Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Broadband’
May 18th, 2017 at 12:35 pm
CFIF Applauds FCC Vote to Advance NPRM to Restore Internet Freedom
Posted by Print
ALEXANDRIA, VA – Today, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) voted to advance a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the “Restoring Internet Freedom” proposal championed by Chairman Ajit Pai and Commisser Mike O’Reilly that would return federal internet regulatory policy to the light-touch approach that prevailed from the 1990s onward, until the Obama Administration FCC moved to reclassify the internet as a “public utility” in 2015.

In response, Center for Individual Freedom (“CFIF”) Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs Timothy Lee issued the following statement:

“Beginning in the 1990s, the internet flourished and transformed our world like no innovation in history for a simple reason:  Administrations of both political parties over two decades, beginning with Clinton/Gore, wisely chose a ‘light touch’ regulatory approach to the internet.

“Then in 2015, the Obama Administration FCC suddenly and radically reversed two decades of bipartisan consensus by moving to reclassify internet service as a ‘public utility’ under laws enacted in 1934 to regulate old-fashioned copper-wire telephone service.

There was no justification for that sudden reversal, and it was not based upon evidence, law or logic.  The internet obviously wasn’t ‘broken’ or in need of heavy-handed federal regulatory ‘fix.’  It was merely a scheme to extend government control over yet another sector of our economy.

“Nor was reclassifying the internet as a ‘public utility’ something the American public supports.  A recent Morning Consult survey confirms that an overwhelming and bipartisan 78% of voters prefer little or no government regulation of the internet, with only 12% favoring a heavy-handed regulatory approach.  A broad 51% to 33% majority believes that the internet shouldn’t be regulated as a public utility, and a two-to-one majority agrees that regulating the internet as a utility slows innovation and decreases private tech investment.

“Unfortunately, the Obama Administration FCC’s decision to reclassify the internet as some sort of Depression-era ‘public utility’ had immediate negative consequences, confirming the public’s expectation.  Domestic broadband capital expenditures declined by 5.6%, or some $3.6 billion, which marked the first time that such investment declined outside of a recession during the internet era.  That applied to both large and small internet service providers.

“Proponents of heavy-handed internet regulation continue to employ irrational scare tactics and hyperbole in their effort to regulate the internet more heavily, but their claims are contradicted by straightforward history and logic.  All reasonable people agree that the internet should remain free and open, which was how the internet operated for two decades across administrations of both parties under the light-touch regulatory approach.

“Accordingly, today’s FCC vote simply advances the ball to restore the bipartisan, light-touch regulatory consensus that existed for more than two decades.  This is precisely the sort of common sense that is badly needed in Washington, and CFIF applauds FCC Chairman Pai and Commissioner O’Rielly for moving to restore the regulatory wisdom that the American public overwhelmingly prefers.”

###

August 19th, 2016 at 2:58 pm
Local Media Attacks N.C. Senator Thom Tillis for Taking Correct Position on Gov’t Broadband
Posted by Print

Last week we applauded a federal Court of Appeals ruling upending an Obama FCC campaign to impose government broadband regulations across the country.  Specifically, the FCC had attempted to commandeer state authority to govern cities within their own borders by forcing them to allow local governments to foolishly enter the broadband business.

United States Senator Thom Tillis (R – North Carolina) hit the correct note in reaction to the ruling:  “Today’s ruling affirms the fact that unelected bureaucrats at the FCC completely overstepped their authority by attempting to deny states like North Carolina from setting their own laws to protect hard-working taxpayers and maintain the fairness of the free market.”

Unwilling to let Sen. Tillis’s good deed go unpunished, however, his hometown newspaper The News & Observer maligned him for taking the correct position.  Bizarrely, the paper even admits that local government broadband is a monetary boondoggle whose sustainability requires that funds be diverted from other sources, saying, “They couldn’t price the service at less than it cost to provide it and couldn’t use funds from other sources to subsidize broadband operations.”  The editorial also openly advocates treating broadband as a local public “utility” and laments how private enterprises that invest trillions of dollars in broadband infrastructure can continue to do so “without having to worry about towns competing with them.”

