Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mr. Genachowski, Tear Down That Potemkin Village - Part II

Yesterday I posted a blog suggesting that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's regulatory reform efforts were more of a Potemkin Village than real. I pointed out that he continues to cite the elimination from the FCC's books of the "dead letter" and Fairness Doctrine – a dead letter for a quarter century -- and other dead letter regulations as regulatory reform achievements, even though it is clear that these rules were not being enforced. 
According to Communications Daily [subscription required], an FCC spokesman responded to the critique by stating: "Other reforms include the agency-wide transition from paper to electronic filing, a reduction in the FCC backlog and the closing of 999 dormant proceedings." 
Exactly my point. Like eliminating dead letter rules, transitioning to electronic filings, reducing backlogs, and closing dormant proceedings is not an unworthy exercise. I give Mr. Genachowski credit for these matters. But there is no mistaking these "good housekeeping" reforms for tackling existing or proposed substantive regulations that have significant economic impacts and which do not pass cost-benefit muster. 
It is meaningful substantive regulatory reform of this type that I had in mind when I said, "Mr. Genachowski, Tear Down That Potemkin Village."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mr. Genachowski, Tear Down That Potemkin Village

As Communications Daily reported in its January 19th edition, President Obama recently gave the FCC a "shout out" for supposedly cutting 190 regulations, citing the FCC's efforts as a prime example of regulatory reform under his Administration. The same Communications Daily item reported that Cass Sunstein, head of the Administration's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), credited the FCC with eliminating the Fairness Doctrine and other regulations. 
Please! Hold the shout outs. 
Truth be told, the FCC's regulatory reform efforts thus far are more a Potemkin Village than anything else. 
First, the claim about eliminating the Fairness Doctrine. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has highlighted "purging the Fairness Doctrine from our books" as a regulatory reform achievement so many times it's become a bit old. Both Mr. Genachowski and Mr. Sunstein know better. 
In May 2011, FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell pointed out in a speech, no doubt to the surprise of most FCC cognoscenti, that the Fairness Doctrine was still codified in the Commission's rules. Shortly thereafter, in a June 6 letter, Chairman Genachowski wrote to Rep. Fred Upton, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, stating that the Fairness Doctrine "has been a dead letter at the Commission for more than two decades." In the same letter, Mr. Genachowski said the FCC General Counsel had advised that the Fairness Doctrine is "unenforceable." 
Again, on August 22, 2011, Mr. Genachowski stated in a Commission release that striking the Fairness Doctrine "from our books ensures that there can be no mistake that what has long been a dead letter remains dead." 
There are many other statements to the same effect. 
I don't have a problem giving credit to Chairman Genachowski for striking the Fairness Doctrine rule from the FCC's books. But I do have a problem with using a rule that Mr. Genachowski admits is "unenforceable" and a "dead letter" -- indeed, a rule that has been a dead letter for a quarter of a century -- as an exemplar of regulatory reform. 
Enough already with burying long dead dead letters. 
As Communications Daily reported in a follow-on item on January 23, many of the other rules eliminated by the FCC fall into the category of Potemkin Village regulatory reform. Among those eliminated are the Broadcast Flag rule held unlawful years ago by the D.C. Circuit court, eight regulations relating to a no longer operative version of the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, and thirteen relating to a no longer operative mechanism allowing a TV station to allege that a satellite operator unlawfully transmitted the television station's signal. 
Excising rules from the FCC's books that are no longer operative is not an unworthy exercise. But it is not real regulatory reform. And it should not be touted as such. 
Meanwhile, when presented with pleas to engage in meaningful reform, even of the modest variety, the Commission generally demurs. Even a casual review of the FCC's Public Notice, released on December 23, 2011, (the eve of Christmas Eve), shows how difficult it is to persuade the agency to reduce or eliminate outdated regulations. The Public Notice contains the recommendations from the Commission's various bureaus and offices regarding the biennial review of telecommunications regulations required by Section 11(a) of the Communications Act, added by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. This section requires the FCC to review every two years regulations that apply to any provider of telecommunications service to determine whether any such regulation "is no longer necessary in the public interest as the result of meaningful economic competition between providers of such [telecommunications] service." 
While the FCC staff recommended the Commission consider repealing a few regulations that no longer have any relevance in today's environment, such as Computer III CEI/ONA requirements, for the most part it demurred. And, with respect to various regulations relating to wireless providers, it declined to recommend the repeal or modification of any rules at all, despite the competitive marketplace in which wireless providers operate. And despite the fact that Section 11(b) of the Communications Act states that the Commission "shall" repeal or modify any regulation it determines not to be in the public interest. Not "may" repeal or modify. 
So, in the interest of fairness, it's time for Chairman Genachowski (and President Obama and Administrator Sunstein) to stop citing elimination of the Fairness Doctrine as an example of regulatory reform accomplishment. You can't keep killing and counting "unenforceable, dead letters" over and over again. 
It's time for the FCC to get serious about meaningful regulatory reform. There are plenty of existing regulations that no longer make sense in today's competitive marketplace environment, but which nevertheless impose significant economic burdens. They should be eliminated, or at least cut back. 
And there are others, which the Commission is proposing to adopt, even now, which it should not adopt. For example, the Commission should scuttle its proposed video navigation device design mandates, the proposed expansion of program carriage rules, any further actions regarding special access regulation, and the extension of network outage reporting requirements to Internet providers. 
A little over a month ago, I wrote an essay that ended this way: "Mr. Genachowski, build back that wall." There I urged resurrection of the policy, especially after adoption of net neutrality mandates, that digital broadband services should be walled off from regulation.
In a similar vein, and with all respect, my plea here is: "Mr. Genachowski, tear down that Potemkin Village."

