On the day that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 had its 20th anniversary (on Feb. 8th), I was able to catch up with Precursor Group’s Scott Cleland, who used the occasion to call for an update of the Communications Act. Below attached is that video chat, as well as a transcript of the brief discussion.

Scott Cleland: We really need an update of the Communications Act. And the reason is is the FCC has come along and tried to modernize the 1934 Communications Act. And it really isn’t the FCC’s, or three Commissioners’ authority, to do that. They have arbitrarily modernized it in a crony-captalism way where they’ve picked winners and picked losers. And so, it’s a moving goalpost problem that causes tremendous legal problems, tremendous business problems. You know, it’s really created a mess. And Congress has to, at some point, step in and clean it up. We need to have a 21st Century Communications Act. Because the Internet operates nothing like the old telephone system. The whole thing is obsolete, and the longer it’s kept, the more it’s going to distort, disrupt and destroy the communications system in the United States. All throughout the economy, the Internet, and the 21st Century, and just a different economy require different laws. As things change, you update the law to meet existing circumstances. And then you create a law based on principles that can last. You don’t do it based on an assumption that when you legislate, that the world will always stay that way.

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India drinks free-culture’s Kool-Aid with this announcement today:

Monday marked a special day for net neutrality in India after the telecom regulator banned all differential pricing, which experts believe will serve as a model case for Internet regulation across the world…

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India barred differential pricing of data products, implying that controversial zero-rated products such as Facebook’s Free Basics and Airtel Zero won’t be allowed to be offered in the country.

“No service provider shall offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on basis of content,” Trai said in a statement.

MediaFreedom believes this myopic policy will doom the country’s hundreds-of-millions who do not have Internet access.  Quite simply, India’s new mandate means the digital divide will never be bridged in that country because regulators have confiscated the incentive out of it to do so. If this policy represents a model for the developing world, then it, too, will suffer the same fate.

Differential pricing is what makes and grows markets. It is a common tool used in every sector of all economies to develop products and services for consumers. Profit, driven by the ability of private parties to use their property in reasonable ways, has brought billions of individuals out of the dark ages with ever-increasing standards of living.  It has also boosted individual liberty, providing a powerful force against oppression and tyranny.

Indian policymakers, as well as the elites who have hijacked this debate, believe market dynamics are superfluous, however. In their eyes, regulators are better positioned to control the marketplace than the millions of consumers and decisions they make every moment of the day. Consequently, India has taken a giant step backwards, shackling its people with Net Neutrality that will only perpetuate its digital divide, and yes, poverty.

Other policymakers must resist this false economy.

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As the FCC tells it, the President’s Net Neutrality law protects and grows the so-called Open Internet by promoting the “virtuous circle” driven by edge innovation and consumer demand.

Seems of late, however, that the edge ain’t pulling its weight on this one.

Stocks reflect bets on future growth. Seems the market thinks Silicon Valley isn't capable of generating much of it for the foreseeable future.

Stocks reflect bets on future growth. Seems the market thinks Silicon Valley isn’t capable of generating much of it for the foreseeable future.

The quote below from a USA Today story today says it all:

The signs that the second great Internet investment bubble was nearing its end have been there for months for those who know where to look.

“Those included the decrease in funding rounds for private startups valued at $1 billion or more; more tech startups, including Uber, having to go overseas to raise money at higher valuations; and prominent venture capitalists writing blog posts encouraging more private companies to go public sooner than later.

“All these suggested that big U.S. investors were beginning to turn up their noses at Internet valuations.

“Now, thanks to the worst start of a year for technology stocks since the Great Recession, these more-obscure data points have been confirmed by a more glaring one:

“The ongoing slaughter in public Internet valuations.”

Though the President and the three partisan commissioners on his “independent” FCC will never tell you this, Net Neutrality is a carefully designed government handout / subsidy to Silicon Valley from ISPs and everyday consumers. It is a distortion to benefit political allies, such as the half-trillion-dollar Google, etc.

Like all such government schemes, it cannot be sustained because it was rotten from the start.

The ongoing failure in the edge’s share of the “virtuous circle” might be why Silicon Valley has seemingly doubled-down on its efforts to get the FCC to further rig markets in its favor – as in the recent ALLVid proposal, and in calls to ban ISPs from competing against Big Internet Ad Agency Google.

Expect more to come, as these government-dependent cretins seek ever-greater favors from Uncle Sam to keep the gravy train going.