Well, duh.  In what universe is it a good idea to encourage governments to enter the private market, given their ability to bureaucratically tip the scales in their own favor and kneecap competing private entities?  Government at all levels already regulates too much, spends too much and attempts to do too much.  The last thing we need is for it to try to commandeer the functioning and innovative private broadband market.

It amounts to a flimsy hit piece from an editorial board that ought to know better.  We suspect its readers in North Carolina do.

March 31st, 2016 at 5:13 pm
FCC Moves Forward With Unfair and Unnecessary New Broadband “Privacy” Rules
Posted by Print

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today voted to move forward with consideration of proposed new “privacy” regulations targeted at Internet Service Providers (ISPs).  What follows is a statement by Center for Individual Freedom (CFIF) President Jeffrey Mazzella:

This latest effort by the FCC is nothing more than the Commission once again picking winners and losers in the marketplace. These regulations on ISPs do nothing to prevent the online data collection practices used profusely by others throughout the Internet economy, while constricting the development of new business practices and distorting the robust digital marketplace.

The prescriptive regulations voted on today also circumvent the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) expertise in this area. The FTC’s proven framework on privacy has worked to protect consumers for decades while encouraging the growth of the Internet we have today.

Rather than finding ways to cement the presence of FCC bureaucracy in our daily lives, the Commission should reconsider its regulations on so-called ‘privacy’ and instead focus on pro-growth solutions for a robust mobile marketplace.

###

March 10th, 2016 at 8:16 pm
Mississippi Should Not Gamble With Taxpayer Dollars

Five things Mississippi taxpayers should know and worry about the Gulf Coast “Fiber Optic Ring”

1)  A new plan proposes to use a portion of Mississippi’s British Petroleum (BP) oil spill settlement to build a government-owned broadband network in South Mississippi. The network or “Fiber Ring” would, in theory, connect a dozen Gulf Coast cities across three counties. Local officials estimate that it could cost over $100 million.

2)  So far, the state has promised $5 million of the BP funds towards the Fiber Ring, though it is not a fiscally sound proposal.  In fact, there’s no indication of where the additional $95 million needed to finance this project will come from, but taxpayers will likely foot the bill.

3)  Government-owned networks rarely succeed, and residents already have access to high-speed Internet provided by private companies. Competing with the private sector will only force taxpayers to subsidize a costly failure.  Private Internet Service Providers (ISPs) already bring high-speed broadband to 97 percent of Harrison County residents, according to BroadbandNow.com.

4)  When the government enters a broadband market, prices for consumers do not decrease.  In fact, government-owned broadband networks have been found to charge consumers more than private firms, for similar services.

5)  Other regions have tried (and failed) at building and running government-owned broadband networks.  Here’s a look at some of the results:

Burlington Telecom, VT
Burlington Telecom was started in 2008 to provide telecommunications services to the citizens of Burlington, VT.  The network floundered, and by 2014, it owed $33.5 million to Citibank.  The city reached a final settlement in which it agreed to pay about a third of what was owed, and turned to the private sector for help financing the settlement.

Memphis Networx, TN
Memphis Networx was started as a public-private partnership by Memphis Light, Gas, and Water Division (MLGW) in 1999.  By 2007, the network had failed and MLGW sold Networx to Colorado holding company Communications Infrastructure Investments for $11.5 million after losing about $28 million in public funds on the venture.

UTOPIA, UT
UTOPIA was started in 2002 to provide Internet services to 11 cities in Utah.  The network’s initial capital investment was $135 million, and by 2014 the debt had climbed to $500 million.  The cities involved have been looking for a private buyer to take over their network for several years.

CDE Lightband, TN
CDE Lightband was started in 2007 with a $16 million loan from the Clarksville Electric Power Board’s electric division to its broadband division.  In 2009, the utility was approved to take an additional $4.5 million in loans to finance the network, leaving taxpayers and utility ratepayers on the hook for the debt.

Help CFIF spread the word.  Email this link to your colleagues, friends and family members in Mississippi and/or share it on social media.  To download a copy of CFIF’s educational fact sheet about the Gulf Coast “Fiber Optic Ring,” click here (.pdf).

