Former FCC Boss Turned Top Cable Lobbyist Says Cable Industry Being Unfairly Attacked, 'No Evidence' Of Consumer Harm

from the nobody-believes-the-words-coming-out-of-your-mouth dept

Given the fact that the FCC has recently bumped the standard definition of broadband to 25 Mbps to highlight competition gaps; reclassified ISPs as common carriers; passed real net neutrality rules for the first time ever; taken aim at the industry's use of protectionist state law to keep the duopoly intact; pushed for improved broadband privacy rules, and is now taking aim at the cable industry's monopoly over cable set top hardware, it's not really surprising that the cable industry isn't happy right now.

One could argue (especially if you've studied regulations across the pond) that this is just what it looks like when a telecom regulator is doing its job after falling asleep for arguably fifteen years. But former FCC boss turned top cable lobbyist Michael Powell sees things differently. Powell took the opportunity at the cable industry's annual INTX trade show in Boston to throw a bit of a hissy fit, complaining repeatedly that the industry was under "relentless" and unprovoked "regulatory assault":
"We find ourselves the target of a relentless regulatory assault,” Powell told attendees. “The policy blows we are weathering are not modest regulatory corrections. They have been thundering, tectonic shifts that have crumbled decades of settled law and policy."...What has been so distressing is that much of this regulatory ordinance has been launched without provocation," said the NCTA head. "We increasingly are saddled with heavy rules without any compelling evidence of harm to consumers or competitors."
Who says telecom lobbyists can't be comedic geniuses? Of course the cable industry enjoys some of the worst customer satisfaction ratings of any industry in America thanks to generations of regulatory capture and little real competition in broadband. After a generation of treating captive consumers poorly there's really not a more hated sector than cable, and the industry's reputation is only getting worse as it rushes to take advantage of limited competition and impose usage caps. As a result, complaints to the FCC have been skyrocketing.

"Compelling harm" should be apparent to everyone just by looking at their cable and broadband bill, and every time they call Comcast customer support.

And despite a lot of cable sector chirping about "innovation," as AT&T and Verizon back away from unwanted DSL markets, cable broadband's monopoly is only growing in the face of less competition, meaning less incentive than ever to compete on price or improve customer service across huge swaths of territory.

And you really can't find a man more responsible for keeping this status quo intact than Powell, who ran the FCC from 2001 to 2005. Powell was a vibrant example of sector dysfunction and revolving door regulators; completely incapable of even admitting the TV or broadband sectors had or has problems. His tenure was just one chapter of a more-than-fifteen-year, bipartisan stretch during which the FCC was little more than a lapdog to the sector it was supposed to be policing. As such, cable enjoyed decades of almost total local, state and federal regulatory capture, all while crowing about the immense benefits of "free markets."

The result of this aggressive dysfunction forged the cable industry we all know and love today.

Powell is best remembered for his decision to try and push broadband over powerline as a major third avenue of sector competition, thereby justifying regulatory inaction on other fronts. But Powell intentionally ignored something everybody in telecom had known for years: the technology would never actually work due to the massive radio interference it caused. But by braying about broadband over powerline being the "great broadband hope," Powell managed to deflect criticism that he was busy actually making the sector substantially worse through total inaction and ineptitude. Other FCC bosses like Kevin Martin and Julius Genachowski carried on that proud tradition.

Fast forward a decade and Powell's now lobbying for the very companies he once "regulated," complaining about unfair persecution of an industry that has been begging for a kick in the teeth for the better part of most of our adult lives. And while there are certainly plenty of sectors that deserve a hands-off regulatory approach to protect fledgling organic market evolution, the cable sector is a unique, braying beast built on the back of apathy, revolving door regulation, and an utter disdain for the captive consumers the sector serves. As such, Powell won't find too many people crying themselves to sleep just because the FCC finally decided to do something about it.

Filed Under: cable, competition, consumer harm, innovation, michael powell
Companies: ncta


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  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 19 May 2016 @ 6:41am

    former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

    Can you point to an example of where some customers had real and serious cable / isp competition?

    No?

    Then how can you compare the current situation of no competition with a situation where there exists real competition?

    Therefore you have NO EVIDENCE.

    The former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

    There is NO EVIDENCE.

    I'm less certain about whether the cable / isp industry is being 'unfairly attacked'.


