Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

Broadband Fiasco

The WSJ's lead editorial this morning, "Broadband Fiasco" is right on about urging the Bush Administration to get behind deregulatory telecom policies in order to stimulate broadband deployment and use in this country. The editorial needs to be read widely, but especially by Bush's economic policy team.

The key WSJ point: "By subjecting the phone companies to regulations that exempt cable, satellite and wireless companies -- as if those classifications still mean anything to people outside the regulatory world -- the government is not only picking winners and losers but also limiting consumer choice. It's long past time that the government establish a clear national broadband policy that puts all competitors under the same rules."

I highlighted the pointlessness of relying on arcane, almost supernatural arguments tied to outdated regulatory definitions in my CNET piece entitled, "The Metaphysics of VoIP." That's what the WSJ means when it says "as if those classifications still mean anything to people outside the regulatory world."

PS--Well, I can't resist saying I like the WSJ's opening line: "Long before Janet Jackson's Super Bowl stunt, the Federal Communications Commission was debating the issue of unbundling -- telephone networks, that is. We only wish the FCC took this as seriously as it does Ms. Jackson's nudity." It reminded me an awful lot of my blog entry of February 2 posted in this same space:

"FCC Gets Further Mired In Unbundling Issues

Well, in the aftermath of the Super Bowl halftime show featuring the unbundling of Janet Jackson, FCC Chairman Michael Powell has instructed the staff to open an immediate inquiry into what he termed the "outrageous" broadcast. He promises the investigation "will be thorough and swift."

The FCC already has been mired down for years in debates over unbundling, but these not-so-sexy proceedings have involved the unbundling of telephone network elements. Maybe when the commission uncovers, swiftly, how the star of the halftime show came to be unbundled, it will then be able to apply that same passion for speediness to finally straightening out unbundling of the telephone network. (Whether JJ's competitors are impaired....well, I'm not going there!)

posted by Randolph May @ 3:02 PM | General