Tech at Night: Dick Durbin’s Internet Tax, FCC Reform

On April 18, 2011, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

In a startling turn of events, I’m starting tonight’s edition of Tech at Night at 6pm, roughly 8 hours earlier than I have been starting it lately. Imagine that.

Top story is a shocker. I mean, I had no idea the Democrats would get this far out there. Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, wants to pass a national sales tax solely on Internet transactions. The sole purpose of this bill is to raise prices on all Americans who buy things online. This is basic stuff, folks. Every Republican needs to oppose this concept. Every single one. I will be taking names of the deadbeats who join with the Democrats on this, and I will be pushing for sanctions at the ballot box.

Meanwhile, The FCC is in need of major reform. Need to know why? Let’s start with this Harvard Business review look at the FCC. It’s not the most accessibly-written article, but it explains how the FCC is basically rigging its competition analyses to prevent itself from having to demonstrate that the wireless market is competitive. Direct evidence of competitive prices abounds, even in markets with less competition. I like this conclusion:

If regulators are opposed to consolidation as a means of addressing the spectrum crunch, the remedy is not to deny a licensee the right to sell or trade their spectrum as they see fit, but rather to get on the stick and get more spectrum out there faster. As in now.

House Republicans are on the case, too.

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Tech at Night: AT&T, T-Mobile, FCC, Patents

On March 24, 2011, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

So the top story this week is going to be the AT&T acquisition of T-Mobile USA. There’s a lot being said about it, about unions, about competition, but the story I’m seeing emerging is that this deal is about spectrum. AT&T sees in T-Mobile a way to get the spectrum it needs going forward. In fact, even power grabbing FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said to the CTIA that this is an issue:

If we do nothing in the face of the looming spectrum crunch, many consumers will face higher prices – as the market is forced to respond to supply and demand – and frustrating service – connections that drop, apps that run unreliably or too slowly.

So not only is T-Mobile a sensible purchase for AT&T in the short run, due to their use of similar technology, but in the long run this is the kind of purchase AT&T may need to be able to compete with Verizon. Verizon, of course, already got more spectrum when it bought the C Block of old television spectrum in 2008.

So if we want competition now and in the future, we need to let the deal happen.

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Nima Jooyandeh facts.