    And just as a friendly reminder from your friendly lobbyists...
    * smoking doesn't cause cancer
    * fracking doesn't cause earthquakes
    * man made co2 emissions does not cause global warming
    * abstinence only sex-education does not cause teen pregnancy

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    • identicon
      I.T. Guy, 19 May 2016 @ 7:28am

      Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

      #3 LOL. it's 40 degrees in May. Didn't you know the mantra is now "Climate change." Because the climate has never changed in the history of the planet. /s

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 19 May 2016 @ 7:55am

        Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

        That's one of my favourite indications of whether someone is a moron. It's cold where you happen to be standing so *global* warming is a myth? How stupid do you have to be to not understand both words of a 2 word term, let alone the fact that there's multiple climates across the world and completely different seasons on different hemispheres?

        Sadly, now that another term is being used to describe the same thing, the dumbasses just think that's a sign of a conspiracy rather than an attempt to explain concepts to the hard of thinking.

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        • identicon
          I.T. Guy, 19 May 2016 @ 8:57am

          Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

          Ha ha ha Paul, don't get your panties in a bunch little fellah. I never stated global warming is a myth, (That was your ASSumption) nor do I think climate change isn't real. It is all real and has been happening long before humans and will continue to change long after humans are gone. It is the natural cycle of the planet.

          AS I SAID:
          "Because the climate has never changed in the history of the planet. /s"

          Where I take issue is blaming it on humans with such a short amount of time in recorded history. Like how close, or far the earth was to the sun during the ice ages? Was it an enlarged orbit? Too many unknowns to definitively place blame on our short time here. There is not enough data.

          Ha ha ha. Going all mad calling PPl dumbasses and throwing around "conspiracy" like a good little duped citizen.

          http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-02-23/1967-he-cia-created-phrase-conspiracy-theorists-and -ways-attack-anyone-who-challenge

          Why you so mad Brah?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2016 @ 9:04am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

            The distance to the sun from the Earth has not appreciably changed in the last 10,000 years and doing so enough to make a noticable difference in the Earth's climate would require an astronomical amount of energy.

            Your lack of science literacy is showing.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2016 @ 9:14am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

              "would require an astronomical amount of energy."

              Ahh, I get it now. An astronomical amount of energy resulting from an astronomical event ...

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            • identicon
              I.T. Guy, 19 May 2016 @ 9:22am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

              So you were here 9000 years ago? They were measuring it back then?

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              • icon
                DannyB (profile), 19 May 2016 @ 1:29pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

                Has it occurred to you that things that happened in the past can be discovered in modern times?

                As a simplistic example, more suitable for your level, I will point out that there is a large meteor crater in Arizona.

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 12:16am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

                So, you're saying that everything that happened before you were born is in question, or only the things that you don't agree with?

                Sorry, but someone so ignorant of how scientists compile historical data shouldn't be acting like he knows something. You don't. Maybe read some scientific journals occasionally rather than getting it from a finance blog, you might learn something.

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                • identicon
                  Wendy Cockcroft, 20 May 2016 @ 6:03am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

                  Ice cores.
                  Clay/soil core samples.
                  Tree ring record.
                  Fossil record.

                  They are but a few of the checkable indicators of what the sun has been doing for the last few thousand years. Did you know that days used to be a lot shorter than they are now and that the moon used to be a lot closer? The evidence is in fossilised coral.

                  Rather than pointing and laughing at people you disagree with, ask what their evidence for their position is, then check it out carefully. If it stands up to scrutiny, you've got a case. If not, admit you're wrong.

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                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 6:23am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

                    "ask what their evidence for their position is"

                    In my experience, climate change deniers fall in the same camp as creationists - they don't have any. That's why some of their arguments tend to overlap ("were you there?" seems to be a favourite of both camps, for example, without realising that it also discredits their own claims)

                    "If not, admit you're wrong."

                    Wrong about what? The scientific method? The evidence that you yourself listed?

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                    • identicon
                      Wendy Cockcroft, 20 May 2016 @ 7:32am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

                      Erm, I'm persuaded by the evidence that we human beings have been pumping a lot of pollutants into the atmosphere to the point that it's messing with the weather.

                      That the earth has been warmer before and cooler before is not at issue, we know that's true. However, the fossil/ice core/tree ring record provided evidence that points to certain natural events having been the most likely cause, e.g. sunspot activity.

                      Okay, compare the records we have about sunspots, etc. (they go back about six hundred years), and what was happening with the weather then with the records we have about those same things now and compare the two.

                      If the same things are happening today with the same results, you win; anthropogenic causation can be ruled out. But if the same things are happening today with different results, anthropogenic causation seems more likely than not.