January 21st, 2016 at 11:36 am
Coalition of 45 Organizations Urges Support for Making the Ban on Internet Access Taxes Permanent
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, the Center for Individual Freedom (“CFIF”) today joined a coalition of more than 40 other organizations representing tens of millions of consumers from across the nation to urge support of a permanent extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act currently embedded in H.R. 644, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act.
“In the 17 years since Congress first passed a ban on Internet access taxes, the Internet has evolved from a luxury into a necessity of modern life. ITFA helped to spark this revolution,” the letter states.  “Without ITFA, it is likely that Internet services would be taxed at the high rates of tax imposed on traditional telecommunications services, which often are more than double the rate of tax imposed on other goods and services.”
The letter concludes by urging the U.S. Senate “to act swiftly and decisively to pass a permanent extension of ITFA.”
To read the letter in its entirety, click here (.pdf).
To read the coalition press release, click here.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, the Center for Individual Freedom (“CFIF”) today joined a coalition of more than 40 other organizations representing tens of millions of consumers from across the nation to urge support of a permanent extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act currently embedded in H.R. 644, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act.

“In the 17 years since Congress first passed a ban on Internet access taxes, the Internet has evolved from a luxury into a necessity of modern life. ITFA helped to spark this revolution,” the letter states.  “Without ITFA, it is likely that Internet services would be taxed at the high rates of tax imposed on traditional telecommunications services, which often are more than double the rate of tax imposed on other goods and services.”

The letter concludes by urging the U.S. Senate “to act swiftly and decisively to pass a permanent extension of ITFA.”

To read the letter in its entirety, click here (.pdf).

To read the coalition press release, click here.

September 17th, 2015 at 11:35 am
Peachtree City, GA: Stop City Council from Wasting Taxpayer Dollars on Municipal Broadband Network Boondoggle
Posted by Print

The Peachtree City, Georgia city council plans to vote TONIGHT on whether to use taxpayer dollars to build a Municipal Broadband Network for businesses.  This will cost millions of your hard-earned tax dollars and put the city’s bond rating and other important services at risk.  Tell Peachtree City Mayor Vanessa Fleisch and the Peachtree City Council Members TODAY that you do NOT want your tax dollars used to build a municipal broadband network. That is something the private sector can and does provide.

A few important facts to share with your Council Member:

  • Municipal Broadband Networks (also known as Government-Owned Networks or GONs) inevitably cost much more to build and operate than policymakers assume or  realize. [New York Law School study]
  • Some cities have been driven so far into debt because of their GON that they’ve sold them at huge losses, yet taxpayers were still left to foot the bill. [Provo, Utah]
  • Monthly bills are 20% to 50% higher for consumers using GONs than if they used a private broadband provider, according to the American Action Forum.
  • Peachtree City simply has better things to spend its money on than a service the private sector ably provides.
  • 75 % to 80 % of all GONs fail to make an annual profit. [WiFi Waste: The Disaster of Municipal Communications Network, by Prof. Ron Rizzuto, Univ. of Denver]
  1. Our Teacher salaries are 9% below the national average
  2. The Peachtree city council has already voted this year to INCREASE TAXES on residents, collecting an extra $645,000
  • Private sector broadband providers have invested more than $1.4 trillion into our nation’s broadband infrastructure and they are investing more every day. [US Telecom Broadband Investment]

Costly Municipal Broadband Failures

Burlington Telecom, VT

  • Initial Capital Investment: $33.5 Million
  • Current Debt: $17 Million
  • Potential subscriber pool is 39,000 households yet just 4,000 have joined the network.

UTOPIA, Utah

  • Initial Capital Investment: $135 Million
  • Current Debt: $500 Million
  • Potential subscriber pool if 62,000 households yet just 8,200 have joined the network.

MI-Connection, NC

  • Initial Capital Investment: $92.5 Million
  • Current Debt: $69.5 Million
  • Potential subscriber pool is 88,000 households yet just 16,000 have joined the network.

CDE Lightband, TN

  • Initial Capital Investment: $16 Million
  • Current Debt: $20.5 Million
  • Potential subscriber pool is 146,000 households yet just 18,000 have joined the network.

