Category Archives: Federal Communications Commission

The Investment Effects of the FCC’s New Asymmetrical Privacy Regime…

Posted on by

Last September, I participated in a conference sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation entitled “The Internet of Everything: Data, Networks and Opportunities.”  As part of my presentation, I discussed an essay I co-authored with Phoenix Center Chief Economist Dr. George Ford entitled Information, Investment and the Internet of Everything.  In this essay, George and I pointed out that as a consequence of the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) decision in March 2015 to reclassify broadband Internet access as a Title II common carrier “telecommunications” service in its controversial Open Internet Order, all Broadband Service Providers (“BSPs”)—whether wireline, cable or Continue Reading »

Tom Wheeler’s Recent Braggadocio…

Posted on by

Last month, the Phoenix Center released a paper entitled Eroding the Rule of Law:  Regulation as Cooperative Bargaining at the FCC.  Our paper reveals how the FCC exploits its power to grant or deny regulatory relief in exchange for political concessions from the entities it regulates.  We describe such action as “issue bundling.”  As our paper explains, issue bundling occurs when the regulator and the regulated “make a deal” to combine a variety of unrelated issues in exchange for regulatory relief.  Needless to say, this rise in issue bundling raises troubling concerns about the nature of the modern regulatory state.  Among Continue Reading »

Special Access and the FCC’s Regulatory Revival…

Posted on by

There is a Chinese proverb, though some call it a curse, which says “May you live in interesting times.” For those involved in telecommunications policy over the last few decades, I think it’s safe to say we are now living in interesting times. Since before and certainly after the 1996 Telecommunications Act, the communications industry has undergone a competitive and deregulatory revolution. Twenty years ago the cross-entry of phone companies into video markets and video companies into phone markets was a running joke, but no longer. It’s a reality. Video regulation, which was a disaster even under monopoly conditions, has Continue Reading »

2014 Year in Review…

Posted on by

2014 provided fertile soil for those interested in policy research. So with New Years rapidly approaching, I want to uphold tradition and use our last blog post of the year to highlight what we at the Phoenix Center thought to be the most interesting policy issues of 2014 and to provide some select examples of where we believed we added constructively to the debate. Spectrum Availability and Allocation While spectrum policy is always complex, the debate again boiled down to the fundamental questions: how do we free up more spectrum; and once we do, how do we allocate it? For Continue Reading »

Tariffing the Internet: A Response to Harold Feld (Part Deux)…

Posted on by

On October 2, 2014, Harold Feld of Public Knowledge defiantly declared that net neutrality was not about a “terminating service” provided by broadband providers to edge providers, but rather it’s about the regulation of retail broadband service.  His position on this matter was unequivocal and characteristically bumptious.  Harold’s blog was, in part, a response to my paper, Tariffing Internet Termination:  Pricing Implications of Classifying Broadband as a Title II Telecommunications Service, in which Larry Spiwak and I detailed why the termination market was the relevant market for net neutrality regulation (see Larry’s summary here).  Ignoring the plain text of the Continue Reading »

Will the Virtuous Circle be Unbroken?

Posted on by

Regardless of whether the Federal Communications Commission ultimately reclassifies broadband termination as a Title II telecommunications service or not, the agency will likely justify its efforts to regulate broadband service based on its mandate in Section 706 to “encourage the deployment on a reasonable and timely basis of advanced telecommunications capability to all Americans” using “measures that promote competition [and] remove barriers to infrastructure investment.”  Indeed, at the center of the agency’s net neutrality argument is the theory of a “virtuous circle,” whereby innovation and investment at the edge of the network increases the demand for advanced telecommunications capability” and Continue Reading »

Mr. Wheeler Agrees: It’s The “Termination Market”…

Posted on by

Last Friday, the Wall Street Journal provided a peek at Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler’s latest plan for net neutrality.  Under the reported plan, the Chairman intends to divide the two-sided broadband market into its components—a retail and a termination service—and then reclassify the termination service as a Title II common carrier telecommunications service but leave retail services as a mostly unregulated Title I information service. As the Journal’s article states, The plan now under consideration would separate broadband into two distinct services: a retail one, in which consumers would pay broadband providers for Internet access; and a back-end Continue Reading »

Title II Reclassification and the Price Regulation of Retail Broadband Services…

Posted on by

Last month, Larry Spiwak and I published a paper entitled Tariffing the Internet: Pricing Implications of Classifying Broadband as a Title II Telecommunications Service in which we outlined how the reclassification of broadband as a Title II telecommunications service would work in practice. (See Larry’s Op-Ed for a condensed version.) Since net neutrality seems aimed at prohibiting “paid prioritization,” we concluded that reclassification must lead to a positively-priced and tariffed termination service. That is, edge providers will be required to pay broadband providers to terminate their traffic. Today, they do not. No one has yet to make any reasonable argument Continue Reading »

The Problems With Henry Waxman’s “Hybrid” Legal Theory…

Posted on by

Last week, Representative Henry Waxman—the ranking Democrat on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee—wrote a letter to Federal Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler where he proposed a new and quite peculiar “hybrid” legal theory to support aggressive new Open Internet Rules.  Under Mr. Waxman’s three-step theory, the FCC would first reclassify broadband Internet access as a Title II common carrier telecommunications service.  Next, Mr. Waxman would have the Commission use its authority under Section 10 to forbear from nearly all of Title II—including even Section 201 (requiring “just and reasonable” rates) and Section 202 (prohibiting “unreasonable discrimination”). Finally, having dispensed Continue Reading »

Tariffing the Internet: A Response to Harold Feld…

Posted on by

Last month, Larry Spiwak and I released a paper entitled Tariffing the Internet: Pricing Implications of Classifying Broadband as a Title II Telecommunications Service. In this paper (and companion op-ed), we set out to answer a critical question—how exactly does reclassifying broadband as a Title II, common-carrier telecommunications service protect the Open Internet?  Despite the millions of comments filed in the FCC’s Open Internet Docket, this most basic question has yet to be asked much less answered.  If the Commission does reclassify, then the agency must design, implement and administer a particular set of rules that achieves the desired goal Continue Reading »