                      I'm asking you to consider what happened in the past when volcanoes blew their tops and spewed a lot of ash into the atmosphere, when there were a lot of sunspots or solar flares, or anything else that might affect our weather. Are those same things are happening today to the same extent?

                      Are different things happening today, e.g. a reduction in volcanic activity, etc.?

                      If different things are happening today, e.g. there's not a lot of solar flaring or sunspots and volcanoes aren't blowing lots of ash into the atmosphere, whatever else could be causing the warming we're experiencing? It's not just the air to consider: carbon dissolves in water, too, creating acid rain and acidification of the oceans. This is either causing environmental harm or it's not. If it is, shouldn't we be cutting back on fossil fuel use?

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                      • icon
                        PaulT (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 8:01am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

                        Sunspots and volcanoes have been widely considered and the evidence still shows an acceleration due to human activity. This not a new discussion and has been brought up ad nauseum by "sceptics" who are usually just repeating the same old debunked myths. It's not a new idea, but at least it's better than the thermodynamic rule fallacy, for example, which falls apart as soon as you understand the rule referred to.

                        "If it is, shouldn't we be cutting back on fossil fuel use?"

                        We should be doing that anyway. You only have to look at cities in China and tales of old London to see how horrible overuse of fossil fuels can be. Technology development, costs, etc. are holding it back but there need not be a global catastrophe to switch over, it's a good idea even if nothing bad was happening to the environment long term.

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                        • identicon
                          Wendy Cockcroft, 20 May 2016 @ 3:07pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

                          Agreed. I mean, we still have problems with smog; clean tech should be adopted if only to improve air quality.

                          But I disagree with you on what's holding it back. Per Dan Snow's Filthy Cities series, it's fuel corporations trying to get their money's worth out of patents. Assume that's true. It explains the stories of Big Oil companies buying up electric cars, etc., to hold back adoption. It also explains why much of the skeptic propaganda is actually funded by Big Oil. And those politicians who are deepest in the pockets of Big Oil are prone to using Ye Olde Dogge Whistle to turn the argument into Left/Liberal V Right/Conservative to stop us getting our heads together to have a proper discussion about clean energy.

                          If I'm right, the reason we're letting Germany lead the field in clean energy is because we're letting politics get in the way of a proper, nuanced discussion on how to fund R&D into clean energy production. This particularly irks me because the Industrial Revolution began in Britain. There's no reason why we should have let it fizzle out. And let's face it, we have. :(

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2016 @ 10:41am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

              Your lack of science literacy is showing.

              Far more phenomena occur in space between the Sun and Earth then anyone knows.

              There are numerous theories on effects of solar flares, sun spots, the sun cycles, and there are even theories that imply that the energy created by solar winds against the Earths multiple layers of atmosphere and electromagnetic properties to create some sort of a special wormhole that allows unexpected types of conductivity.
              http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2168938/NASA-discovers-portals-space-Earth-Sun- dont-book-ticket-just-yet.html

              Sun/Earth distance is not even really a signification portion of the equation.

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          • icon
            wereisjessicahyde (profile), 19 May 2016 @ 9:10am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

            Did you ever stop to think it might both a natural change and human activity? Why is the argument always one or the other?

            Think about this. If it is both we are doubly in the shit.

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          • icon
            Hephaestus (profile), 19 May 2016 @ 9:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

            Yeah I know, do not feed the trolls ... but this

            Was it an enlarged orbit?

            What kind of idiot are you? enlarged orbit ... bet you believe in Santa, the Easter bunny, and that faeries make the flowers grow also.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 12:14am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

            "Ha ha ha Paul, don't get your panties in a bunch little fellah. I never stated global warming is a myth, (That was your ASSumption) nor do I think climate change isn't real."

            Then why are you attacking me for agreeing with you? Sorry for misinterpreting your sarcasm indicator as meaning you hasn't failed for some of the myths.

            "Where I take issue is blaming it on humans with such a short amount of time in recorded history."

            The warming has visibly accelerated in the last century and a half, warming much faster than previous cycles. That's what's concerning. We know the properties of greenhouse gases and they clearly cause atmospheric warming. Humans have been dumping said gases into the atmosphere at a massive rate. We are clearly a cause of the acceleration, though possibly not the sole cause.

            Your understanding of the science is poor.