Contact Mayor Vanessa Fleisch and the City Council TODAY!

Group email to Mayor, Council & City Manager: [email protected]

Mayor Vanessa Fleisch

[email protected]

Twitter: @vanessafleisch

770-487-7657

Post 1 Council member Eric Imker

[email protected]

770-487-7657

Post 2 Council member Mike King

[email protected]

770-487-7657

Post 3 Council member Kim Learnerd

[email protected]

770-487-7657

Post 4 Council member Terry Ernst

[email protected]

770-487-7657

January 5th, 2015 at 10:17 am
2015: New GOP Congress Pledges to Fight Obama FCC Internet Regulation
Posted by Print

The bad news as 2015 begins is that the Obama Administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) appears set to vote next month to reclassify broadband service as some sort of public utility.  You read that correctly.  After twice having its so-called “Net Neutrality” efforts rejected by federal courts, Obama has called on the FCC to double down on that destructive campaign, hoping to subject one of the few sectors of our economy that has continued to thrive in recent years to more regulation.

The good news, however, is that the incoming Republican Congress appears committed to fight that effort:

Newly fortified Republicans in Congress are considering a number of ways to stymie the Obama Administration’s planned regulations on broadband Internet providers in 2015, making Capitol Hill a new front in the fight over ‘net neutrality.’  Concern about the rules is playing into Republican efforts to rein in what they say is regulatory overreach by the Federal Communications Commission.”

Senator John Thune (R – South Dakota), the new Senate Commerce Committee chairman, struck the right chord in announcing, “The regulatory tools at the FCC’s disposal are outdated, and its previous efforts to create rules to regulate the Internet were struck down by the courts.  It’s hard to imagine that its new attempt will escape legal challenges and avoid the kind of regulatory uncertainty that harms Internet innovation and investment.”  Meanwhile, opposition to Obama’s scheme continues on the House side, with one House Energy and Commerce Committee staffer saying that “all options are on the table.”  That includes legislation to block reclassification as a public utility, cutting FCC budgetary funding and invoking the seldom-used Congressional Review Act to void federal administrative regulations of significant impact.

Word must obviously be met with substantive deed, but it’s nice to at least see 2015 begin with a commitment from both houses of the incoming GOP Congress to fight this ill-advised, illegal and stubborn effort from Obama’s FCC.

December 8th, 2014 at 10:24 am
“The U.S. Leads the World in Broadband” – Bret Swanson Debunks Net Neutrality Myths
Posted by Print

In an excellent commentary in today’s Wall Street Journal, AEI visiting fellow and Entropy Economics LLC president Bret Swanson debunks “the two central contentions of ‘net neutrality’ fans, including President Obama, who want the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the Internet as a public utility.”  Specifically, the myths of “lagging U.S. broadband and the specter of content blocking.”

Swanson proceeds to demonstrate that neither of those rationalizations for net neutrality or regulation of Internet service under laws enacted in the 1930s is true:

…the U.S. generates far more traffic per capita and per Internet user than any other major nation save South Korea, which is a vertical metropolis and thus easy to wire with fiber optics.  U.S. traffic per capita is 2.1 times that of Japan and 2.7 that of Western Europe.  Several years ago, U.S. and Canadian traffic measures were similar, but today the U.S. has raced ahead by 25%.  The U.S. lead is similar in traffic per Internet user, which tends to reflect how intensely people use broadband and mobile connections.  The U.S. outdoes its closest European rival, the U.K. by 57%.  The U.S. outdoes all of Western Europe – the best comparison in terms of geography, population and economic development – by a factor of 2.5.”

He also rebuts the claim that U.S. broadband is comparatively slow or more expensive, and concludes that there’s no “problem” demanding an Obama Administration “fix”:

The U.S., with 4% of the world’s population, has 10% of its Internet users, 25% of its broadband investment and 32% of its consumer Internet traffic.  The U.S. policy of Internet freedom has worked.  Why does Washington want to intervene in a thriving market?”

It’s a good question, and an excellent piece.

