Brett Glass runs Lariat.net – a small, Wireless Internet Service Provider in Laramie, Wyoming. Brett uses “free” FCC Part 15 spectrum (which rests within the “wi-fi bands”) to deliver broadband services to his customers.

Earlier this week, Brett flew from Wyoming to Washington, DC, to have a visit with FCC officials and legislators on the Hill. He does not want to be here. But, new spectrum policy is in the offing at the FCC, which could affect his viability.  And, of course, the perennial matter of Net Neutrality remains a hot topic, too.  Both issues demand he voice his concerns to policymakers in person, hopefully boosting the odds they hear and then better understand how their policies affect small companies like Brett’s.

The Obama-era Net Neutrality rule hit Glass particularly hard. It put Lariat.net, which was once virtually unregulated, in the same ballpark as America’s largest, heavily regulated ISPs. Not only did it impose needless, time-consuming government paperwork on Brett, it tied his hands on how he could manage his broadband facilities to serve his customers; it forced him to subsidize companies like Google and Netflix, which got a free ride / access to his customer base without any monetary remuneration; and it jacked-around with his investors, who saw the Obama rule as undermining the value of Brett’s business.

Brett Glass – Laramie, Wyoming’s WISP maverick, visiting the FCC earlier this week.

And – with that battle far from being over – it brought him here, again, away from helping his customers and growing his business, adding yet more to the cost of that specious rule.

The new Restoring Internet Freedom rules seek to change that. They will let the marketplace and “light touch” regulation guide the Internet’s growth, development and access opportunities, like it was in the halcyon days of broadband growth and uptake, from 2005 – 2015.

I like Brett, but let me be honest. I hope he spends more time in Laramie than in DC. If he succeeds there, so, too, will the growth of the Internet for all Americans.

Let’s keep Brett in Laramie.

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I wrote the the following piece, which was published in NewsMax on January 27, 2018:

New Year, New Net Neutrality Propaganda

On Monday, Montana’s Governor Steve Bullock signed an executive order (EO) forcing broadband providers to abide by repealed Obama-era Title II net neutrality rules if they want to do business with the state. It is the first such EO/rule in the nation.

If one reads a little further, however, the EO affects more than just the relationship between contractors and Montana’s Department of Administration. To win a contract, an internet service provider (ISP) must not only provide “net neutrality-compliant services” to the state, it must do so for all consumers it serves there, too. Consequently, Bullock’s EO blocks interstate commerce, essentially gutting the current FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom (RIF) rule, which is the law of the land.

Though Montana’s order will likely be challenged in court, RT reports that if successful “it could be a method adopted by other states and become a national standard like auto emission rules, cybersecurity notification laws, or GMO food labels.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, California, Washington and New York have all jumped into the fray, parroting similar tactics and proposals to impose state net neutrality regulations onto the borderless Internet.

They are all infirm for four main reasons:

  • Though states are generally free to enact reasonable policies governing how they procure private sector services, the artificial limitations which mandate “Internet Neutrality” for state procurement of broadband cheats taxpayers by denying government the best choice of technology to serve the public’s needs. Politically-driven ideology – such as Obama’s draconian Title II regulation – distorts the marketplace and its efforts to deliver wide-open choice at the lowest cost for taxpayers.
  • When the rules get challenged in court, those courts will universally find that their application to the consumer marketplace has been pre-empted by the FCC’s new RIF rules, which properly (and soundly) replaced the prior FCC’s misguided Title II net neutrality law. Quite simply, the FCC occupies this field of interstate commerce, which the “Montana tactics” unconstitutionally obstruct.
  • The “digital divide” in those states will continue to yawn because Obama-era policies stunt infrastructure investment. Industry stats show that while those rules were in effect, that investment fell by billions. This kept disadvantaged markets in the dark, thwarting growth where it was needed most. The RIF rule reverses that debilitating trend, providing greater incentive for companies to invest, build and innovate. It obviates the confiscation that lies at the heart of Obama’s net neutrality law, returning the Internet to “light touch” regulation which, before that, so successfully built the ‘Net for all Americans.
  • The tactics are needless, being already policed by the advance of technology, voluntary industry peer group and standards-setting organizations, thriving intermodal competition, brand management, media reporting, consumer transparency tools, and current federal law enforcement practices – all of which adequately protect consumers and society from bad behavior.

Back-dooring rejected policy at the state level is counterproductive and helps no one.

The Trump FCC has spoken, and it has rightfully repealed Obama’s Title II net neutrality law.
Though many believe that net neutrality was never a real problem in the first place, the politics of the matter point to two fora where resolution must be found – Congress and/or the Supreme Court of the United States. It is in one of these two branches where this issue must finally rest. Wild West, “Montana tactics” shall not determine federal communications policy.

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Net Neutrality Cowards

by Mike Wendy on January 5, 2018

Yesterday, Recode reported that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai would not be attending the annual Consumer Electronics Association mega show in Las Vegas due to death threats.