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            • identicon
              Wendy Cockcroft, 20 May 2016 @ 7:33am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

              We know the properties of greenhouse gases and they clearly cause atmospheric warming. Humans have been dumping said gases into the atmosphere at a massive rate. We are clearly a cause of the acceleration, though possibly not the sole cause.

              That seems entirely reasonable to me.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2016 @ 8:16am

        Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

        The cockholes most screaming about world doom and gloom are usually the most ignorant tools around.

        Correlation does not equal causation. The sarcasm is just as ignorant as the non-sarcastic versions.

        Humans are stupid and you can amazingly get large swaths of humans to believe a lot of dumb shit as proven by history.

        According to Gore we should be swimming up to our ears by now. The debate on "Climate Change" has been so fucked on both sides anyone thinking they can trust the results is a fucking fool.

        Both science and religion quite often gets a lot of shit wrong throughout history and people pay for it just like the whole abstinence shit. The moment a human hits puberty they need to know about sex period, not before and not after, because that is when they need to be prepared to process those urges. Christians are just as stupid about sex as the secularists and I am a Christian that can admit my side is insane with that shit.

        Kinda like the whole fat is bad for you garbage from the 50's so we switched to sugar in food to improve taste because of a fucking politician and now we have diabetes on the rise and reports now coming out that fat was never bad for you to begin with. Like always, there is a balance and everyone says fuck the balance it needs to be my way or the highway. Typical two party there is no middle road baloney.

        And what is worse, is that pollution is still a fucking problem (larger than bullshit climate change) but that is now being largely ignored because using pollution to control peoples lives the way they can with "Climate Change" is not near as juicy to a Politicians ears!

        Is the Earth warming, well the data does seem to show that so I have no real reason to doubt that bit myself and even then there are some conflicting stories, agenda's, and piles of bullshit. But to take a leap of faith and assume that a few selective pieces of atomic material in large quantities is somehow a huge cause of warming and to radically fuck the planet and the people over economically is just asinine. Earths Climate is far too dynamic of a system and our technology is just not up to the task of this yet, hopefully in the future we will have it, but not right now... NOT EVEN CLOSE!

        The problem with today's Scientists is that is a Religion for too many folks! I call it pseudo Science with just enough truth in it to slime well hidden poison to where it needs to be so politics can do its nasty work.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2016 @ 8:38am

          Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

          You're delusional.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2016 @ 10:29am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

            I know you are but what am I?

            Yea... you don't know jack shit any more than any other person here. Your only recourse is to put your faith in a human that can be corrupted without end.

            Almost the entire crowd of Climate Alarmists are victims of the Dunning-Kruger effect. You all think you know far more than you actually do and then double down on your own stupidity when challenged or even if someone just says yea, I do not arrive at the same conclusion you do when I look at the evidence. Many of you up here see the same shit in congress, make comments on it, and then do it yourselves when it suits you. Is it really any wonder our politicians are corrupt? They look at idiots like you and say... these people are tools, all we have to do is parrot a few lines and they will follow us anywhere. I love these idiots voters! We will take everything from them before they even know that they actually gave it away!

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        • identicon
          I.T. Guy, 19 May 2016 @ 9:11am

          Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

          "Is the Earth warming"
          The question is, is the Earth warming/cooling faster than normal due to human interaction?
          -
          An ice age is a period of colder global temperatures and recurring glacial expansion capable of lasting hundreds of millions of years. Thanks to the efforts of geologist Louis Agassiz and mathematician Milutin Milankovitch, scientists have determined that variations in the Earth’s orbit and shifting plate tectonics spur the waxing and waning of these periods. There have been at least five significant ice ages in Earth’s history, with approximately a dozen epochs of glacial expansion occurring in the past 1 million years. Humans developed significantly during the most recent glaciation period, emerging as the dominant land animal afterward as megafauna such as the wooly mammoth went extinct.

          So along with the expansion(cooling) there had to be retraction(heating) no?

          I love the way PPL here try and claim they are "critical thinkers" and then say dumb shit like Paul.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2016 @ 9:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

            You copied that quote from here

            http://www.history.com/topics/ice-age

            Why don't you at least cite your sources

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 12:32am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

              "Why don't you at least cite your sources"

              Because his sources so far have been a financial blog known to be heavily biased and a TV channel. If that's where he's getting his information, no wonder he doesn't understand the science. I wonder if he's ever read a primary source, let alone one that's not filtered information to fit an agenda.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2016 @ 10:33am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

            If your only benchmark for whom is a critical thinker or not is based on a few choice words then you should re-evaluate what you believe critical thinking to be.

