We Need A Broadband Competition Act, Not A Net Neutrality Act

from the get-out-the-wrecking-ball dept

Andy Kessler has put together a fantastic editorial for the Wall Street Journal explaining why Markey's attempt at legislating Net Neutrality won't do any good. As we pointed out when Markey first announced it, this plan seems to be focused on the symptoms, not the real problem (and, no, just having the FCC step in to slap the wrists of neutrality violators doesn't help either). The real problem, of course, is the lack of real competition in the broadband market. Kessler suggests that we shouldn't be focused on Net Neutrality, but should wipe out the bogus regulations that are currently restricting competition in the broadband market. That means not going through a painful localized franchising process or making it a pain to get the rights of way necessary to install equipment necessary for next generation broadband. It means actually opening up the market to competition, not creating subsidies and regulations that mean only the incumbents can play. Not that politicians are about to do anything like this, but it sure would be nice.

Filed Under: broadband, competition, ed markey, net neutrality, rights of way

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  1. identicon
    saveaccess, 27 Feb 2008 @ 10:27am

    franchise clarity

    Whoa - back up a bit. Keep in mind that current local and municipal cable franchises only slightly regulate cable tv services (Right of way, PEG, red-lining, basic cable pricing) - not internet and IP telephony services which fall under other regulatory rules. These are not monopoly franchises either - any company can apply for and receive the right to offer cable services in the same municipality. The fact that few do is because that cable companies know that level of overbuilding just isn't profitable - so they choose instead to divide territories amongst themselves.

    The AT&T driven state-wide franchises passed in 19 states simply eliminate most municipal oversight and fast tracks AT&T roll-outs to the communities of their choosing. In two years of state franchises - this 'compeition' has not resulted in lower prices nor better services - anywhere.

    Finally - if you're concerned about affordable and competitive internet access - you should be looking at the FCC and the Supreme Court's 2005 "Brand X" decision. This decision effectively deregulated cable broadband internet service and as a result eliminated most small providers. If anything has impacted on the loss of real competition and the greater concentration of ownership - it was this decision.

    Unpacking the Brand X Decision

    No Quarter for the Time Warner Bandwidth Rationing Plan

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