Trump appoints net neutrality critics to FCC transition team
“President-elect Donald Trump appointed two opponents of net neutrality rules to his team charged with overseeing the transition in the Federal Communications Commission.
The FCC voted 3-2 in February last year to reclassify broadband as a regulated, common-carrier service, prohibiting providers from selectively blocking, throttling or offering paid prioritization of traffic.
The new president, who will be sworn in January, will likely undo some of the policies in the 2015 Open Internet Order, as both his nominees to the transition team – Jeff Eisenach and Mark Jamison – have previously opposed the new FCC rules.
Eisenach, who is employed with Nera Economic Consulting, has served in senior positions at the Federal Trade Commission and the Office of Management and Budget while Jamison, who is director at the Public Utility Research Center at the University of Florida, served as special academic adviser to the chair of the Florida Governor’s Internet task force and as president of the Transportation and Public Utilities Group, besides working as manager of regulatory policy at Sprint.
In an article in 2014, pointed out by Forbes, Eisenach, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, wrote that “net neutrality is not about protecting consumers from rapacious Internet Service Providers,” and would not promote rural broadband and lower prices, and has nothing to do with promoting free speech. “The rules favored by net neutrality advocates would ban or restrict payments from one type of business – ‘edge providers’ – to another type of business – broadband ISPs – while placing no limits on what ISPs charge consumers,” Eisenach added.
Jamison recently called for a policy that goes “beyond net neutrality to a framework that resolves disputes, enables leadership and innovation, and protects the poor.” Net neutrality in the U.S. is hurting some of the very people it is supposed to help, he wrote in a June 2016 article to AEI.
Net neutrality rules have the support of a large number of internet companies, including Google and Facebook, which in 2014 wrote to the FCC warning of the grave consequences if it failed to protect the open internet, by allowing broadband providers to charge for prioritizing traffic.”
….Continue reading @ Computerworld
– Why wouldn’t the largest consumers of network resources want to be charged comparable rates to all consumers? The companies who built out the network, it would seem should be able to get a return on investment. Part of that, is charging according to use. The largest consumers of bandwidth benefit without investment.
This is going to get interesting and we all better pay attention. / CJ
Beyond net neutrality: Policies for leadership in the information, computing, and network industries
– American Enterprise Institute | Mark Jamison
“Net neutrality has been a contentious policy debate for more than a decade in the US and elsewhere. The basic policy goal, shared by proponents and opponents alike, is to maintain robust and open networks so that information technology entrepreneurs can thrive by continually innovating and serving consumers. Regrettably, net neutrality as practiced in the US is failing.
There are two basic reasons for the failure. One is that net neutrality policy has lost its focus and is now a growing miscellany of ex ante regulations that frequently work against the entrepreneurs and consumers the rules are intended to help. The second reason is that the net neutrality mindset is locked into a fading paradigm in which networks are distinct from computing and content. Facebook, Netflix, and Google are investing in customized networks and, in doing so, demonstrating that next-generation breakthroughs will leap beyond the old mindset.
If the US is to continue to be a place where consumers, entrepreneurs, and other enterprises can flourish in developing the next generation of information technologies, the country must move beyond net neutrality controversies to a policy framework that enables our industries to be world leaders.
In this paper we describe such an approach by offering a framework that addresses the public-interest concerns and controversies motivating today’s net neutrality conflicts and that provides consumers and service providers a way forward with new possibilities. Our approach offers a process for allowing industry players to evolve, new entrepreneurs to disrupt the status quo, and monopoly power to be quickly addressed without counterproductive governmental constraints on innovation.”
…Continue reading @ www.aei.org
based on forecasts rather than actual results.“this is an ex ante estimate of the variance”
A Shadow Falls Over Silicon Valley
– Wall Street Journal | June 2016
“The internet we know wasn’t built by firms requesting bureaucratic approval for every move,” observed Judge Stephen Williams in an opinion last week. The bad news is it was a dissent, from a decision upholding new Federal Communications Commission regulations that are already stifling internet investment, innovation and competition.
Judge Williams, a Reagan appointee, called the new regulations so arbitrary and capricious the FCC should lose its deference from judges. The Supreme Court should now take the case on appeal to rule what “deference” is owed when an agency sacrifices its independence and rejects its experts.
In 2014 President Obama demanded that the FCC regulate the internet as a utility, under laws written for railroads and the early telephone monopoly. A congressional investigation concluded the White House “bowled over” FCC objections. The commission’s Democratic majority ignored decades of agency analysis to adopt Obamanet, granting bureaucrats broad discretion to set rates, regulate prices, ban offerings, second-guess business models, and prohibit any innovation that violates a vague new “General Conduct” standard.
Congress never intended such regulation. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 declared the internet will be “unfettered by federal or state regulation,” except to “promote competition.” The FCC “specifically forswears any findings of a lack of competition” on the internet, Judge Williams noted.
The chief economist at the agency later called the regulations “an economics-free zone.” Judge Williams noted the FCC’s “utter disregard” for the expert analyses: “The silent treatment given to three of its former chief economists seems an apt sign of the commission’s thinking as it pursued its forced march through economic rationality.”
Judge Williams’s dissent is rich in telecommunications law and economics. He warns Silicon Valley about the style of micromanagement it can expect under a utility-regulation regime. He cited a late-night call in the 1970s to the head of the now-defunct Civil Aeronautics Board from an airline asking about its application to transport sheep from Virginia to England, which was urgent because the ewes were in heat.”
…Continue reading @ WSJ