            A lot of people say "consider the source" when things are told, well I say instead... "consider the truth", wisdom can come from the mouth of babes and there is not a single person alive that does not lie or have bias of their own. In fact people that emphasize that they should be trusted or have no bias are the worst of them all!

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 12:30am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

            "The question is, is the Earth warming/cooling faster than normal due to human interaction?"

            The answer to that is yes, and that's the problem. It's warming much faster than previous cycles, and this affects the ability of ecosystems to adapt. This includes humans. It's not simple warming that's the problem, it's the accelerated speed, which is why blathering on about cycles is a misdirection.

            "I love the way PPL here try and claim they are "critical thinkers" and then say dumb shit like Paul."

            I love the way people who attack in replies not to my comments don't have a clue about reality, but then I do take an interest in the actual science and not what a blog has to say to investors.

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        • icon
          Hephaestus (profile), 19 May 2016 @ 9:49am

          Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

          One line about climate and we get stupidity like yours here.

          Lets see if we can trigger a bunch more search engines to bring us more trolls.

          Go Hillary
          Go Trump
          Go Bernie
          Coal is bad
          Oil is causing climate change
          Solar power will win in the end

          I wonder if that will cause the tornado equivalent of a troll storm ...

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2016 @ 10:43am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

            Maybe... and considering your name, you probably think you are more crafty than you actually are.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 12:25am

          Re: Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

          "According to Gore"

          Who cares what Gore thinks? Do you have actual scientists who claim things or do you only listen to politicians?

          "Both science and religion quite often gets a lot of shit wrong throughout history and people pay for it just like the whole abstinence shit."

          The whole abstinence shit is 100% religion. The scientists are the ones promoting safe sex and sex education. One requires faith based on bad information and unrealistic demands, another depends on factual accuracy and a correctly informed populace.

          Why did you come up with this example where one side is clearly, 100% wrong? Is it because you know the same applies here?

          "because of a fucking politician"

          So why are you blaming scientists? Shouldn't you be blaming the media and politicians for the bad information? Popular media usually misreports scientific studies, why blame the accurate sources rather than those spreading misinformation?

          "But to take a leap of faith and assume that a few selective pieces of atomic material in large quantities is somehow a huge cause of warming "

          You might wish to learn something. We know the chemical properties of greenhouse gases, we know the effect they have on the atmosphere, the results have been recreated in laboratory conditions and can be observed in the real world. These are facts, are reproducible, documented and known as much as the chemical properties that went into creating the devices you read this on.

          Only a fool would think there's any "faith" involved here. But, you're ignorant of science so you attack the people who are knowledgeable about it.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2016 @ 8:38am

        Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

        Go back to school please.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2016 @ 10:07am

        Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

        Look, a paid shill that was drawn by global warming key word being detected in a comment. Watch as he tries to derail the conversation by applying a lot of copypasta mixed in with loosely veiled attacks.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2016 @ 11:07am

        Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

        Actually many in that predicament argues that, yes, global warming exists and the climate is changing. You see, the climate has always changed on earth and historically more severe than today (which is correct, but lacks the ifs and buts).

        What they deny nowadays is the anthropogenic aspects: The Kock-brothers are honest men fighting against a growing misconception of reality! Vote Trump!

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    • icon
      Derek Kerton (profile), 19 May 2016 @ 10:53am

      Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

      Aside from the entertaining AGW debate (it's real, idiots!)...

      There HAS been an example where people had real and serious cable/isp competition. Lots of examples, in fact.

      Look at any market in Western Europe. The UK or France, for example. They took the US idea of UNE-P (letting companies like Covad compete over the incumbent's in-ground copper). While during Powell's tenure, we lost UNE-P in the USA, Europe ran with our idea. What happened?

      ISP bundles at 20 euros ($22.41) including:
      - phone, free calls to international
      - aDSL
      - Cable TV content, 150 channels with DVR

      Bump it up to 27 euros/mo, and you get the Bbox La Fibre with fiber up to 1Gbps.
      https://www.bouyguestelecom.fr/offres-internet/bbox

      I pay Comcast $130 for a similar bundle.

      Summary: in the EU, where there is fierce competition because of UNE-P, they pay $22.41 for what I pay $130, where Michael Powell oversaw the clawback of UNE-P.

      So, um...Powell...tell us again how there is "no evidence of consumer harm."

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2016 @ 11:56am

        Re: Re: former FCC boss turned slimy cable lobbyist is right!