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Happy Birthday, Everett

By Deborah Taylor Tate

Happy Birthday to my dear friend and fellow MMTC Board member, Everett Parker, born today, January, 17, 2012. Not many of us will ever reach our 99th birthday. Even fewer will have the generational impact upon vital and complex communications policy discussions that Everett has had – and continues to have. But most importantly, Everett also translated thoughts into action: strategically, energetically, and effectively. Thank you for your years of public service – most often for the poor, the voiceless, and the forgotten.

Happy Birthday, Everett, and I am honored to have had the opportunity to know and work with you at the FCC and beyond!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Implementing Spectrum Incentive Auctions

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski deserves credit for espousing spectrum incentive auctions as a means of freeing up additional spectrum for fast-growing wireless and other services, and I am happy to give it to him. But he is wrong to assert, as he did at last week's Consumer Electronics Show, that Congress should not make certain high-level policy decisions concerning the auctions.
In Las Vegas, Mr. Genachowski said that it would be wise for Congress not "to prejudge or micromanage FCC auction design and band plans." And back at the FCC, Rick Kaplan, chief of the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, released a statement asserting that "[s]ince the dawn of spectrum auctions, Congress has rightly recognized the need for the FCC to have appropriate flexibility to conduct them."
It is one thing to say that Congress should not "micromanage" FCC auction design, or "inappropriately" restrict the FCC's flexibility. But it is another thing entirely to say that it is improper for Congress to make certain high-level policy decisions about the conduct of the auctions.
It is most certainly within Congress's prerogative, and, indeed, perhaps even within its responsibility, to make such high-level policy decisions in authorizing the incentive auctions. While Mr. Genachowski suggests that Congress should delegate absolute discretion to the FCC with respect to conduct of the auctions, after all, it is Congress, not the FCC, which ultimately is accountable to the people.
Now I understand the distinction between Congress "micromanaging" and "inappropriately" restricting the FCC's auction flexibility is not a bright line to be found in some biblical injunction. But surely matters such as preventing the FCC from imposing new net neutrality restrictions or from restricting eligibility to participate in the auction to certain bidders – the very matters Mr. Genachowski wants to reserve to the FCC – fall into the category of high-level policy decisions that are appropriate for Congress to make.
This is not to say that Congress must decide to restrict the FCC's discretion regarding such matters, only that it is perfectly proper for it to do so. And, given the FCC's past and present predilections, it certainly would be reasonable for Congress, with an eye towards maximizing consumer welfare and protecting taxpayers, to choose to make high-level policy decisions that prevent the FCC from exercising completely unfettered discretion.
After all, the FCC's previous forays into establishing auction rules imposing conditions or encumbering participation have not turned out well. It is commonly agreed, for example, that the net neutrality condition imposed by the FCC on the 700 MHz "C" block auction decreased the value of the spectrum auctioned by 60% based on a comparison of the winning bid prices for the "A" and "B" 700 MHz blocks and the "C" block. Taxpayers were the losers. And so were consumers, who lost the opportunity to benefit from participation by those who may have wished to put the spectrum to higher-value uses unencumbered by the net neutrality restriction.   
A final word: Note that I am not advocating that, in authorizing spectrum auctions, Congress micromanage them. For instance, I think it would be unwise for Congress to prescribe auction design details, say, with respect to matters relating to bidding sequences, the size of the license areas, number of rounds, reserve bid levels, repacking requirements, and the like. These are not the kind of high-level policy matters I suggest it is appropriate for Congress to address.
So, Congress and the FCC each have their appropriate roles to play in authorizing, designing, and implementing spectrum incentive auctions. They should play them.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

