More Telecom Reform Designed To Make A Telco Happy

from the bought-and-paid-for dept

Ah, telecom reform. While it's become clear that FCC chair Kevin Martin is doing his best to keep the incumbent telcos happy, we shouldn't forget that the Senate seems to be doing the same. Earlier this year, we spoke about a Telecom Reform bill introduced by Senator John Ensign that seemed to be pretty much everything the big telcos wanted. Of course, there are different ways to make all the big telcos happy, so Senator Jim DeMint introduced his own Telecom Reform bill today, that, once again, will make the incumbents smile. It has some good, and some bad (just like the Ensign plan) -- and in some ways it all depends on how you look at it (or how you write about it). Network World has an article that highlights some of the reasons to like the proposal. It scales back the FCC so that they're only supposed to regulate in situations where there's clear market failure. That's a good thing -- except for the fact that this FCC has made it pretty clear that their definition of market failure is quite different than how a lot of other people feel. Besides, it's not even true (despite the lovely quotes from the fully paid for think tank pushing this bill). As the InternetNews version of the story makes clear, for all the talk about how this bill is about "less regulation," it's actually designed to increase some regulation by adding a number of other services that currently aren't really under the FCC's mandate -- like cable companies and VoIP services. If you recall, the mandate of the FCC is only supposed to be to regulate the public airwaves. That is, to manage this limited public resource to avoid problems. These new bills go well beyond "public resources" into regulating privately built networks and systems. While there are some things to like in this bill, it seems to tilt way too far in favor of simply supporting a few big incumbents.
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