        Indeed, but we see this all the time.

        If a politician disagrees with your plan, its like you never told them about it in the first place, then they turn around and say that you will not work with them or that you have not given them anything so shut up and sit down.

        Classic deceitful misdirection, and always on the short list of a go to tactic for any politician.

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  • icon
    Berenerd (profile), 19 May 2016 @ 6:50am

    "without any compelling evidence of harm to consumers or competitors."

    What competitors?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 19 May 2016 @ 6:52am

    "We find ourselves the target of a relentless regulatory assault,” Powell told attendees.

    Mr. Powell appears to be confused regarding the difference between "assault" and "act of self-defense." This is a small part of what it looks like when democracy fights back.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 19 May 2016 @ 6:54am

    "without any compelling evidence of harm to consumers or competitors."

    Is this like how you can't admit cord cutting is a thing?

    Also competition requires an actual competitor who doesn't have deals in place to keep prices & services on similar levels giving the illusion of choice (between 2 shitty providers).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2016 @ 7:02am

    Reminds of Clinton's "no evidence of all these hundreds of millions of dollars I receive for my campaigns buying me off".

    These people have no shame.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2016 @ 7:06am

    Re: relentless and unprovoked.

    Hardly,

    The telecom act of 1996 alla Bill Clinton resulted in heavy deregulation of the Industry. The current situation is the result of a focus on financial "innovation" at the expense of technical innovation since then.

    The fact that it has been 10 years and they haven't suffered a breakup, is evidence that though provoked, the response has hardly been relentless. Though I'm looking forward to when it becomes is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Derek Kerton (profile), 19 May 2016 @ 11:12am

      Re: Re: relentless and unprovoked.

      I think you're trying to put the blame on Clinton here (I may be wrong.) But the Telecom Act is more of an FCC thing than a Clinton thing.

      And, moreover, it was GOOD for competition. It was the Telecom Act of 1996 that brought us UNE-P - The plan for Unbundling Network Elements. In plain English, that means separating the copper wire in the ground from the incumbents, and letting any other competing ISP lease that copper.

      The result was the immediate flourish of DSL, and always-on broadband for the first time to consumers in the USA. We had a rush of new entrants, Covad being the most recognized names, but there were MANY. These competitors COMPETED with the incumbents for our DSL business, and prices were dropping, while services were improving.

      This spurred the cable companies into responding, so they came out with DOCSIS and Internet over their lines, which actually turned out to be a "fatter pipe".

      Things were going quite well under the 1996 Act. Which was not appreciated by the big telecom players. They sued to quash UNE-P.

      Unfortunately, "both the UNE Remand Order and the Line Sharing Orders were remanded by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in United States Telecom Association v. FCC, decided on May 24, 2002."

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unbundled_network_element

      2002...Hmmm...who was the FCC Chairman at the time? Powell, you say? How hard do we think the Powell FCC fought the big telecom operators in court to protect the competition that the 1996 Act brought citizens? Not hard - Powell actually argued on the incumbent's side in the debate.

      In conclusion, as far as laws and regs go, the 1996 Telecom Act was FUCKING GREAT for the citizens of the USA. But it was gutted under a willing FCC Chairman Powell. You've gotta be pretty blind to not see that this man was always in the pocket of incumbents, and singly set US telecom competition back more than a decade.

      Since I am a political man, I'll point out that the Dems and the GoP were consistently on opposite sides of this short history. You'll hopefully note where your angry letters should be sent.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Derek Kerton (profile), 19 May 2016 @ 11:25am

        Re: Re: Re: relentless and unprovoked.

        Here's reference on Powell actually taking the big telcos side of the UNE-P debate:

        "While Commissioner Martin supported all provisions of the order, the two other Republicans on the FCC, Chairman Powell and Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy...both supported exempting broadband from unbundling...The two Democrats, Copps and Adelstein...both dissented on exempting broadband from unbundling requirements."

        -Shaping American Telecommunications: A History of Technology, Policy, and Economics; By Christopher H. Sterling, Phyllis W. Bernt, Martin B.H. Weiss

        There's a lot more to this, of course. Things like the boom and bust of the late 90s through 2002; things like the first court case against the 1996 Act that the FCC won in 1999. The Powell argument was always that "UNE-P means that the premise-based telcos won't invest in their networks anymore." Which, on the surface is logical. But I think the evidence of Europe vs. the USA has since stacked up to prove Powell was either a shill, or just way fucking wrong.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 19 May 2016 @ 7:17am

    "They have been thundering, tectonic shifts that have crumbled decades of settled law and policy."... Which we paid a lot of damn money to get enacted.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2016 @ 7:34am

    Cable's "attacked" and exploited consumers for decades, and now that the FCC is standing up for the little guy victims, cable whines loudly about being the ones wronged here.

