by Seton Motley
Everything the government does to regulate the Internet is illegal. The last time Congress addressed Tech policy they intentionally left the ‘Net completely alone. They authorized no one to regulate the Web in any way. So of course the Obama Administration has been in full-on regulatory Internet assault mode. And they are successfully killing it.
And this last week was yet another terrible one.
After $1 trillion in private investment, and in less than ten years, 95% of Americans have broadband Internet access. This is an extraordinary - nigh unprecedented - private sector success.
Yet somehow, for the third year in a row, the Obama Administration has asserted that U.S. broadband deployment is not happening in “a reasonable or timely fashion.”
So they propose a dramatically increased government role. The same government that in 1934 charged itself with making universal telephone connectivity happen (which is MUCH cheaper than Internet access). And started taxing us to do it. Seventy-eight years later, the government’s best year was 93% delivery.
Spectrum is the “airwaves” used for all things wireless - for instance, for your smartphone. The government controls who gets spectrum and how - so of course there is a drastic shortage.
And when spectrum does become available, the government jams the buyers with all sorts of illegal regulations - to which they must adhere, else the Leviathan will not grant them permission to purchase.
Cell phone company Verizon was just in the market - and the Obama Administration really laid into them - undermining both the free market and their free speech.
(T)he Administration approved Verizon’s wireless spectrum purchase from a cable company consortium - but, again, only with a whole host of illegal attending “conditions.” That, amongst other things, “restrict...joint marketing agreements.”
So not only are these “conditions” unlawfully imposed - some of them eviscerate the First Amendment. This Administration is telling these companies what they can and cannot say.
Perhaps the Administration’s most obnoxious recent move was their illegally, dramatically broadening their power to force wireless network owners to allow their competitors access at absurdly low price-controlled rates.
Which removes completely the incentive for anyone to invest in a network. Why would you, when you can wait for someone else to spend the hundreds of billions of dollars to build it, and then avail yourself of government-mandated cheap ingress?
Let us place this in another context to illustrate the inanity.
Say you want to open an Office Depot. You find the land you want, get the government permit and purchase or sign a lease. You get the government permits to build and hire the contractors. You then get the government permits to add plumbing and electricity, and you hire those contractors. You then get the government permits to design the interior - and hire those contractors...
Then, finally, you’re finished. But wait: here comes the Obama administration. Who demands that you rent a portion of your Office Depot to ... Office Max. At a rate far lower than what you are paying or the space is worth.
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
It is Obama cellular cronies - not soldiers - who are being given force-quartered access to less-favored companies’ networks, via executive fiat - not “in a manner to be prescribed by law.”
And the Administration is considering a completely illegal Internet tax.
To further over-fund the 15.7% phone tax, an $8 billion-per-year spread-the-wealth-around universal broadband connectivity program has been proposed.
All of this is breathtakingly stupid. It damages further a free market that has been under Obama Administration siege since January 20, 2009.
Obama has broken the economy. He then ran over it with a red steamroller. Then backed up and did it again.
Obama's plan is working. Unfortunately, this is his plan.