Posts Tagged ‘Telecommunications’
May 13th, 2022 at 11:48 am
Quote of the Day: U.S. Leads the World in 5G Rollout, Thanks to Pro-Market Approach
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From economist Thomas Hazlett, in an insightful admonition against crony capitalist government intervention into the telecommunications market entitled “The U.S. May Repeat Mexico’s Wireless Spectrum Mistake” in today’s Wall Street Journal,  offers this little gem and tribute to the positive payoff of America’s comparatively pro-market deregulatory approach:

Meanwhile, 5G networks are spreading more rapidly in the U.S. than in any other nation, with 49% coverage in October 2021.  (China was at 20% that month.)  This rollout benefits from recent U.S. auctions for flexible-use spectrum rights, infusing networks with new capacity that lowers costs and spurs rivalry.  Further liberalization should continue.  Regulators haven’t been able to divert frequencies to selected business models to increase competition.  U.S. policy makers should avoid trying.”


April 22nd, 2019 at 1:09 pm
WSJ Urges Regulators to Approve T-Mobile/Sprint Merger
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We at CFIF have steadfastly highlighted the consumer benefits of the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger, and cautioned the federal government against any pointless and destructive objection to the deal.  In today’s Wall Street Journal, its editorial board encourages the Department of Justice (DOJ) to move forward on the deal:

The Justice Department lost its lawsuit to block AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner.  Yet now the antitrust cops are holding up T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint even though it could give AT&T more competition in wireless.  What gives?

A year ago, T-Mobile announced plans to acquire Sprint for $26 billion in stock, yet the merger is still stuck in government antitrust purgatory.  The Federal Communications Commission keeps pausing its 180-day shot clock on the merger review to let staff and third parties dig through documents to trash the deal.”

The piece goes on to neatly summarize the benefits the merger would bring:

With more than 100 million customers, the new T-Mobile would be a stronger competitor to Verizon Wireless (118 million) and AT&T (94 million).  It would also offer a broader mix of spectrum that would improve service.  T-Mobile boasts low-band spectrum that increases coverage in rural areas.  Sprint is sitting on mid-band spectrum that can transmit more data at higher speeds in urban areas.”

Simply put, it’s time for regulators to approve the merger to release the fruits that it promises.

June 13th, 2018 at 3:01 pm
In Good News for Consumers, Federal Judge Rejects DOJ Attempt to Block AT&T/Time Warner Merger
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In a decision that came as no surprise but nevertheless merits celebration, a federal judge yesterday rejected the Justice Department’s needless lawsuit attempting to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner.

Whenever federal bureaucracies seek to disrupt functioning markets by prohibiting mutual agreements between two willing parties, they carry a heavy burden of proof to establish impending consumer harm.  In this case, the opposite was true – the federal government’s needless interference, not the proposed acquisition, would result in consumer harm.  Accordingly, Judge Richard Leon ruled that Justice’s allegations “do not come close to answering the question before the Court.”

So why is yesterday’s ruling important going forward?  Hopefully, it provides federal bureaucrats an abject lesson against future destructive campaigns of a similar sort.

As one immediate example, consider the proposed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint announced recently.  Although the T-Mobile/Sprint proposal involves characteristics unique to it, it offers the consumer market similar sorts of benefits.

Namely, T-Mobile/Sprint prospectively offers an enhanced array of consumer services in comparison to what is available today.  For example, the two current companies’ differing but complementary assets would create a new network with enhanced capacity, wider coverage and more effective wireless performance for customers than currently exists.  It also promises network upgrades, lower prices and job creation.  In particular, the proposed merger offers significant potential benefits through deployment of the first 5G wireless network in the U.S.

Through that $40 billion investment in 5G, consumers will enjoy data delivery at a lower cost, and the incentive for competitors to similarly lower prices to consumers.  That will also prompt market competition to expand spectrum in rural areas in addition to urban centers, as well as capacity improvements for consumers.

That’s how market competition works.  A T-Mobile/Sprint merger and its 5G deployment would also mean billions in new private infrastructure investment and countless new jobs.  In contrast, the absence of a T-Mobile/Sprint merger would mean slower deployment of a 5G nationwide network, and the absence of a market competitor of greater scale.  Ultimately, that means consumers would lose.

The Trump Administration has demonstrated to date how deregulation can turbocharge the economy and benefit American consumers.  That logic applies with added potency to the ever-evolving telecommunications market, and the Justice Department should learn its lesson and refrain from future needless interference that will only cost consumers and trigger embarrassing legal defeats.

October 25th, 2016 at 4:50 pm
CFIF Statement on Lawsuit Challenging Nashville’s ‘One Touch Make Ready’ Ordinance
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Today, Comcast filed a federal lawsuit against Nashville’s “One Touch Make Ready” ordinance.  In response, Center for Individual Freedom (“CFIF”) President Jeffrey Mazzella released the following statement:
We strongly support this litigation and Comcast’s right to protect its property, its reputation and the continuity of service its customers expect against destructive government intervention. There is no doubt that the One Touch Make Ready ordinance passed by Metro Council runs afoul of established law and violates the most basic principles of fairness.  A judicial decision that blocks this ordinance cannot come soon enough.
CFIF has been a vocal opponent of so-called One Touch Make Ready laws, including the one passed last month by Nashville’s Metro Council.  For more information on CFIF’s opposition to the Nashville ordinance, read,  “Metro Council must reject Google Fiber ordinance,” which was published in The Tennessean on September 4, 2016.