    Hypocricy thy name is Cable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2016 @ 7:42am

    Found the dingo...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2016 @ 7:57am

    The revolving door strikes again.

    I'm sure someone here is going to try and argue that he's not really a lobbyist because he somehow doesn't meet the legal definition of the word or something.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mattheus (profile), 19 May 2016 @ 8:17am

    Love this line

    "there are certainly plenty of sectors that deserve a hands-off regulatory approach to protect fledgling organic market evolution"

    Great way to phrase it

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Capt ICE Enforcer (profile), 19 May 2016 @ 8:42am

    No evidence

    No evidence, no evidence they say. The cable company not only killed my wallet, but then it tortured and killed my bank account. I have proof not only from the banks, but my refrigerator being empty and cold.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Hephaestus (profile), 19 May 2016 @ 9:55am

      Re: No evidence

      ... but my refrigerator being empty and cold.

      Thanks for informing us you still have money to power your fridge, will will be increasing your cable next month to compensate.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Hephaestus (profile), 19 May 2016 @ 9:56am

        Re: Re: No evidence

        Thanks for informing us you still have money to power your fridge, will will be increasing your cable bill next month to compensate.

        Hate when that happens

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JonC (profile), 19 May 2016 @ 8:45am

    "... and an utter disdain for the captive consumers the sector serves."

    I think you mean: ...and an utter disdain for the captive consumers the sector pillages and plunders.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    beech, 19 May 2016 @ 9:21am

    a shame

    "We find ourselves the target of a relentless regulatory assault,” 

    I, for one, am quite upset at this state of affairs. They clearly should be the victims of relentless battery as well as assault.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PlagueSD (profile), 19 May 2016 @ 9:25am

    If grocery stores ran like cable companies...

    No evidence of consumer harm??? Oh, that's a good one. Let's imagine if grocery stores ran like cable providers. Here's how I'd see it.

    Based on where you lived, you could only shop at a specific store. You had to by your groceries in "packages". You need a gallon of milk? Well, we'll need you to also buy some butter, sour cream, and cheese. That box of cereal? Sure, here's some oatmeal and bran flakes...We think that'll go pretty good with your choice of cereal.

    Oh, and the store will close at random times. We'll leave a number out front that you can call to find out when we'll be open after listening to our nice library of hold music for 3 hours.

    If this ever happened, you could just imagine what the outrage would be.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 8:49am

      Re: If grocery stores ran like cable companies...

      If this ever happened, you could just imagine what the outrage would be.

      That would depend on what neighborhood it happened to. Read about food deserts, and then consider if the level of public outrage is appropriate. Then imagine the outcry if Whole Foods closed their store in [your local posh suburb].

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 9:25am

    WTF and Why?

    The ORIGINAL article has nothing the F*** to do with Global Warming! What the fuck? Seriously?

    Perhaps the cuss words need to be crossed out but troll much and why the fuck is everyone responding to the trolls?

    Much is not most of the infrastructure for cable and nearly all the infrastructure for ISP's/Telco was paid for with TAX PAYER dollars. Sure maybe not YOUR tax dollars but certainly your parents, state, and federal government tax dollars.

    WTF does the cable industry have to do with global warming aside from requiring energy????

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 20 May 2016 @ 10:05am

      Re: WTF and Why?

      WTF does the cable industry have to do with global warming aside from requiring energy????

      If you read the very first comment, you can see what started it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 10:18am

    WTF and Why? Con't...

    Apologies to the grammar express and explicit folks. I typed in haste.

    However, how do we, any of us:

    a.) prevent this circus between industry, lobbist organizations, and government appointments?

    and

    b.) promote fair use of resources created/installed with taxpayer subsidies?

    Is it even possible with municipalities being sued for providing competitive broadband?

    I'm not a socialist, but any capitalist will tell you if they have a captive market then profits are dictated not driven by market forces. It is up to the capitalist to maintain that market advantage.

    It may sound evil. And perhaps it is. However if I was running one of the cable/broadband companies you would be paying X amount for T1 speeds and some multiple for anything beyond with usage caps for anyone not paying a business rate.