FCC Should Act Against Unreasonable Satellite Dish Restrictions

The FCC is now considering a petition asking it to declare that Philadelphia's city ordinances restricting satellite dishes on family dwellings are preempted by federal rules. Those ordinances may place unreasonable burdens on direct broadcast satellite (DBS) dish installation, both for DBS consumers and dish installers, and, if so, they should be preempted.

But the significance of the petition extends far beyond Philadelphia. If other cities were to follow with their own unreasonably cumbersome dish restrictions, this could undermine the attractiveness and competitiveness of DBS service and thereby harm all consumers of video services. Moreover, the FCC's authority under the Commerce Clause to prevent states and localities from adopting unreasonable restrictions that interfere with the siting and construction of cell towers, microwave facilities, and other radio frequency devices may be weakened if the agency fails to act when localities impose unreasonable restrictions.

In today's video marketplace, DBS provides a vital role as a competing provider of video services. But in order for satellite TV providers to compete with cable, telco video providers, and online-delivered video, consumers of DBS services need to be able to install dishes on their property without unreasonable restrictions. So in Section 207 of the Communications Act, Congress granted the FCC authority to preempt county, city, or even landlord restrictions, on video-receiving devices like TV antennas and satellite dishes.

The FCC's "over-the-air-reception-device" (OTARD) rule preempts restrictions on the installation of dishes that "impairs the installation, maintenance, or use" of antennas or dishes that are one meter in diameter or less and located in areas within the exclusive use or control of the consumer. OTARD defines an impairing restriction as one that: "(i) Unreasonably delays or prevents installation, maintenance, or use; (ii) Unreasonably increases the cost of installation, maintenance, or use; or (iii) Precludes reception or transmission of an acceptable quality signal." Non-impairing restrictions must be applied in a non-discriminatory manner. Also, FCC precedents put the burden of satisfying OTARD on the enforcing entity.

In November 2011, Philadelphia imposed a thicket of restrictions on dish installations that, in several respects, appear to conflict with OTARD and undermine federal policy. The ordinances, for instance, would restrict placement of dishes on certain balconies and patio areas – areas most certainly within home dwellers' exclusive control – where the city believes that better alternative locations are available.

Furthermore, ordinance restrictions on placement of dishes on exterior walls of buildings in effect treat exterior walls as categorically beyond the exclusive control of the consumer. But many landlords and condo associations consent to tenants' control over exterior walls for dish installation in lease agreements and condo bylaws. And in several aspects, Philadelphia's ordinances appear to shift the burden of proving that dish placement and registration requirements are satisfied to DBS consumers or dish installers to demonstrate the material delay, signal reduction, and significant additional cost considerations. But OTARD puts the burden on the restricting entity, not the consumer.

