Price, Profit, and Efficiency: Mark Cooper’s Bungled Analysis

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Last month, I was generously invited to join a panel put together by the New America Foundation (“NAF”) at a Capitol Hill event entitled Spectrum Auctions: Promoting More Mobile Market Competition . . . or Less?  (For those interested, video of my panel is available here.)  It was an honor to participate, and kudos to Michael Calabrese from NAF for putting together a great event.  On the panel, I was joined by Mark Cooper (Consumer Federation of America), Fred Campbell (Competitive Enterprise Institute), and Peter Cramton (professor at the University of Maryland).  I found the discussion interesting, informative, and mostly Continue Reading »

New America Foundation Misinterprets International Data (Round Three)…

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Aujourd’hui ce qui ne vaut pas la peine d’être dit, on le chante.   This line, from Le Barbier de Séville, is translated as, “Nowadays what isn’t worth saying is sung.”  International comparisons of broadband services certainly fall into this category, and this week the New America Foundation is singing again with a 2013 update to its 2012 Cost of Connectivity Report.  While New America’s 2013 Report has garnered some glowing accolades in the press (see, e.g., here and here), the hard reality is that New America’s 2013 Report continues to commit all of the numerous technical errors I highlighted Continue Reading »

Who is at Fault for On-Line Piracy? According to PiracyData.org, Blame the Victim…

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Yesterday, scholars at the Mercatus Center unveiled a new website entitled PiracyData.org.  According to the site’s co-creator Jerry Brito, the purpose of this webpage is to determine whether the most-pirated movies each week are available for legal streaming, digital rental, or digital purchase.  To accomplish this goal, the site combines TorrentFreak’s weekly top-ten list of the most pirated movies with Can I Stream It’s database of movie availability. In light of the demonstrated unreliability of the site’s data—something Mr. Brito concedes—no conclusions or even sensible speculations can be drawn from PiracyData.org.  But, one meaningful question to ask is why is Continue Reading »

A Response to the WaPo’s Timothy Lee: Why Comcast is NOT Acting Like a Monopolist…

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In a recent article, Washington Post technology reporter Timothy Lee suggested that “broadband speeds were stagnating in the United States”, resulting in “slow innovation and poor customer service.” Comcast—the nation’s largest broadband service provider—begged to differ, and provided Mr. Lee with hard evidence indicating that the opposite was true. While Mr. Lee subsequently admitted his error and conceded that “Comcast’s service really has been getting faster”, Mr. Lee attempts to use the same data to argue that Comcast is “acting more and more like a monopolist.” Specifically, Mr. Lee contends that these data reveal that Comcast is “focus[ing] on maximizing Continue Reading »

A Fresh Analytical Start at the FCC…

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The Federal Communications Commission is at a crossroads.  Burdened with implementing laws designed for a market structure of a bygone era—and with little prospect of a comprehensive legislative update on the horizon—incoming FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler faces a daunting task to adapt and modernize the agency’s approach to regulation so that we can remove, in President Obama’s words, those rules which have “outlived their usefulness.”  Equally as important, Mr. Wheeler has the related and no less daunting task of re-establishing the FCC’s credibility with the industry, Capitol Hill, the courts and (most importantly) the public as the “expert” agency which Continue Reading »

The Curious Cases of Aereo, BarryDriller and FilmOn X…

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With proliferating advances in new technology, enforcing copyright in the digital age is becoming increasingly difficult.  Take for example the string of cases over the last twelve months which have ruled on the legality of new third-party subscription services (described in more detail below) designed to allow customers to view over-the-air broadcast television via the internet and mobile devices.  At issue was a simple legal question: do these services facilitate a “public performance” of protected works under Section 101 of the Copyright Act (a.k.a. the “Transmit Clause”), which provides, inter alia, that a work is performed publicly whenever such work Continue Reading »

Thoughts on the 15th Cable Competition Report…

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Two weeks ago, the Federal Communications Commission released its Fifteenth Report on the assessment of competition in the market for the delivery of video programming.  As both George and I were members of the core team of FCC staffers who wrote the very First Cable Report (and its insightful Appendix H) way back in 1995, I could not help but marvel at the growth and development of the industry over the last eighteen years. Of particular note to me were the FCC’s findings that not only do nearly 131 million (approximately 99%) of American homes have access to three multichannel Continue Reading »

Takeaways from Our Rooftop Policy Roundtable on the IP Transition…

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Two weeks ago, the Phoenix Center held its Second Annual Rooftop Policy Roundtable where we focused our attention on the complex issue of the IP Transition.  We really appreciated everybody coming out to the event, particularly given the Washington DC heat and humidity (not to mention the thunderstorm).  After giving myself some time to think about the excellent conversations we had, I thought I would use this blog to highlight what I believe to be the major takeaways from the event. First, it became immediately apparent (at least to me) that the IP Transition is not a discrete issue; instead, Continue Reading »