June 13th, 2014 at 12:47 pm
Podcast: The Gov’t Should Keep Its Regulatory Hands Off the Internet
Posted by Print

Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Senior Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs, discusses net neutrality and the misguided push to have the federal government regulate the Internet.

Listen to the interview here.

May 30th, 2014 at 9:37 am
Take Action to Stop Net Regulation

President Obama’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC), bowing to the demands of liberal special interests, is actually considering a scheme to regulate the Internet like a public utility. And if they get their way, this egregious government overreach into the broadband economy will almost certainly kill job creation, harm consumers and bring a significant amount of investment and innovation to a screeching halt.

Simply put, the federal government micromanaging the Internet under Title II of the Telecommunications Act is a dangerous scheme, one that Congress must halt and the FCC must abandon. That’s why the Center for Individual Freedom this week activated StopNetRegulation.org, a project dedicated to ensuring the Internet remains free from heavy-handed government regulations and stopping this latest power grab by the Obama administration.

Join the fight by visiting StopNetRegulation.org.  While there, use the web form to quickly and easily contact your Members of Congress and the FCC.

November 11th, 2013 at 4:09 pm
Study Shows Louisiana Municipal Broadband a Boondoggle

A government-owned broadband scheme in Lafayette, Louisiana, is more than $160 million in debt and is losing $45,000 a day, according to Lafayette’s independent auditor. The city’s broadband business is struggling to compete with cable, telephone, wireless and satellite service providers in terms of price, performance and service options, according to a study by the Reason Foundation.

Of course, none of this should come as a shock to anyone who understands basic economic principles or the value of competition.

The government simply lacks the incentive to provide quality service or spend money wisely. After all, if a government-owned/socialist-style enterprise fails, investors don’t lose money, taxpayers lose money. As a result, time and time again, when the government enters an arena already filled by successful private companies, it’s just a matter of time until the government’s offering goes belly up and taxpayers are left paying the bill.

July 1st, 2013 at 5:15 pm
Now for Some Good News: Rhode Island Enacts Wireless Telephone Regulatory Modernization Act
Posted by Print

Despite the federal government’s incessant attempts at expansionism, individual states continue to serve as invaluable laboratories of democracy.  That applies even in deep-blue Rhode Island, where new legislation helps ensure that emerging telecommunications technologies not already regulated will remain that way.  That assurance will encourage continued investment in wireless and broadband, which will in turn spur innovation and improve consumer service.

Entitled the Wireless Telephone Regulatory Modernization Act, the bill opens by noting that experience over “many years” has “established robust competition in the wireless communications market without unreasonable, industry-specific regulation as the best means of promoting universal service, economic efficiency, technological innovation, expanded consumer choice and empowerment, and investment in and development of advanced communications services.”  From that starting point, the bill:

–   Ensures that next-generation wireless services aren’t suffocated by bureaucratic regulations imposed with 20th century technology in mind, thereby encouraging experimentation and growth;

–   Encourages introduction of new products and services to enter the market and satisfy consumer demand for faster and more efficient performance by reducing the specter of uncertainty in regulation;  and

–   Preserves consumer trust that state and federal consumer protection authorities remain available to address actual concerns that may arise.

The bill summarizes, “Stating such policies in statute will provide additional certainty and continuity of this policy, and is necessary to attract new investment in wireless, broadband and other advanced networks, encourage technology deployment and promote the creation of new jobs in Rhode Island, while at the same time ensuring that consumers of wireless service continue to benefit from the consumer protection laws that apply to consumers generally.”

The telecommunications and broadband sectors remain a rare bright spot in our national and world economies, and legislation like this ensuring a “light touch” regulatory regime provides a welcome source of reassurance via our functioning laboratories of democracy.

September 17th, 2012 at 3:33 pm
FCC’s Genachowski Glorifies “Psychology of Abundance,” Adds Uncertainty to Internet Sector and Economy
Posted by Print

Is this what our Internet sector and economy need?  More uncertainty from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Obama Administration?  The tech sector remains a positive outlier in terms of job creation, innovation, new networks and private investment, but regulatory misdirection threatens all of that.

