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Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Naughty and Nice--Part I
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This being the time for end-of-year lists and appraisals, not to mention for tippling too much eggnog and being a bit too free with your opinions, I hereby offer my nominations for who's been naughty and who's been nice in 2003. I invite my colleagues to join the thread with their own nominations.


The FCC for taking seven months to release it Triennial Review Order, a 500-plus page monument to legal incoherence and economic confusion that the DC Circuit will inevitably deliver us from sometime this spring.

The United States Senate for failing to make permanent or even extend the Internet Tax Moratorium. States and localities looking for tax revenue are now free to belly up to the bar. And, of course, honorable mention for naughtiness should go to the National Governors Association, which lead the charge to be able to tax net access.

The United States Senate (again) for not being able to pass an energy bill. Though pork-laden in parts, it could have incrementally helped solve investment incentive problems with the nation's electric grid and would have delayed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from enacting its misbegotten industrial policy called standard market design.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for [fill in the blank for its lawless decision of the moment]. In this case, I would cite its decision in the Brand X Internet Services case, where it ruled that cable modem service had "telecommunications service" components, as opposed to being a relatively unregulated, "information service." [Hearkening to Randy May's well-coined musings on the metaphysics of communications services.] Of course, the Ninth Circuit in part was filling a void left by the FCC's inaction after the City of Portland case, so it is the FCC's fault too.


The FCC for making incremental, measured, and fact-driven changes to the media ownership rules in the face of shameless mau-mauing and demagoguery.

The RBOCs and the IXCs and the CLECs for reaching a rough consensus that voice over Internet protocol should remain unregulated.

Former NTIA director Nancy Victory and FCC Cable Bureau Chief Ken Ferree for both rejecting as premature calls for so-called 'net neutrality' regulation -- and at a PFF conference no less!

The United States armed forces for accomplishing much and working so hard to protect our freedom. [Very little directly to do with digital policy, but I cannot help but in a small way celebrate their effort and sacrifice.]

The Florida Marlins for beating the Cubs and the Yankees.

posted by Ray Gifford @ 10:26 AM | General

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