Federal preemption of state and local police power regulations always involves delicacies and should be handled with care so as to respect legitimate state and local authority, especially with respect to public safety concerns. Yet, in important respects, Congress has authorized the FCC to preempt local restrictions that have the effect of impairing interstate commerce in competitive technology markets. In November 2009, for instance, the FCC exercised its authority under Section 332(c) to preempt local restrictions responsible for blocking or unreasonably delaying cell tower permit approvals to the detriment of the interstate commercial market in wireless services.

Congress also recognized the interstate commercial nature of nationwide DBS services. Congress sought to protect the rights of consumers to engage in interstate transactions with DBS providers, entrusting the FCC with exclusive regulatory authority over DBS. And Congress expressly empowered the FCC to prohibit local restrictions on dish installation that could otherwise pose barriers to DBS offering consumers an attractive competing video service. So it is incumbent on the FCC to take decisive measures to carry out Congress's objectives.

Onerous and intrusive local restrictions on satellite dish installation and their use interfere with the federal scheme for regulating DBS service. Restrictions that unreasonably burden dish installers and DBS consumers make DBS service a less attractive video service option. In order to protect the existing competitive market for the provision of video services, the FCC should act to ensure dish installation – and therefore DBS services – remains free from excessive and unwarranted restrictions imposed by localities. In particular, the FCC should address the kinds of problems exemplified by Philadelphia’s ordinances, lest it permit unreasonably burdensome restrictions in one major city to be replicated in cities across the nation.

A declaratory ruling by the FCC will clarify what kinds of local restrictions on dish installation are prohibited and what kinds of protections property owners and DBS consumers enjoy. In so doing, the agency will help protect consumer choice and a competitive video market. And, more broadly, the FCC will show its willingness to exercise agency authority under the Communications Act and the Commerce Clause to ensure that the channels of interstate commerce remain open to competitive technologies.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Burden on Public Participation

There is a very good piece by Cary Coglianese, noted administrative law scholar and founder of the site RegBlog, critiquing the FCC's weird proposal to require commenters to include in their filings "full copies" of materials they cite. Professor Coglianese's has focused a good deal of his scholarly work on increasing public participation in agency rulemaking proceedings, especially with respect to the opportunities enabled by e-rulemaking. He argues persuasively that the FCC's proposal doesn't make sense.

You should read his piece in its entirety, but here is his conclusion in the last paragraph:

"[B]y considering a requirement that public comments be accompanied by cited materials, the FCC deflects attention from the underlying concerns. The Commission’s suggested requirement, imposing a new burden on public participation, has things fundamentally backwards."

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Vital Lifeline

By Deborah Taylor Tate

Probably only telecom groupies realize the monumental efforts of the FCC over the past year to reform the $7 billion dollar Universal Service Fund (USF). The effort culminated in a voluminous order focused on the High Cost Fund that was adopted on November 18, 2011. And, while there will certainly be legal challenges to the USF order, it is no less an important step for the agency.

The FCC commissioners and staff should be proud of taking a stand and finally curtailing what has been one of the least efficient and certainly overly costly subsidy programs funded by taxpayers. The USF program has been a poster child for corporate welfare, and it has needed reform for decades.

On the other hand, the FCC now has the last piece of overall USF reform to finalize: the portion of the fund that supports qualified Low Income persons. And while I have been a vociferous supporter of reforming universal service for years, I hope that the Commission doesn't throw the baby out with the bathwater. While many have criticized the Low Income Fund for "waste, fraud and abuse" – indeed, I agree all government programs should constantly improve their efficiencies and implement procedures to prevent fraud – the industry has stepped forward with numerous solutions which already have solved most of these criticisms, and more reforms can be implemented.

But the bottom line is that low income Americans are still facing extremely high levels of unemployment and the longest recession since the Depression.