This is not the first time he’s experienced such intimidation and abuse. Since May, after the Chairman announced the FCC would work to repeal Title II Net Neutrality, Pai has been subjected to a withering onslaught of racist screed and threats to his and his family’s safety. On the day the FCC voted to repeal Title II Net Neutrality in December, the vote was stopped briefly, and the hearing room temporarily evacuated, because of a phoned-in bomb threat (the attached pictures at left show an unprecedented security presence for the Net Neutrality vote in December, with bomb sniffing dogs and IED inspections among other tactics used to secure the FCC building and its occupants).

Dangerous cowards.

And hypocrites, too. The very people who want free speech for the Internet want to shut down free speech when the tide shifts away from their stance.

Net Neutrality policy deserves open, thoughtful – and, yes, safe – debate. It is time leaders pushing Net Neutrality (including the publications which handsomely profit off of exciting the pro-Net Neutrality nuts) stand up and condemn these acts.

Silence means acceptance.

That is unacceptable.

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The following statement may be attributed to Mike Wendy, President of MediaFreedom.org:

Alexandria, VA, December 14, 2017 – MediaFreedom congratulates the FCC for Restoring Internet Freedom today. In doing so, it returns the American communications landscape to the 45-plus year deregulatory trajectory which helped make the commercial Internet one of the most amazing, life-bettering communications tools since the Gutenberg printing press.

Importantly, it overturns the prior Commission’s cynical and heavy-handed Title II, utility-styled regulation of the Internet. That 19th Century framework was always-ever inapt for today’s converged communications marketplace. Not only did it greatly distort the marketplace by giving Silicon Valley a needless leg-up to “compete,” it gave “media reform” elites the force of law to control and censor speech they do not favor.

Good riddance to that deleterious, freedom-killing scheme.

The sky won’t fall. It will stay high up above us via the advance of technology, vibrant intermodal competition, industry peer group and standards-setting organizations, consumer transparency tools, and pre-Open Internet / Net Neutrality Order law enforcement practices. Together, this “light touch” framework will protect against real harm to the marketplace and society. It worked astoundingly well before, and it will again.

Liberated from un-needed Net Neutrality regulation, the return to Internet freedom will bring about more infrastructure investment, increased competition, a proliferation of new products and services, a renewed flowering of unfettered free expression, and a further closing of the digital divide. Stated differently, it will deliver real prosperity and liberty to all Americans, not just the barons of Silicon Valley and progressive policymakers.

The FCC’s actions today are a declaration of independence from the shackles of the prior Commission’s agency-constricted marketplace.  Still, the back-and-forth of the administrative process remains. To this end, we call on Congress to use today’s positive developments as a way to arrive at bi-partisan legislation, uniting all sides with an updated path to guide the future growth of the Internet for consumers and society.

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News Outlet-Cum-Advocacy Group CNET Comes Clean: Net Neutrality Is About Regulating the Internet

December 12, 2017

We’ve been told from its inception that Net Neutrality wasn’t about “regulating the Internet.”  Here’re some choice quotes from an old piece I wrote a couple years back to remind you: [Then] Public Knowledge’s Gigi Sohn: “The commission is in no way regulating the Internet. It was merely attempting to return to a modest level […]

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50,000 “Missing” Complaints

December 7, 2017

A handful of Senate Democrats (and others, like FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel) have made some headlines lately about 50,000 consumer complaints “missing” from the Restoring Internet Freedom (RIF) rule making docket. This PR stunt – designed as part of the last-ditch efforts to delay the FCC’s upcoming RIF vote next week – was inspired by […]

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MediaFreedom Hails Senate-passed Tax Reform Package

December 2, 2017

The following statement may be attributed to Mike Wendy, President of MediaFreedom.org: Alexandria, VA, December 2, 2017 – MediaFreedom congratulates the U.S. Senate for passing its tax reform package early this morning. This legislation will help American companies of all sizes remain competitive, innovative and strong; and it will put more money back into the […]

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Restoring Internet Freedom Proposal a Win for Consumers, Society, Innovation, Free Speech

November 22, 2017

Yesterday, FCC chairman Ajit Pai began circulating among his other Commissioners a draft of the pending Restoring Internet Freedom rule to be voted on in December. Though details are few, this is what we know from the Chairman’s own words: “…Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet. Instead, the FCC would […]

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Net Neutrality’s Crony Cacophony Is Out of Tune with Free Enterprise

November 15, 2017

Here are the perils of crony-driven policy as exemplified by Senator Al Franken. In the run-up to the Obama-Wheeler-Sohn Net Neutrality rule in the Summer of 2014, Senator Franken led the chorus, singing the praises of Google (and, by extension, Silicon Valley) and “simple” Net Neutrality – a policy designed by progressives to help, er, […]

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MediaFreedom Urges FCC to Preempt State and Local Laws to Restore Internet Freedom

November 14, 2017

MediaFreedom submitted the following letter to the FCC: November 13, 2017 Marlene H. Dortch Secretary Federal Communications Commission 445 12th Street, SW Washington, DC 20554 VIA ECFS                Re: Restoring Internet Freedom, WC Docket No. 17-108 Dear Ms. Dortch: News reports and other sources reveal that the pending Restoring […]

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