NYT: Expect a Cozy Trump-Telecom Alliance

Early next year, Senate Democrats will get to choose a new commissioner for the F.C.C. Democrats ought to pick a strong consumer advocate who will use the position to speak out forcefully for more competition in the industry and common-sense approaches like net neutrality rules. Susan Crawford, of Harvard Law School, and Tim Wu, of Columbia Law School, are two experts who specialize in telecommunication issues and fit that bill.

FCC’s program-carriage rules mainly upheld by U.S. appeals court

September 4 – LA Times’ Joe Flint references Susan in the ongoing forum about the Time Warner Cable vs. CBS dispute. “This opinion is significant because it shows that we can be reasonable about the 1st Amendment,” said Susan Crawford, a communications professor at Cardozo Law School. “Not all economic decisions about the transport of bits are the same as messages that should be protected by the 1st Amendment.”

Big surprise: Ex-FCC chief defends the cable industry

August 30 – LA Times’ Michael Hiltzik responds to commentary from former FCC chairman, Michael K. Powell while referencing the “digital divide”. “Former FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell, who is now the chief lobbyist for the cable industry, takes issue with my Aug. 25 column about how cable monopolies such as Time Warner and Comcast have made Internet access slower and more expensive than in many countries around the world”.

LA Times Commentary: Michael K. Powell, Former Chairman of the FCC and Current CEO of National Cable & Telecommunications Assn.

August 25 – Michael K. Powell responds to LA Times’ Michael Hiltzik’s article,  “Why the U.S. has to settle for low-speed data” and mentions Susan Crawford. “Michael Hiltzik could have noted the fact that America is among the world’s leaders in broadband choice, availability and quality”.

The Monopoly Telecom Industry

Check out Susan’s dialogue with Holistic Survival’s Jason Hartman about the Federal Communications Commission’s responsibility to the American people with respect to free Wifi. “Crawford believes the telecom industry now has a monopoly. American are paying much more for Internet access yet getting much less. Other countries are beating America in this space”.

Killing Program Access and Broadband Competition

Another Friday filing by the FCC: 146 pages on program access.It’s a classic on-the-one-hand-on-the-other item. This time around it’s even worse for the public, because the underlying competitive reality of the wires that run to American homes is being hidden, in two ways: First, the entire discussion is focused on the market for pay-TV, because that’s the subject of the rules being examined. That’s the wrong market definition from a consumer’s point of view. Consumers are buying both data and video in bundles, and in that bundled marketplace we don’t…

We won’t defer when you’re wrong

When should a court defer to an agency’s interpretation of its governing statute and/or its own regulatory actions? I got interested in this question because deference by a flummoxed Supreme Court gave us Brand X, with its ahistorical “this looks really tricky so we’ll let the FCC categorize highspeed internet access” approach. In this week’s Third Circuit opinion about the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident, the court doesn’t defer much. At least three times, it corrects the FCC’s reinterpretation of past regulation. 1. FCC: We gave notice of and a…

Tying, subsidizing, and IMS

In response to my post a couple of days ago about the possibility that VZ might not plan to comply with the 700 MHz “open platform” rules, someone wrote: would you have the FCC mandate that every mobile device must be capable of running every operating system? If Verizon sells me a BlackBerry, should the device allow me to install Android, Palm OS, Windows Mobile, or Symbian OS? Obviously, Google believes the answer is yes (they will make the most money if they can install their OS on every device)….

700 MHz Update: Will VZ comply with the rules?

Last Friday (HT::  IPDemocracy), Google filed a petition [PDF] asking that the Commission ensure that Verizon understands what those “open platform” requirements for the C Block really mean.  Verizon has taken the position in the past that its own devices won’t be subject to the “open applications” and “open handsets” requirements of the C Block rules, and Google says it is concerned that Verizon doesn’t plan to follow those requirements in the future. This is big.  Here’s the background. In the 700 MHz auction rules, the Commission noted that public…

Retrograde inversion

Going backwards upside down. That’s what we’re doing with telecommunications policy in the U.S. The Comcast affair should prompt a re-examination of many decisions the FCC, Congress, and the courts have made over the last few years. When the FCC reports on its reactions to Comcast’s activities, the right response will be “You’re asking the wrong question.” “What is reasonable network management” isn’t the question we should be asking. Instead, we should be asking ourselves “Why do the dominant network operators always win?” We don’t need retrospective fault-allocation – instead,…

Weird boxes

With the help of one of my colleagues, I’ve been going through the history of the Computer Inquiries and all of the regulatory muttering that goes into the “information services”/”telecommunications services” dichotomy. What a strange story of subversion. We started off, back in the 60s, with a real fear of dominant telephone companies manuvering/leveraging their way into data processing businesses.  So we (basically) cordoned off data processing as a separate business and kept the telcos out. Then, about 20 years later, the telcos pointed out that they needed to use…

Freedom to Connect — remarks today.

Many thanks to David Isenberg for inviting me to speak today.  Here is a copy of my notes for today’s talk. Life is short, so I have put on the screen an image of a clock whose hands are close to midnight. It’s always good to have a sense of urgency, both in movies and in talks like this one.  And to face the big questions. Here’s one::  What makes a life significant?:  There’s an essay by William James with this title that I look back to.  James says that…