The low income fund is just that: a fund only for low income persons; only for the poorest of the poor.

In many ways, it is the part of the fund that most embodies what Congress intended by creating a fund that ensures all Americans have the opportunities available in a nationwide communications network. Congress indeed foresaw that communications would connect people to jobs, healthcare, schools, and, of course, their families. Today that connectivity should include broadband, and the Lifeline could again be the safety net to insure that no American – no matter how poor – is left behind in the Digital Age.

And here's an important point about the Lifeline program that should be emphasized: The fact that the program exists, as a means of targeting subsidies to those truly in need, makes it easier to argue convincingly that those parts of the overall USF program which distribute subsidies in a much more indiscriminate fashion, such as the high-cost program, should be subject to hard caps and gradual reductions.

In other words, the existence of the Lifeline program ought to be persuasive in arguing that subsidies that support service to the wealthy residents of Aspen and Jackson Hole should continue to be phased out.

My hope for the New Year is that the FCC recognizes the important – indeed, the critical – role that the Lifeline program plays in helping to ensure communications access for the truly poor. Rather than capping the low income program, we should be ensuring that those in need have access to this vital lifeline.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Internet Access as a Human Right

I particularly liked Vint Cerf's op-ed in the New York Times entitled, "Internet Access Is Not a Human Right."

It is tempting to succumb to the notion that Internet access, along with access to a bunch of other things, are human rights, but Cerf makes a persuasive argument that this is the wrong way to think about rights and the technologies that enable facilitate the exercise of some rights.

Here is the way Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist, put it:

"The best way to characterize human rights is to identify the outcomes that we are trying to ensure. These include critical freedoms like freedom of speech and freedom of access to information — and those are not necessarily bound to any particular technology at any particular time. Indeed, even the United Nations report, which was widely hailed as declaring Internet access a human right, acknowledged that the Internet was valuable as a means to an end, not as an end in itself."

I say, well put.

North Carolina's Broadband Battle

Just read a good article in Inside ALEC, the bimonthly publication of the American Legislative Exchange Council. The article is "North Carolina's Broadband Battle," by N.C. Representative Marilyn Avila. Rep. Avila authored the bill that became N.C.'s "Level Playing Field Law," which imposed restrictions on municipalities that wish to provide phone, cable TV, or broadband services in competition with existing private providers.

The bill resulted from the experience of municipalities in North Carolina getting into the telecom business in cities and towns in which the same services already were being provided by Time Warner Cable, AT&T, and CenturyLink.

Rep. Avila details the municipalities' money losing experiences -- really the taxpayers' money losing experiences since it is the taxpayers that ultimately foot the bill when the city-owned telecom businesses fail.

As Rep. Avila recounts the experiences of the N.C. towns, she sums up: "The facts were not pretty."

I don't have a link to the article, but if you get the Insider ALEC, Rep. Avila's piece is well-worth reading.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Tom Friedman on the Gig-U Project

NY Times columnist Tom Friedman gives a shout-out to Blair Levin's Gig-U project Gig. U project, a consortium of 37 university communities working to promote private investment in next-generation ecosystems, in his January 3 column.

When it was launched, I said I thought that the collaborative, seed-bed concept behind Gig. U was very promising and innovative, and I still think so.

Hopefully, 2012 will be a year in which Gig. U moves further along the continuum from conception to implementation to results.

Monday, January 02, 2012

New Year's 2012: Hayek, Liberty, and the Communications Policy Reform Agenda

I spent part of the holidays re-reading Friedrich A. Hayek's The Constitution of Liberty. (I know. Not exactly light reading like, for instance, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo!)

During the holiday period, I also devoted considerable time to thinking about the Free State Foundation's ongoing efforts to spur reform of the nation's communications laws and policies. (I know. Not exactly light thinking, like, for instance, thinking about whether to go see Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady before catching up on missed episodes of Glee).

In Hayek's famous work, The Use of Knowledge in Society, he explains the important role that dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge -- that is, information possessed by individuals acting on their own in response to price signals – play in the working of free markets.

