Access to broadband is not a function of money raised by congressmen

Maybe I think a bit too linearly, but what does donations received by a politician have to do with increasing consumer welfare?

Consumer welfare? What’s that? Isn’t that what Free Press is talking about when it banters around the notion of consumer protection?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Attacking a congressman on the issue of money he received from a corporation may be good tabloid fodder, but in the world of public policy, it’s pointless.

Free Press should be concerned about consumers realizing increased levels of broadband services for the same level of price. Free Press should be concerned about increasing consumer surplus. Regulation has never brought that about.

Net neutrality is not reasonable oversight

Posted May 28th, 2010 in FCC, Government Regulation, net neutrality and tagged , , , by Alton Drew

Free Press’ Josh Silver refers to the position of net neutrality opponents, such as former Tennessee U.S. Representative Harold Ford, as blind abandonment of reasonable government oversight.

Blind abandonment of reasonable government oversight?

Forgetting the tenuous arguments against Mr. Ford’s position on net neutrality, net neutrality is far from reasonable oversight. Such a policy will only create negative social costs in the form of reduced availability of services and higher costs.

In addition, Mr. Silver’s interpretation of the United States Court of Appeal’s ruling in favor of Comcast is incorrect. The Federal Communications Commission is still fully in charge of the nation’s interstate communications network. What the FCC is not in charge of, and rightfully so, is how a broadband provider may manage its network.

I agree that for a significant number of people, especially unserved and underserved minority communities, broadband specifically, and the Internet in general, is not affordable. Driving up the costs of network management, however, will not solve the affordability problem.

Response to Rucker’s targeting of 8 CBC members

The unfortunate thing about a vigorous policy discussion is that the silly season of politics will eventually raise its head. Color of Changes’ James Rucker has taken the net neutrality discussion on this path by declaring war on eight members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Mr. Rucker insinuates in his piece to The Huffington Post that the opposition to net neutrality as expressed by these eight congressmen is somehow based on the financial support they allegedly received from a number of telecommunications companies.

I am not naïve about the influence peddling in Washington, but to argue that the members of the Caucus are unable to draw their own conclusions simply because they are not sipping the net neutrality kool-aid is insulting.

Maybe what these congressmen realize is that the politicking of net neutrality advocates hides the real cost of net neutrality. Maybe they realize that the negative costs of reduced facilities deployment and increased subscriber fees may be too much to bear especially for the unserved and underserved minority communities these congressmen are concerned about.

Too bad Color of Change is too busy quantifying campaign donations instead of the negative social costs of net neutrality.

If pro-market advocates are store fronts, Free Press is a mall

Posted May 25th, 2010 in Broadband, FCC, Government Regulation, net neutrality and tagged , , by Alton Drew

Mike McCurry’s quote in his National Journal Magazine article regarding the disdain groups like Free Press have for corporations and capitalism is spot on. Isn’t Free Press a content provider? Why aren’t they out producing content for sale in the free market instead of seeking out taxpayer funded subsidies?

The answer is that Free Press believes that government intervention is the only way to ensure serving consumers even in the face of no market failure. Advocating for regulations that would require a start-up Internet protocol television provider serving apartment buildings to disclose its management practices could only come from groups who are anti-market and anti-innovation.

Sorry but I just can’t buy the Astroturf argument. If groups that advocate for no regulation of the Internet are store front groups for the telecoms, then Free Press is synonymous to the Mall of America with Google as its biggest tenant.

Free Press violating its own freedom of expression standards

Posted May 25th, 2010 in Broadband, net neutrality and tagged , , , by Alton Drew

A recent Huffington Post entry by Navarrow Wright makes me wonder if Free Press should change its moniker to My Press.  It is shear hypocrisy for Free Press to limit debate on its own website the way it does.

Am I surprised? Of course not. This is the same Free Press that has the support of Google. Google was recently exposed by The New York Times for its failure to practice what it preaches. In Google’s case the world’s largest search engine favors its own content such as Google Maps, YouTube, and other Google local directories over the content of other information providers.

Free Press is apparently moving in lockstep with its open network partner in crime by limiting online debate. Thanks to Mr. Wright for shedding light on Free Press’ double standard.