Is the Virgin Islands government slowing down broadband deployment?

Posted March 28th, 2011 in Broadband and tagged , , by Alton Drew

The Virgin Islands Daily News reported back on 25 March 2011 that the U.S. Virgin Islands legislature decided to send a bill that would have authorized $42 million in bond financing for broadband. According to the article, legislators had a problem with what senators considered as excessive spending for the project.

According to testimony from the staff of the V.I Next Generation Network, the agency responsible for building out the broadband network in the V.I., although $29 million in financing can build the network, the agency would need up to $42 million to make it fully operational.

If there is any jurisdiction that needs to adopt broadband technology, it’s the V.I. Opportunities are naturally limited due to geography. Too many of the young people there are faced with the decision of staying home or going “off island” to find opportunities.

I ought to know. I was born and raised in St. Thomas.

Given the amount of talent that we have in all three islands, and the alternative communications platform that can prove beneficial to an insular area, this is an opportunity that should not be passed up on.

Why do these left wing communists always believe blacks are on the take?

Posted March 25th, 2011 in AT&T, mobile telephone, spectrum, wireless communications and tagged , , by Alton Drew

I responded today to an article in The Hillicon Valley that insinuates that blacks are on the take from AT&T because we happen to support the merger. Please. Give us a break.

The bottom line is that AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile puts them in an ideal position to do even more for the African American community in terms of service. As a black man living in the West End section of Atlanta, a predominantly black area of the city, AT&T provides telecommunications and broadband services. The merger allows them to obtain the additional spectrum needed to meet the growing demand for wireless services. Messrs. Hollis and Alford are correct that we use a disproportionately greater amount of wireless services than other ethnic groups. Our community is apparently more concerned about reducing the number of dropped calls and increasing the bandwidth necessary to improve the services we are getting.

I firmly believe that the left wing commenters on this post would rather see blacks stay in the dark ages and remain the loyal constintuency of a group of grassroots liberals who for too long have been using us as their cause celeb instead of objectively advocating for our concerns.

We are smart enough to know which mergers will result in the synergies that will eventually benefit us. I think its the left that takes for granted our intelligence and for some reason feel free to insult us with condescending tones and their ivory tower attitudes.

I like the Heritage Foundation’s outside the box thinking on AT&T and T-Mobile

Posted March 23rd, 2011 in Uncategorized and tagged , , by Alton Drew

The Heritage Foundation has hit this issue right on the nail head. The unjustified notion that big is bad introduces unnecessary regulatory review, which amounts to unnecessary delay in getting innovative products to market. As a former regulator, I saw the unnecessary and time consuming hoops that telecommunications firms were forced to jump through in the name of “consumer protection.”

It’s time that the FCC abandon the “regulate the behavior” school of thought and look at resource allocation from an optimizing view point. In other words, if the transaction gets spectrum into the hands of the party that makes the best and efficient use of it, then allow the transfer at the fastest speed.

Government, as manager of the economy, is supposed to look for optimal use of resources. It’s not supposed to use regulation as an optimal noose around the neck of innovation.

Genachowski: Saying the right words. Will he take the right actions

I am perusing Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski’s fact sheet from his remarks at the CTIA 2011 Wireless Conference in Orlando, Florida. I am so tempted to go Mickey Mouse on the FCC, but that would be cheesy. Ooops.

Seriously, Mr. Genachowski makes some arguments that completely support the premise behind AT&T, Inc.’s purchase of T-Mobile USA. For example, Chairman Genachowski cited the forecasted increase in data traffic expected over the next five years. The chairman pegs it at 35 times today’s traffic. AT&T cites this as one of the primary reasons behind acquiring T-Mobile.

Chairman Genachowski cited the increase in the number of downloads in apps. He cited 5 billion downloads in 2010 compared to 300 million in 2009. Again, this supports AT&T’s argument about the constraints on its network due to increased data traffic.

Chairman Genachowski also reiterated the FCC’s position, first expressed by the chairman in December 2010, that the FCC intends to remove unnecessary regulations that impeded bringing innovative products to the market. Well, the chairman should be pleased that AT&T is using a time honored, free market technique, acquisition, to avoid additional barriers to entry thus speeding up the process for getting new product to market.

Yes, Chairman Genachowski is saying the right things. He should take actions that back them up. No one is saying that the FCC should shirk its responsibilities for reviewing this transaction. The FCC should, however, consider fast-tracking its review. AT&T estimates and other analysts have concluded that the process may take twelve months. I don’t see the need for such a prolonged process. With agitators like Free Press and Public Knowledge chomping at the bit to intervene in the FCC’s review, and the size of the transaction, we shouldn’t expect a review of a few months either.

Hopefully the FCC can identify a “third way approach to approving the acquisition. Twelve months is a generation in the world of broadband.

Why do we even need antitrust laws in the first place?

The bigger question surrounding the regulatory review of AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile USA is, why the government intervention at all. Granted we won’t get rid of the Clayton and Sherman Acts overnight, but it still begs the question why, if no market failure has been shown, are we even regulating this transaction? There are three to five alternative service providers in major markets. If the consumer thinks MetroPCS, Sprint, or Verizon can provide better service, let them vote with their wallets.