Former FCC Boss Turned Top Cable Lobbyist Michael Powell Blames Everyone But Himself For Current Net Neutrality Mess
from the some-of-us-remember dept
A huge part of Powell's justification for rampant deregulation (or really, the need for any meaningful regulators whatsoever) was that broadband over powerline was going to make the market so damn competitive that regulators really wouldn't be needed. Powell repeatedly ignored engineers who stated broadband over powerline caused massive radio interference in trial markets, and wasn't suitable for even a niche broadband deployment technology. As such, Powell's "great broadband hope" never took flight, and what we wound up with was a more potent and uncompetitive broadband duopoly than ever before.
Now heading the cable industry's biggest lobbying operation, the NCTA, Powell has popped up with a little bit of revisionist history, as he heavily criticizes the current FCC's shift back to Title II. According to Powell, the cable industry will most certainly sue over the FCC's new rules, and he blames everybody but himself for turning net neutrality into a "partisan issue":
"He suggested that after the principles became a declaratory ruling under the chairmanship of his successor, Kevin Martin, it they were probably applied in a "reckless way" [the Comcast/BitTorrent decision] that led to being overturned in court," which he said put a bigger spotlight on it, after which it became a 2008 campaign issue for Obama, then was promulgated as a rule and political imperative, and that is where he thinks the issue "got off the rail."Of course Powell ignores the fact that if he hadn't massively deregulated the broadband industry in the first place based on flimsy justifications and bad data, we likely wouldn't be having this conversation. Powell then continues with the idea that it's everybody else's fault for net neutrality becoming a partisan issue (like oh, claiming neutrality is "Obamacare for the Internet"):
"Asked to make the "Republican" case for network neutrality, Powell said Republicans are "no different from Democrats in that they want their messages to be heard," and Republican kids want to go to Nickelodeon, and everybody wants to use their iPhone. These services and apps are not partisan, he said. It was the President's "interjection" into the issue that turned it into "party political partisanship," Powell said.He's half right. As we've noted countless times, Democrats and Republicans alike support net neutrality, and a growing number of conservatives are supporting Title II because they realize it's the best available option in a market that's simply not going to be competitive any time soon. The difference is, if you back away from partisan pattycake for a moment, you'll notice that Powell's a huge part of the reason that competition doesn't exist. And as cable's top lobbyist he's still busy pretending the industry's hyper competitive while defending practices like unnecessary usage caps -- directly aimed at abusing the lack of competition he helped facilitate.
Republican, Democrat or aardvark, it's unfortunate that nobody in this country appears particularly interested in somehow documenting and remembering what people have previously said and done; it might just come in handy sometime when trying to determine credibility.