The Wall Street Journal reports today that:

“Google parent Alphabet Inc. is rethinking its high-speed internet business after initial rollouts proved more expensive and time consuming than anticipated, a stark contrast to the fanfare that greeted its launch six years ago…

“…Now the company is hoping to use wireless technology to connect homes, rather than cables, in about a dozen new metro areas, including Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas, according to people familiar with the company’s plans. As a result Alphabet has suspended projects in San Jose, Calif., and Portland, Ore.

“Meanwhile, the company is trying to cut costs and accelerate its expansion elsewhere by leasing existing fiber or asking cities or power companies to build the networks instead of building its own.”

And, really, why would Google build anything when it can free-ride off of others’ facilities – which it acknowledges are expensive to build – via confiscatory FCC policies. You know, Net Neutrality public utility regulation, and its Section 706 bretheren.

Wasn’t Net Neutrality supposed to promote investment in broadband networks? If FCC policy is so great, why isn’t Google realizing its vapor-ware, press release promises and building-out its Fiber dream?

Deregulatory Metamucil could help, of course.  But the Commission has sworn-off of the stuff.

Not surprisingly, it turns out that guys like Hal Singer might be right (noted in the tweet below). Instead of boosting broadband deployment as the Agency swore would happen, its eminent domain / Kelo regime looks to be pushing facilities investment into a downward trajectory.

Of course, Google’s doing just what anyone might do in its shoes. Why build when you can have Uncle Sam steal it for you?

The five-finger discount is cheaper, eh?  For Google, yes.  But for the marketplace, not so much.

Hand me the toilet paper, please.  The FCC’s Net Neutrality policy is messy business.

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Yesterday, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out a controversial FCC order which sought to preempt taxpayer protection laws in North Carolina and Tennessee that checked the expansion of muni-provided broadband networks in their states. In short, the 6th Circuit said the FCC lacked clear authority from Congress to preempt core state functions via Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act.

The ruling is a welcome win for our side – for taxpayers, consumers, the broadband marketplace, the Constitution, Federalism – one which we predicted would fail for its massive overreach (even the Administration saw this as a bridge too far). Moreover, it is an important limit on the seemingly unbounded Section 706 – the same section which gave birth to the present Net Neutrality / Title II public utility regime that regulates the Internet.

Here’s the 6th Circuit’s opinion.

And below are MediaFreedom’s initial comments filed at the FCC urging against preemption.

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MediaFreedom Urges FCC to Reject Muni-Broadband Preemption Petitions

by MIKE WENDY on AUGUST 30, 2014

In late July, Chattanooga broadband provider, EPB, and the City of Wilson, North Carolina, asked the FCC to preempt their state laws, which limit where they can serve customers. This matter was put up for public comment by the FCC, and MediaFreedom filed the attached comments with the agency on Friday.

In this filing, we urge the FCC to reject the request of EPB and the City of Wilson because:

  • The FCC lacks the authority to preempt such state laws;
  • The states have a constitutional right to protect taxpayers by limiting muni-provided broadband;
  • Muni-provided broadband runs contrary to the pro-competition goals of the Communications Act;
  • The FCC can effectuate the rollout of broadband in a less constitutionally offensive manner, with present authority and regulatory reforms; and
  • Government’s spotty IT track record urges caution for the FCC in promoting government-provided broadband.

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COMMENTS OF MEDIAFREEDOM

On July 24, 2014, the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the City of Wilson, North Carolina (herein Petitioners) filed petitions asking that the Federal Communications Commission preempt pursuant to Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (‘96 Act) portions of Tennessee and North Carolina state statutes, which limit their ability to provide broadband services. On July 28, 2014, the FCC established a pleading cycle for these proceedings, putting the matter out for public comment. MediaFreedom[1] believes the FCC lacks the proper authority to preempt state law as urged, and thus respectfully asks that the Commission reject the Petitioners’ request. [click to continue…]

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Wi-Fi Playdates

by Mike Wendy on August 7, 2016

My youngest daughter’s playdates often have a good mix of IT in them. She and her friends usually end-up (or remain on, depending on the weather) one of our 10 Wi-Fi connected devices, gaming, watching YouTube, or creating things with each other. They can spend hours laughing, sharing and playing on those devices.