What’s that screeching I hear, Casey Jones?

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With each day, it’s becoming ever-clearer exactly who the President’s Net Neutrality law protects and subsidizes.

Take a look at this declaration of war on ad-blocking software made the other day by Randall Rothenberg, chief honcho at the (Google-supported) Interactive Advertising Bureau:

“…I hate the ad-block profiteers…[because their] technologies indiscriminately obstruct competitive pricing data, information about product features, vital political opinions, site content, user options, public interest communications, and other intelligence necessary for the functioning of democratic capitalist societies.”

Rothenberg later admits that the industry brought ad-blocking on itself, and that many consumers want to limit ads pouring through websites, clogging their devices. But, this is for his group to solve, and no one else. If an ISP were to block ads for consumers, Heck No! screams the IAB. That would be a violation of Net Neutrality’s no-blocking rule. Those ads are free speech, and they must go through. No ISP is going to get in the way of that.

Too bad for consumers.  ISPs could make their experience better, but the (Net Neutrality) law says Nope.

This should surprise no one. A little over a week ago, a gaggle of (Google-supported) “public interest” groups essentially urged the FCC to use its new Net Neutrality powers and prohibit ISPs from freely using the data they collect from their networks. Why, you ask? They want to ban ISP competition with Big Internet Ad Agency Google, because, well, the law demands it.

Competitors not allowed.  Again, too bad for consumers.  (See a trend here?)

You won’t hear any of this advertised by Google, which bought a rule from the President and his “independent” FCC that is the ultimate blocking software / code – Net Neutrality.  The regulation deceives the average Josephina into thinking that it actually promotes the “public interest,” but it very purposely, and effectively, impedes the competitive pricing data and free flow of intelligence, among other things, needed to successfully guide markets for consumers.  In walling-off a whole piece of the information ecosystem from competing with it – i.e., ISPs – Net Neutrality represents a massive, perpetual subsidy to the half-trillion dollar Google (now the “most valuable” company in the world).  It is a tool of war designed to crush competition, not promote consumer welfare.

Hearing claims to the contrary would be false advertising.

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“Virtuous Circle” Reveals Itself as Broken at FCC’s Open Meeting on 706 Report

January 29, 2016

According to the FCC, “The Internet’s openness enables a virtuous circle of innovation in which new uses of the network lead to increased end-user demand for broadband, which drives network improvements.” The FCC has used this so-called “virtuous circle” theory as the underpinning of Section 706 of the Communications Act and its call for the […]

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Net Neutrality v2.0 – Google Demands the FCC Ban ISP Data Traffic Competition

January 27, 2016

Google is an Internet ad company. A huge one. That’s its primary, profit-making gig. All the other stuff – like self-driving cars, or fiber, or running your home heating system, etc. – well, those ventures bring in peanuts. Ads, built on massive data collection, is its cash cow. _____ Late last week, several Google-funded “pubic […]

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FOIA Is Broken – Especially at the FCC, Notes New Congressional Report

January 15, 2016

The U.S. House of Representatives published a report earlier this week which is highly critical of the Administration’s and its agencies’ use of the FOIA process to get information out to the public.  The title tells it all: FOIA Is Broken. Importantly (and sadly), the FCC  featured prominently in the document, among other things, filling […]

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Dealer Wins (for now) on Bogus Claim That the FCC Can’t Regulate the Edge via Net Neutrality

January 11, 2016

Last week at the annual CES show in Las Vegas, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler made news. In a keynote interview with CES’ Gary Shapiro, the two got to talking about Internet privacy, wherein this important exchange happened: Shapiro: …[A] couple of years ago nobody ever thought that Title II applied to the Internet. And then […]

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Big Cable Is a Classroom Bully and Won’t Share Unlicensed Spectrum

January 6, 2016

Big Cable is a classroom bully who hates to see his fellow classmates thrive. He’s hoarding gobs of unlicensed spectrum, hoping he can thwart innovation in order to benefit him and no one else. He won’t share, and he wants the FCC to help keep it that way, demanding that the agency make his competitors […]

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Google’s Project Fi Violates Net Neutrality

January 5, 2016

What if AT&T said the only way you could use its broadband service was through a special, proprietary device / handset that only it made and provided, locking out other competitive ways to access its network? You’d cry foul, right? I mean, everyone knows that the President, er, the FCC has outlawed device blocking with […]

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