November 21st, 2014 at 10:20 am
Video – Title II: Obama Wants to Regulate the Internet
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In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino discusses Barack Obama’s misguided push to have the Federal Communications Commission regulate the Internet like a public utility under telephone and railroad laws drafted in the 1930s – long before the Internet (or computers, for that matter) was even invented.


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

July 1st, 2013 at 5:15 pm
Now for Some Good News: Rhode Island Enacts Wireless Telephone Regulatory Modernization Act
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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 21st, 2012 at 10:51 am
Podcast: Times of Uncertainty at Home and Abroad
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Timothy Lee, Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs at CFIF, discusses the increased regulatory uncertainty for the Internet sector and U.S. economy caused by FCC and Obama Administration policies, and American foreign policy in an age of uncertainty in the Middle East.

Listen to the interview here.

January 6th, 2012 at 4:25 pm
Time Running Short for NJ Legislature to Enact Meaningful Telecom Reform
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With the New Jersey state Senate session ending this coming Monday, January 9, time is running short for it to enact common-sense telecom reform.

This past year, state Senator Raymond Lesniak (D) introduced S-2664, which would modernize New Jersey government rules for the telecommunications industry by eliminating unnecessary and costly red tape that hampers investment and growth.  The bill passed in the New Jersey State Assembly with overwhelming bi-partisan support, but now the State Senate must act.

The proposed legislation preserves important consumer protections, but at the same time modernizes the outdated regulatory structure developed when the primary means of communication was a rotary telephone.  In our modern marketplace, regulations must reflect evolving realities, but without these reforms New Jersey risks losing valuable ground.  Unless changes are made, telecommunications providers will be discouraged from increasing investment and innovation in New Jersey, so it’s in the state’s best interest to stay on the cutting edge of telecommunications technologies and the jobs they provide.

Accordingly, the Senate should enact S-2664 in the time that remains.  There is simply no reason to delay the reforms outlined in Senator Lesniak’s legislation, which New Jersey needs to ensure a more prosperous future.

November 21st, 2011 at 6:04 pm
Proposed New Jersey Telecom Legislation Would Increase Bureaucracy and Regulation, Not Reduce It
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Under the false banner of “deregulation,” New Jersey state Senator Bob Smith (D) today introduced telecommunications legislation that would actually increase unnecessary and job-killing regulation over an industry critical to economic growth and jobs.

Smith claims that S-3062 relieves regulatory burdens, but it would in fact broaden regulatory authority for the Board of Public Utilities while heaping even more bureaucratic mandates and obligations upon telecom companies.  Among other things, the law would reinstate Board power over competitive services, even though such oversight was removed by the state legislature years ago.  The proposed bill would also mandate tariffs for services classified as competitive, while discriminatorily imposing filing requirements on some businesses but not others.  Moreover, the legislation would complicate and add uncertainty within the patchwork of overlapping federal and state regulations, and expand Board power in the video realm.

The fact that Sen. Smith attempted to characterize new regulatory proposals  as deregulatory shows that even he knows our current economic environment is not one in which the public desires even  more government interference.  Unfortunately, that’s what his bill would do.  What struggling New Jersey citizens need are more jobs and more telecom competition, not more bureaucracy.

June 10th, 2011 at 4:12 pm
California Tries to Block AT&T, T-Mobile Deal

Those wacky California bureaucrats are at it again!  Reporting by the Wall Street Journal says that Golden State regulators “moved ahead Thursday with an investigation into AT&T Inc.’s $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile USA, raising a fresh hurdle for the U.S. wireless giant as it seeks the government’s blessing to acquire its third-largest competitor.”

The report goes on to explain that AT&T doesn’t need California’s blessing, only a green light from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  Nonetheless, California’s objection could “carry weight” with the FCC’s board of governors, potentially scuttling the merger.  Not bad for a group of regulators with zero jurisdiction over the matter.

With California staring at a multi-billion dollar deficit, perhaps this is the kind of government agency whose funding should be cut – or eliminated.

April 5th, 2011 at 1:19 pm
FCC Commissioner Clyburn Thinks Government Should Enter the Communications Business, Too
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In this era of bureaucratic overreach and unsustainable spending and deficits, should government also enter the business of competing against private communications service providers?  Doesn’t it already have its hands full?

We at CFIF think so.  In fact, we testified last month before the North Carolina legislature on behalf of thousands of supporters and activists across that great state in support of H.B. 129, which would restrain government bureaucrats from unfairly competing against private providers of communications services.   And with good reason.  From Taiwan to Australia, from Chicago to Houston, and inside North Carolina itself, the history of public broadband is without exception one of failure.  Every single public broadband project of which we’re aware has failed to so much as break even.  Ultimately, taxpayer bailouts become necessary as government endeavors lose money and require constant upgrades to keep pace with evolving technology.  Moreover, government broadband boondoggles undermine the billions of dollars invested in private network improvement and expansion, and discourage future private investment.  After all, why risk one’s capital to compete against governments that can manipulate the rules and go to taxpayers for bailout?  Inevitably, poorer service and layoffs in the vibrant tech sector result.  Rural communities particularly suffer.

But none of that logic seems to matter to Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.   In a statement Monday, Clyburn attacked the North Carolina’s sensible legislation and defended the concept of government entering yet another portion of the private sector.   Perhaps that’s not surprising, considering Clyburn’s vote last December to impose so-called “Net Neutrality” in the face of two-to-one public opposition, a unanimous Court of Appeals decision that the FCC didn’t possess such authority and condemnation from bipartisan groups in Congress.

Predictable or not, however, it is critical that Americans at the federal, state and local level vocally oppose the sort of government tech sector overreach that she advocates.