The other day, a friend of hers who recently moved across the country FaceTimed my daughter while she and her local playdate (pictured below) were having fun on a popular online kids game. Within a minute after the Wi-Fi call started, all three were connected, playing in the same game.

Amazing. Really. The continued communion. The bridged distance. The laughter, stretching 2,400 miles long…

…And, of course, the ecosystem of technology – made better by Wi-Fi – which brings and keeps my daughter and her friends together, no matter where they are.

My daughter's Wi-Fi playdate, featuring a FaceTime call (perched on the left side of the laptop screen) from a friend of hers recently moved to Oregon.

My daughter’s Wi-Fi playdate, featuring a FaceTime call (with an iPhone perched on the left side of the laptop screen) from a friend of hers who recently moved to Oregon.

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I’m on the coupon patrol again.

I came across this interesting coupon (below) from a purchase I made at Safeway today. I bought only food items – not motor oil. Oddly (or, perhaps not so), I got my car fixed at NTB last week. And then this coupon materializes at the supermarket.

Whatever the relationship is between Safeway, NTB and me (through my purchasing data), well, I welcome it. It benefits me. I’ll get our car’s oil changed there next time to take advantage of the savings offered by the coupon.

An oil change coupon via Safeway? Yep. Consumers want this type of information. Shouldn't that be for ISPs and their customers, too?

An oil change coupon via Safeway? Yep. Consumers want this type of information. Shouldn’t that be for ISPs and their customers, too?

Now, if an Internet access provider did something like this on the Web, the FCC’s proposed privacy rules (amped by its Net Neutrality powers), would essentially ban that. After all, the Commission believes consumers need to be protected from…

…targeted, truthful, beneficial commercial information.

How can digital coupons from Internet access providers be so harmful? I mean, the FCC says it wants to protect consumers. How can it do that by limiting…

…targeted, truthful, beneficial commercial information?

That’s not consumer protection. As John Oliver might say (I paraphrase), that’s consumer buggery (minus the lubrication – ouch!).

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To Censor the Robots, Telecoms Have Editorial Control. For Net Neutrality? Well, Not So Much

July 25, 2016

The FCC’s Net Neutrality regulations prohibit content blocking and paid priority arrangements, among other things. The FCC believes that this is no big deal because Internet / telecom providers do not have First Amendment rights. In the Agency’s eyes, access providers lack editorial control, being essentially conduits and not much more. A mute pipe to […]

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FCC Wants Consumers to Have Less Good Information, Not More, with Its Balkanizing Privacy Proposal

July 19, 2016

I went to the supermarket the other day and bought some Sanpellegrino soda water. After the purchase at the cash register I got a coupon (below) for a dollar off the next time I would buy that same item at the store. The coupon is an example of a priority arrangement between the store and […]

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Picture Finds Web Regardless of FCC Net Neutrality

July 7, 2016

We were on our way home from Florida on the Fourth of July when we pulled into a gas station in the low country of South Carolina. I took this shot (below) behind a fireworks shop after filing up with gas. We made our way back onto I-95, traveling at about 70 mph. I sat […]

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Rough Road ahead If We Keep Letting the FCC Write the Law

June 21, 2016

Last week’s Net Neutrality ruling highlights the dangers of letting agencies “write” law. The FCC took a loophole in the present law and then went for the brass ring, using legislation that was designed to deregulate communications markets – that’s right, take regulations off the books – to selectively hyper-regulate ISPs with 19th-Century, natural-monopoly law. […]

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Pro-Consumer Bypass Will Soon Emerge Challenging FCC’s Net Neutrality Law

June 17, 2016

This week’s Court ruling affirms – so far – that Net Neutrality is the law of the land. It will be at least a year-and-a-half before this can be challenged, and that outcome realized, via another DC Circuit appeal, or at the Supreme Court. Of course, clear congressional legislation overturning the ruling would be nicer, […]

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Court Affirms FCC Internet Power Grab, Putting the American Consumer on the Losing End

June 14, 2016

The following statement may be attributed to Mike Wendy, President of MediaFreedom.org: Today, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the FCC’s Internet power-grab, ruling that the Agency’s most recent Net Neutrality Order remains the law of the land. What is clear from the lengthy and detailed ruling is this: the FCC now holds the […]

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