The latest affront involves usage-based pricing for Internet service.  In order to facilitate Internet growth and accommodate ever-increasing consumer demand, service providers must be granted flexibility to at least explore alternative pricing models.  The outdated, flat-rate, all-you-can-eat model increasingly threatens service quality, as a small number of Internet users sap capacity through data-heavy applications like videogames and online video.  To illustrate, viewing a single streamed high-definition film consumes approximately four gigabytes of data.  Utilities aren’t forced to charge a flat rate regardless of electricity use, so why should Internet service providers be straightjacketed in that way?  It’s not fair, and it’s not effective.

Enter FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who just four months ago explicitly praised pricing flexibility and experimentation in the name of fairness and efficiency:

Business model innovation is very important particularly in new areas like broadband.  There was a point of view that said a couple of years ago that really there was only one permissible pricing model for broadband, and I didn’t agree with that and the Commission didn’t agree with that.  And we said that business model experimentation and usage-based pricing could be a healthy and beneficial part of the ecosystem that could help drive efficiency in networks, increase consumer choice and competition and increase fairness, because it can we said result in lower prices for people who consume less broadband.  So experimentation in this area with those goals in mind is something that’s completely appropriate.”

Other voices on the political left actually concurred, including Tim Wu, the man who coined the deceptive term “Net Neutrality.”

Speaking to a different audience last week, however, Genachowski appeared to reverse himself.  “Anything that depresses broadband usage,” Genachowski claimed, “is something that we need to be really concerned about.”  He added, “We should all be concerned with anything that is incompatible with the psychology of abundance.”

A “psychology of abundance?”  Easy to say when you’re not the once providing that so-called “abundance.”  Perhaps Genachowski is unfamiliar with the timeless economic adage, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”  Or perhaps he simply says whatever he thinks his present audience wants to hear.

Regardless, Genachowski’s latest comments only add regulatory uncertainty to an atmosphere that already faces too much of it.

Tags: ,
March 19th, 2012 at 4:37 pm
Spectrum Stall: FCC and Big Labor Impeding Innovation and Economic Opportunity
Posted by Print

With the unemployment rate holding steady above 8% for over three long years now, it’s obvious that the United States must pursue policies that spur rather than retard job creation and economic growth.  One continuing economic bright spot already exists in the telecommunications sector, where several prospects for generating new jobs exist.  Unfortunately, federal bureaucrats continue to obstruct those prospects.  The leading current example is spectrum and, specifically, Big Labor special interests pressuring the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to block telecom companies from buying unused wireless broadband.  That pressure only serves to obstruct economic recovery, because more access to spectrum for service providers would mean greater incentive to invest, and in turn more business opportunities that would raise revenue and create jobs.

For example, a recent study by NDN found that from April 2007 to June 2011, broadband companies created some 1,585,000 new jobs in their transition from 2G to 3G wireless technologies and Internet infrastructure.  NDN also noted that “the investments being undertaken today to upgrade wireless network and Internet technologies from 3G to 4G hold comparable promise for job creation.”  Similarly, a Deloitte study from last year agreed with NDN’s assertion, estimating that U.S. investment in 4G networks could generate anywhere from $25 to $53 billion in economic revenue between 2012 and 2016.  Furthermore, according to their study, these investments could produce between 371,000 and 771,000 new jobs and account for $73 billion to $151 billion in GDP growth.

Unfortunately, union bosses oppose spectrum transactions in favor of their own self-interest.  For instance, in comments filed with the FCC, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) falsely claimed that the transaction “agreements would appear to limit the availability of competitive services, dividing up geographic service areas for particular companies, leading to reduced investment in infrastructure, job losses, and ultimately, higher prices for consumers.”  As noted above, however, independent studies refute their allegation and attest to the economic and job benefits of allowing spectrum to be sold to companies that will apply it toward better customer service.  The spectrum sale will not only boost the economy and create jobs, but also benefit consumers by alleviating the oncoming spectrum crunch.   Greater access to spectrum will also create additional incentive to invest more toward innovation, which in turn means new devices, applications and services.  Providers will be able to upgrade their networks to a 4G LTE that has further geographic reach, faster downloads and greater capacity.

