Telecoms policy transition is a turnover, not a new game

23 November 2016 by Steve Blum
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Pick up the ball and move it in the opposite direction.

A two-man Trump transition “landing team” is descending on the Federal Communications Commission. Jeffrey Eisenach and Mark Jamison have made their career at the dark junction of industry, academia and government. Both are affiliated with the D.C.-based American Enterprise Institute, an industry-friendly consulting group that serves clients on the right wing of the political ecosystem, and both have strong ties to the telecoms industry, Eisenach as a consultant to Verizon and Jamison as a lobbyist for Sprint.… More

Trump telecom policy may be hiding in plain sight on Capitol Hill

22 November 2016 by Steve Blum
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The only major telecommunications bill with more than a slim chance of making it out of the U.S. congress and onto president Obama’s desk before everything re-sets in January is the Mobile Now act, aka senate bill 2555. But it’s not the only one worth watching.

Authored by the chairman of the senate’s commerce, science and transportation committee, John Thune (R – South Dakota), the bill would free up more spectrum for mobile broadband purposes, for both licensed and unlicensed users, and streamline procedures for installing broadband infrastructure – towers and fiber – on federal property.… More

Attorney general nominee might look kindly on monopolies

19 November 2016 by Steve Blum
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But if you’re a dope smoking lowrider, bring some ID when you go to vote.

Next to the FCC, the federal justice department swings the biggest axe inside the Beltway when it comes to oversight of the telecommunications industry. It’s not wielded often, but the department’s antitrust powers have helped to shape the market for broadband, video and telephone services in the U.S.

Most recently, it sided with the Federal Communications Commission in killing Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable and its mega-market swap with Charter.… More

Action must follow CPUC broadband investigation

14 November 2016 by Steve Blum
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That’s a powerful force. Research should be done.
Oh, it will be, Dr. Jones, I assure you.

A proposed California Public Utilities Commission decision slams the lack of telecommunications competition in the state and goes a long way toward demolishing the artificial distinction between telephone and broadband service, infrastructure and, crucially, regulation. If it’s approved more or less as written, it will create a factual and legal foundation for modernising telecoms policy and regulation in California.… More

Incumbents' coalition of the unwilling fights fiber disclosure rule

9 November 2016 by Steve Blum
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But if you really don’t know, click here and we’ll tell you.

Broadband is outside the jurisdiction of the California Public Utilities Commission, and it has no business investigating competition – or the lack thereof – among Internet service providers. That’s the basic reaction from a “Respondent Coalition” of incumbent telephone and cable companies to a proposed CPUC decision that slams the lack of broadband competition in California and would take a few, small steps toward opening the market.… More

Don't make U.S. telecoms market failure worse, says The Economist

8 November 2016 by Steve Blum
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Land of the rent-seekers and home of high prices.

AT&T should not be allowed to purchase Time Warner, according to a pointed editorial in The Economist. AT&T’s monopoly power in some market segments and its cozy duopolies in others already gives it too much control over what people in the U.S. can see, how much they have to pay and how much money gets stuffed in the pockets of politicians, says the London-based newspaper and free market advocate

There are two reasons why trustbusters should now take a tougher line.


CenturyLink deal means higher prices for Californian consumers, businesses

7 November 2016 by Steve Blum
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Four into three equals market domination.

Expect to pay higher prices for broadband service – residential, commercial and industrial class alike – if CenturyLink is allowed to buy Level 3, the major independent fiber operator in the U.S., as recently proposed. That’s the picture you get when you connect the dots of a draft decision regarding the state of telecommunications competition which is currently on the table at the California Public Utilities Commission.

You don’t have to connect many dots.… More

California's broadband competition outlook dims as telcos head for the exit

20 October 2016 by Steve Blum
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The market for high speed, residential broadband service is not competitive in California, and the problem might be getting worse rather than better. That’s one of the conclusions of a draft decision prepared by an administrative law judge for consideration by the California Public Utilities Commission.

Although a typical household might have access to more than one kind of service, most have no choice – or no availability – when it comes to getting Internet access at 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speeds.… More

CPUC considers manifesto for broadband regulation

19 October 2016 by Steve Blum
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Not this Karl.

California doesn’t have a competitive market for broadband service, and the distinction between it and phone service is essentially irrelevant. With all due regard for the danger of trying to boil down 168 pages into 20 words, that’s the bottom line of a proposed decision by a California Public Utilities Commission administrative law judge.

ALJ Karl Bemesderfer was given the job of sifting through mounds of data, testimony and arguments submitted in the course of a CPUC investigation into whether there’s sufficient competition among telecommunications companies in California.… More

When does a duopoly collapse into a monopoly?

21 August 2016 by Steve Blum
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Event horizon.

Comcast and Charter Communications own nearly half of the U.S. broadband market. That’s the result I get from crunching the second quarter 2016 high speed subscriber counts compiled by Leichtman Research Group. Comcast has a quarter of the market – 25% – and Charter has almost as much – 23%. After accounting for rounding, the combination of the two totals out at 47% of U.S. Internet service subscriptions.

AT&T is the only other Internet service provider with double digit market share, but still lags far behind at 16%.… More