    Is it right? No. But I'm not in business to save you money, I'm in business to make money.

    What is lost on most people, AND THIS IS IMPORTANT, is that whenever a company can get taxpayer dollars to provide an exclusive arrangement or monopoly then it is in a company's best interest to do so.

    If the so called consumer protection agencies are being run by the foxes then the hens are fucked.

    I am a capitalist but I'd be lying if I said you weren't be fucked by the above arrangement.

    As a capitalist I welcome competition. So how do we change the status quo?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 12:44pm

      Re: WTF and Why? Con't...

      The bulk of your questions boil down to increasing transparency.

      # "a.) prevent this circus..."

      A start is fixing the dictionary act of 1871, so that abstract and biological legal entities are compelled to be regarded by the law as distinct concepts.

      One way to do this would be for a Union to bring suite against it's employer for making political donations. If capital is speech, then presumably so is the labor that creates capital? As such the Corporate donor has violated the unions rights, by compelling it to contribute to political ideologies to which it does not subscribe.

      The fallout would take a decade, but in the end there will be a lot less wiggle room for judges to accept corrupt arguments.

      # "promote fair use of resources created/installed
      # with taxpayer subsidies?"

      A lot of this has to do with calling bullshit on economic fundamentalism.

      Unfortunately the availability of data heavily favors established business. Consider the amount of data generated by business, vs. the amount of data generated by ecologists nationally. Is it any wonder that economists always end up supporting people who are crapping on ecology, when business demands it?

      You have to have data before you can make calculations, and you have to make the calculations before you can make the argument. So there is a chicken and egg problem. And it is one that is only going to get solved with a massive investment in combining best practices from various scientific studies. (read that as, MORE PEOPLE NEED TO GO TO COLLEGE AND STUDY HARD SCIENCES)

      Two ways to move in this direction:

      The PEL grant system should be graduated based on needed fields of study. (Sorry art history majors)

      Second, extend the student and citizen benefits parts of the G.I. Bill to the CCC, and refund it. (The Civilian Conservation Core is still on the federal books it just isn't funded) This solves both pathway to citizenship AND education benefits in one shot.

      # "How do we change the status quo?"

      Again, by demanding a higher standard of transparency.

      This actually starts at K-12. A big part of the issue is that Americans learn English from literature and drama minded teachers. Really a more Chomskyan view of language is needed. Language is a science not an art. Good structure inherently creates transparency, which is why it isn't accidental that legislative structure is convoluted. (Note that Chomsky IS a fruitcake, but his work in linguistics is impeccable)

      And structural transparency is also badly needed in legislative procedure. Many people these days use some kind of modern revision control procedure. The fact that Congress doesn't isn't justifiable at this point. Again it is a matter of structure being used to create transparency.

      And lastly, the most transparency oriented view in run for POTUS, is Bernie. Trump is an insomniac lunatic. Clinton is a prom queen. Generally people prefer a little crazy to lots of inauthentic narcissism. So it's fair to say that if Clinton wins the DNC nomination, the people standing on the floor at that moment, will be all the votes she is ever going to get.

      There is a syllogism about distance runners, and running form that applies to the Democratic convention.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2016 @ 10:47am

    WTF and Why? Con't...

    Apologies to the grammar express and explicit folks. I typed in haste.

    However, how do we, any of us:

    a.) prevent this circus between industry, lobbist organizations, and government appointments?

    and

    b.) promote fair use of resources created/installed with taxpayer subsidies?

    Is it even possible with municipalities being sued for providing competitive broadband?

    I'm not a socialist. But I do believe that a corrupt capitalistic agenda is being put forth. Any capitalist will tell you if there is a captive market then profits are dictated not driven by market forces. It is up to the capitalist to maintain that market advantage.

    It may sound evil...and perhaps it is. However if I was running one of the cable/broadband/ISP companies you would be paying X amount for T1 speeds and some multiple for anything beyond with usage caps for anyone not paying a business rate.

    Is it right? No. Did they advertise "unlimited" broadband? Of course. But I'm not in business to save you money, I'm in business to make money.

    What is lost on most people, AND THIS IS IMPORTANT, is that whenever a company can get taxpayer dollars to provide an exclusive arrangement or monopoly then it is in a company's best interest to do so. This has been documented so many times it isn't funny. Enron v California for example. Government and/or you are Idiots for allowing this to happen!!!

    If the so called consumer protection agencies are being run by foxes then the hens are fucked.

    The real question this story begs is how do we change the status quo?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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