Former FCC commissioner to Washington: "You should be ashamed of yourself"

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Hear! Hear!

But only those with a conscience can feel shame, right? That leaves out 99.99% of Washington.
Maybe I understated those figures.

As opposed to the views of former Bush IT policy dude (and not-so-former telecom shill) Scott Cleland, who blogs that all we need is more markets and freedom and America:

I ripped him a new one in the comments.

Copps, I love you, man!

(I don’t suppose C-SPAN was taping? It’d be great to see and especially the sourpuss audience reaction.)

Well, he’s right about them needing to be ashamed. They should be ashamed of creating a problem, and the proposing additional regulation to “solve it” (make it worse). They do need to do something, but the “something” they need to is get rid of their own rules … of course, that would make them irrelevant, so it’ll never happen.

The “Create problem” was them removing regulations?

I’m confused as to how you understand the current issues with what’s discussed in the topic.

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No - the problem was monopolistic regulation in the first place. The whole thing with telecoms not sharing lines and not permitting overlapping networks is a device of the FCC’s own making (and their predecessors). The Kingsbury Commitment in 1913 established AT&T as the government-enforced monopolist, and the FCC cemented their monopoly in 1934. Even when AT&T was broken up in 1984, it was just dividing the monopoly up into pieces, without permitting actual competition on the lines.

To this day, you can run (one) cable wire right next to a telephone wire, but you can’t run a telephone wire next to a telephone wire, or a cable wire next to a cable wire - largely because of the FCC. The lack of competition is entirely their doing in their quest to guarantee the profits of telecoms, censor radio and television, and generally stamp out anything resembling a disruptive technology.

That’s what makes this whole campaign so hilarious - the FCC is literally the exact opposite of neutral, and the last government agency you want regulating anything that has to do with fairness, free speech, or competition. If the “Net Neutrality” people get their way, they are going to kill the Internet in the name of making it better.

Really? It’s illegal to run parallel telephone connections to a residence? Do you have a reference? I would love to bring legal action against Verizon. We’re now up to five lines.

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My personal experience is the exact opposite. Shortly after the last court ruling against “Net Neutrality” my performance from Verizon noticeably declined (stalled connections). Adding insult to injury they raised my price a few dollars a month without notice.

I’m starting to suspect you are a tool of the internet service provider industry. Is that true? Are you a tool?


I don’t think he is. I think he’s a libertarian who doesn’t understand the concept of natural monopolies. In his world, each company would run their own set of data wires, electrical wires, water pipes, sewer pipes, etc.


Ask yourself this question: why don’t you have choices when it comes to replacing them, if you’re unhappy with your service? The answer to that question is, in large part, the FCC. The reason Verizon and the other providers can provide poor service at high cost is because there are few to no alternatives. That is a direct consequence of the FCC’s government-granted monopolies.

I understand the concept of natural monopolies just fine. But … the phone company has lines running to your house. The cable company has lines running to your house. In some places, now, Google has lines running to your house. Clearly, the concept of a natural monopoly does not apply - it is VERY obvious at this point that having multiple providers is not only possible, it’s technically trivial. The barriers that require a company the size of Google to overcome are political, and many of them are anchored on the FCC. It’s a happy accident that many people have internet access options at all, and that’s only because of the convergence of phone and cable networks - if the FCC had gotten their way, everyone would only have one option (and it wouldn’t be cable, which they tried to kill off in the 70’s at the behest of the broadcasters).

The FCC has a long and sordid history of cronyism, censorship, and trying to crush disruptive technologies. If you let them, they will do the same to the Internet.

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Exactly. The FCC is responsible for regulating the telecommunications industry. The FCC is failing to properly regulate the telecommunications industry. The problem stems from a failure of the FCC (and the FTC) to follow their mandate.

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The FCC has never been interested in “properly” regulating the telecommunications industry. Some of their first acts were forcing the anti-Roosevelt (and pro-fascist/anti-semitic) Father Coughlin off the air, censoring anti-Roosevelt editorials on the Yankee Radio Network in 1938, and attacking the budding FM radio transmitters at the behest of the incumbent AM transmitting RCA. The vast majority of their “work” has been to fine companies for violating their vague and capriciously enforced indecency regulations on radio and broadcast television, while trying to squash competition like low-power FM stations, cable television, and now the Internet.

Don’t get me wrong - the cable and telecom companies are definitely villains. But the idea that the FCC somehow opposes them is … well, ludicrous. The FCC is them. The FCC is the reason they are in a position to be abusive, and they are used to using the FCC to get their way because they’ve been doing it for decades.

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