If the FCC continues to obstruct the sale , however, the quality of Internet service and our economy more generally will suffer due to the gradual exhaustion of existing spectrum.  In order to ensure that the domestic telecom sector continues to flourish, spectrum must therefore be made available to those who need it and who have the ability to use it in the most constructive way.   Union leaders should stop playing games that harm actual workers, and the FCC must put an end this obstruction.

December 12th, 2011 at 8:08 pm
Another Stimulus Boondoggle: $4.7 Billion in Broadband Spending Yields … Absolutely Nothing
Posted by Print

If you want to understand how comprehensively the Obama Administration has failed the nation, you need only begin with this point: as the president approaches the end of his first term, we’re still unearthing lurid details about his first major policy initiative, undertaken in his earliest days in office.

That plan, of course, was the $787 billion stimulus package that was supposed to kickstart economic growth (it didn’t) and keep unemployment under 8 percent (it’s never been that low in the nearly three years since the package was enacted).

Last week, I wrote about the case of a Maryland PR firm that got paid nearly a million dollars in stimulus money by the National Institutes of Health to promote how well the National Institutes of Health was spending stimulus money.

This week’s second verse of the same song is orders of magnitude worse; the dollar amount is in the billions and the outcome wasn’t just wasteful — it was non-existent. According to the Daily Caller:

As of the third quarter of 2011, no projects from the federal government’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) — a technology stimulus program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) — have been completed…

The funds awarded for BTOP totaled over $4 billion, and the average award was $6,217,509, according to Recovery.gov.

Three years. Over $4 Billion. Zero results. This project may not have stimulated any growth in the broadband sector, but it’s certainly going to keep some Republican opposition researchers employed.

March 25th, 2011 at 11:15 am
This Week’s Liberty Update
Posted by Print

Center For Individual Freedom - Liberty Update

This week’s edition of the Liberty Update, CFIF’s weekly e-newsletter, is out. Below is a summary of its contents:

Senik:  Libya: Confusion, by Committee
Ellis:  Air Claire Laid Bare: The Corruption of Claire McCaskill
CFIF Testimony Before NC House Finance Committee:  The Case Against Government Ownership of Broadband Networks
Release:  Leading National Organizations Urge Speaker Boehner to Preserve Amendment Defunding DOE’s “Gainful Employment” Regulation

Freedom Minute Video:  The Alternate Reality of Liberal Budgets
Podcast:  National Security Expert Discusses Libya
Jester’s Courtroom:  Underage Drinker Sues Bar for Her Injury

Editorial Cartoons:  Latest Cartoons of Michael Ramirez
Quiz:  Question of the Week
Notable Quotes:  Quotes of the Week

If you are not already signed up to receive CFIF’s Liberty Update by e-mail, sign up here.

June 10th, 2010 at 5:33 pm
91% of Americans Satisfied With Broadband Speed, Yet FCC Continues to Push “Net Neutrality”
Posted by Print

When was the last time that a scientific survey reported 91% agreement on anything, other than that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D – Nevada) is a really creepy guy?

Yet that’s precisely the consensus contained in a survey released by the very Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that continues to push so-called “Net Neutrality” despite overwhelming public, judicial and bipartisan Congressional opposition.  According to the FCC itself, nine out of ten respondents are happy with their broadband speed:

Fully 91% of broadband users say they are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ satisfied with the speed they get at home.”

Yet the FCC continues to concoct an imaginary broadband crisis just around the corner as an alibi for proposed “Net Neutrality” regulation.

With this reality staring it straight in the face, why does the FCC persist in pushing “Net Neutrality” upon the American public?  Also consider that the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC does not possess authority to impose “Net Neutrality,” which merely triggered the FCC shenanigan of announcing that it would reclassify Internet service under Depression-era rules created to govern 1930s landline telephones.  Also consider that the public opposes “Net Neutrality” by a two-to-one margin (a dramatic turnaround since 2008), and both Democrats and Republicans in Congress sent separate letters to the FCC opposing this atrocious proposal.

None of this seems to interrupt Chairman Julius Genachowski and his slim FCC majority.  “Net Neutrality” will be defeated, whether via judicial, Congressional or administrative avenues.  But how long will it take for Genachowski to wake up and smell that coffee?