I set forth several reasons why the law does not support the FCC’s actions.3 After reading the FCC’s new Order, I remain unconvinced that the agency will prevail in court: The agency’s pre-emptionOrder is unconstitutional. Read More…

Limitless innovation? Only if the FCC gives permission

March 18, 2015

Mark Jamison

Tech Policy Daily

Innovation always surprises. It catches us off guard and does things we do not expect. The best innovations happen when entrepreneurial companies step outside their comfort zones, explore unchartered territories, or take a great leap forward in ways no one had anticipated. Apple did this. So did Google, Facebook, and YouTube, all in their own, unique way. So what happens when innovators are forced to think inside the box? Well, we’re about to find out.

Let’s take a step back and look at some of the most valuable innovators in modern times. Why was Apple such a successful innovator under Steve Jobs? Part of the reason was his unique ability to conceptualize and sell technologies that others hadn’t imagined. But he also broke the rules. When the PC world was moving to an open architecture, he kept the Mac closed. This was important because the open system largely limited innovation to component improvements. While oth Read More…

Broadband rate regulation is inevitable under Title II

March 10, 2015

Daniel Lyons

Tech Policy Daily

Throughout its net neutrality proceeding, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been deliberately vague about the contours of its proposal to reclassify broadband as a Title II telecommunications service. Will sponsored data or T-Mobile’s Music Choice service survive the new rules? To what degree will the FCC regulate interconnection, after insisting in its initial notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that it would not? What impact will the reclassification decision have on federal USF funding? On state regulatory power? The commission has consistently deferred answering these inquiries until after the release of the order, which remains classified nearly two weeks after its passage.

But there is one issue about which Chairman Tom Wheeler has been crystal-clear since announcing his support for reclassification: the commission will not engage in broadband rate regulation. In his landmark Wired op-ed announcing his plan to put reclassification to a vote, he insisted that Read More…

FCC imposes net neutrality, again

March 10, 2015

James Gattuso

The Heritage Foundation

It was Throwback Thursday at the FCC on Feb. 26, as the Federal Communications Commission voted to impose 1930s-era regulations on Internet providers.

Under the agency’s new rules, Internet service providers such as Verizon and Comcast are to be treated as “common carriers” under the 1934 Communications Act, subjecting them to detailed oversight of what they offer to consumers – and how they offer it.

The decision was a bit of a trip down regulatory memory lane for the FCC, harking back to the days when telephones looked like black candlesticks and all important decisions were made by regulators. Emphasizing the “retro” nature of the day, Verizon’s official response to the decision was issued entirely in Morse code, the language of the telegraph. Read More…

Utility Regulation Will Make the Internet Rusty

October 10, 2014

Mike Wendy
Media Freedom

No one loves their public utilities. They’re slow, unresponsive to change, and only just good enough for government work, which isn’t saying much.

If you’d talk to progressives working in the Internet space, though, you’d hear a different story. They think that utilities, and the 19th Century regulation used to control them, are the greatest things since sliced bread.  You see, they want to make private U.S. broadband providers public utilities, and radical groups like Free Press, Public Knowledge and MoveOn.org have pulled out all of the stops to get the Federal Communications Commission to do so.

Why? Read More…

Free State Foundation Comments

September 17, 2014

by Free State Foundation

On the issue of            )           AT&T and Direct TV merger

COMMENTS OF
THE FREE STATE FOUNDATION*
I. Introduction and Summary
These comments are filed in response to the Commission’s request for comments
concerning the agency’s review of the transfer of control of licenses in connection with the
proposed acquisition of DIRECTV by AT&T Inc. These comments do not endorse or oppose the
proposed merger. Rather, their purpose is to set out baseline principles by which the Commission
should evaluate this as well as other mergers and to provide a summary analysis of
AT&T/DIRECTV in light of those principles.
Mergers and acquisitions are competitive entrepreneurial activities Read More…

Free-Market Advocates’ Comments to FCC, Opposing Internet Regulation

July 15, 2014

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of  Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet

GN Docket No. 14-28

Comments of

Free-Market Advocates Opposed to Internet Regulation

For 10 years officials at the Federal Communications Commission have told Americans that the Internet will “break” unless the agency steps in to keep it “free and open.”  All the while, the Internet’s privately driven development has been vibrant, relentless and universal.  Nevertheless, at points during this same period the Commission twice sought to encumber the Internet with restrictive common carrier-like, Net Neutrality regulations.  In response to each of these actions, the DC Circuit twice struck down the agency’s overreach.  In the latest DC Circuit ruling – Verizon v. FCC[1] – the Court struck down the main thrust of the Commission’s arguments, but found that the Commission had some authority under Section 706 of the Communications Act.   The Commission has apparently undertaken the present Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to once again establish a regulatory regime in the absence of a market failure or a clear Congressional grant of authority.

The Internet is “free and open,” making the vast “network of networks” an integral engine for societal growth, participatory democracy and global commerce.  Its healthy development came primarily through the lack of government regulation, not because of it.  Although the Court seems to have offered the FCC a very narrow pathway to impose some form of Net Neutrality regulation on the Internet, nothing demands that the FCC go forward with its present plans.

Read More…

IFC Reply Comments to FCC: Title II Reclassification Unjustified, Unnecessary

August 12, 2010

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of Framework for Broadband Internet Service                    

GN Docket No. 10-127

FCC Docket No. 10-114

 Reply Comments

of the Undersigned Members of the

INTERNET FREEDOM COALITION

Introduction

The Commission is being asked by Free Press and other organizations to pursue a radical course of action – reclassifying information services as telecommunications services in order to regulate the Internet for the first time.  We write to urge the Commission to keep the Internet free of new government regulation and taxation and to refrain from rushing into such a potentially disastrous course of action.

Analysts are only beginning to grasp the extent of the disruptive and destructive consequences of regulating the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act, and the Commission is in no position to predict the outcome, much less assure Americans it will be positive.  Americans have heard political leaders admit that we will not know the full extent or nature of massive health care and financial services regulations until after the underlying legislation has been passed.  Now, Americans are facing the imposition of an even lesser-understood regulatory regime over the Internet without the benefit of any legislative process whatsoever.

CLICK HERE FOR PDF

IFC Supplemental Reply Comments: FCC Lacks Authority, Justification for Reclassifying Internet as Title II Service

April 26, 2010

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
Preserving the Open Internet              GN Docket No. 09-191                                  
Broadband Industry Practices            WC Docket No. 07-52

Supplemental Reply Comments of the Internet Freedom Coalition

Just two days prior to the Commission’s deadline for reply comments regarding the above Notice of Proposed Rulemakings, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in Comcast v. FCC that the Commission has no authority to enact Net Neutrality rules.  The deadline for comments was extended, particularly to facilitate discussion of other methods of promulgating Net Neutrality regulations.

 Beginning with comments on the National Broadband Plan filed by Public Knowledge in January, a small number of organizations have since proposed classifying the Internet as a Title II common carrier service as a way of asserting the Commission’s authority to enact Net Neutrality regulations.  The Internet Freedom Coalition respectfully submits these reply comments in strong opposition to any effort to reclassify the Internet as a Title II service.

Read More…

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