News Heading

Why Court Very Likely Will Stay FCC’s Title II Reclassification

May 14, 2015

Scott Cleland

Precursor Blog

Based on the latest best arguments this week from both the FCC and broadband petitioners, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is very likely to partially stay the FCC Open Internet Order’s reclassification of broadband as a Title II service and imposition of a new Internet conduct standard — in the coming weeks.

That’s because a close comparison of the broadband industry’s latest best arguments in itspetition for a court stay with the FCC’s latest best counter-arguments in denying the broadband industry’s petitions for an FCC stay – exposes how extraordinarily weak the FCC’s legal justification is. Read More…

Government’s Internet Monopoly

April 28, 2015

L. Gordon Crovitz

The Wall Street Journal

The Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission high-fived each other last week, teaming up to reject the $45 billion merger of Comcastand Time Warner Cable. There was no explanation of what law this consolidation in the declining cable industry would have violated, but Obamaadministration officials don’t let such details stand in their way.

Comcast and Time Warner don’t compete in any market in the U.S., which meant there was no antitrust problem. But departing Attorney General Eric Holder reinterpreted the antitrust laws to protect competitors instead of competition. He said his department acted to benefit “providers of content and streaming services.”

Business World Columnist Holman Jenkins Jr. on the Justice Department’s successful bid to break up a merger between media giants. Read More…

The one thing that can stop Moore’s Law: Title II Internet regulation

April 28, 2015

Bret Swanson

Entropy Economics

Gordon Moore’s prediction of exponentially growing computer power, based on the silicon integrated circuit, is 50 years old this month. The technical and economic achievements of Moore’s law are astounding. When Moore used pen and graph paper to plot those first few data points in April 1965, for example, a leading-edge microchip contained 60 transistors. Today, Nvidia’s most advanced graphics chip for video games has eight billion transistors. Until the year 2000, this single gaming chip would have qualified as the world’s fastest supercomputer. Moore’s law gave birth to or otherwise enabled most of the past half century’s great innovations, including the PC, the Internet, the smartphone, and the entire world of software apps and services. What happens when we change the regulatory environment of something that is working this well? Looks like we’re about to find out.

The economic effects of the IT revolution are astonishingly broad. According to Dale Jorgenson of Harvard, nearly all US gains in total factor productivity — or “innovation” — over the past 40 years come from information technology, and between 50% and 70% of all productivity gains over the period are due to IT. 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…

Video: Open Internet / Net Neutrality Rules Offend the First Amendment, with CBIT’s Fred Campbell

May 20, 2015

Mike Wendy

Media Freedom (Follow Link for Video)

CBIT’s Fred Campbell believes the new Open Internet / Net Neutrality rules do not square with the First Amendment. In this video, Fred explains why the rules are infirm and not likely to survive court scrutiny.

Excerpt: The First Amendment problem with reclassifying and treating broadband Internet service providers as common carriers is that the Open Internet rules are an absolute ban on the editorial discretion of ISPs…You can’t exercise editorial discretion as an ISP based on your viewpoint. That’s what the First Amendment is all about. The government can’t get into the head of any mass communications media and try to dictate what they can and cannot allow. Because as soon as that wall starts to break down, the government is really in control of our communications networks.

I agree wholeheartedly. Let’s hope the courts do, too.

The Future of Internet Governance

May 20, 2015

Dorothy Jetter

Digital Liberty

On May 13th, the Subcommittee on Electronics and Technology of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing to discuss the future of internet governance.  IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority)’s current contract gives stewardship to the United States via the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).  Come September, the US government may concede control of IANA, over to ICANN (an acronym standing for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a California-based nonprofit).
Given the current global political climate, this transition could have disastrous results. Under the current governance, the US government has the ability to oversee IANA through the Domain Name System, but the Obama Administration is ready to concede its minimal oversight role.  This would leave IANA vulnerable to political and financial pressures, potentially from governments uninterested in protecting free speech. 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…

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…

Social Heading