The Constitution of Liberty, on the other hand, is not a work of economics, but rather of political economy. Here Hayek explains why a system of government based on certain foundational rule of law principles is a predicate not only for the functioning of a rational, efficient economic order but, just as importantly, for a government that both preserves liberty and promotes prosperity.

I acknowledge that when Hayek wrote The Constitution of Liberty, published in 1960, he was not focused on reforming communications law and policy. I understand this. Nevertheless, the fundamental principles he espoused have much relevance in thinking about that topic today.

To show why this is so, first, I want to set forth a few key excerpts from The Constitution of Liberty that fairly capture overarching central themes of Hayek's work:

"[T]here are two reasons why all control of prices and quantities are incompatible with a free system: one is that all such controls must be arbitrary, and the other that it is impossible to exercise them in such a manner as to allow the market to function adequately."

"If there is to be an efficient adjustment of the different activities in the market, certain minimum requirements must be met; the more important of these are, as we have seen, the prevention of violence and fraud, the protection of property and the enforcement of contracts, and the recognition of equal rights of all individuals to produce in whatever quantities and sell at whatever prices they choose."

"All experience confirms what is 'clear enough from American as well as from English experience, that the zeal of the administrative agencies to achieve the immediate ends they see before them leads them to see their function out of focus and to assume that constitutional limitations and guaranteed individual rights must give way before their zealous efforts to achieve what they see as a paramount purpose of government.' It would scarcely be an exaggeration to say that the greatest danger to liberty today comes from the men who are most needed and most powerful in modern government, the efficient expert administrators exclusively concerned with what they regard as the public good."

"[T]here is a strong presumption against such [general regulations of economic activity] because their over-all cost is almost always underestimated and because one disadvantage in particular – namely, the prevention of new developments – can never be fully taken into account."

Next, with the above excerpts in mind, I want to extract from these themes several key principles that are relevant to establishing welfare-enhancing communications policies in today's competitive, fast-changing, technologically dynamic marketplace, and also to understanding the FCC's proper role and stance. These principles are:
  •       A proper role for government is the protection of property and the enforcement of contracts.
  •       The free market, not government officials, should dictate the quantities of goods and services produced and the prices at which they are sold because the decisions of government officials necessarily will be arbitrary in relation to those of the market.
  •       Even if they are well-intentioned, administrative agencies are, by definition, almost always overzealous in pursuing what they claim as the public good at the expense of individual freedom.
  •       The costs imposed by new regulations almost always are underestimated, while new developments are not fully anticipated.
Finally, I want to suggest, what should be obvious: Communications law and policy, as it stands today, is far from grounded in Hayekian principles. And the FCC, as the administrative agency charged with implementing the communications laws, regularly acts just in the way Hayek suggested such an agency would act – by overzealously and arbitrarily regulating in the name of the "public good," while downplaying the costs imposed by its regulations and failing to anticipate new developments.

So, as we continue our efforts at the Free State Foundation to spur free market-oriented reform of our nation's communications law and policies, we will do so with Hayek's themes and principles in mind.

This is true, for example, with respect to our efforts over the coming year to:
  •       Prevent broadband services from being subjected to public utility-style regulation and rolling back such regulation where it already has occurred, for example, with respect to the FCC's imposition of net neutrality mandates. See my recent commentary, "Build Back That Broadband Wall."
  •       Free up additional spectrum through authorization of incentive auctions and removal of current FCC rules that unnecessarily restrict licensees' freedom to use their spectrum more flexibly and to dispose of their spectrum more easily through workable, transparent secondary markets.
  •       Eliminate or curtail outdated video regulations such as the FCC's program carriage rules. In a recent FCC administrative law judge's decision, the program carriage regulations were (mis)used by the judge to arbitrarily abrogate negotiated contract rights in mid-term, and substitute the government's judgment concerning program carriage for that of a private business operator's, all the while disregarding First Amendment free speech rights regarding program content selection. See my recent commentary, "The Tennis Channel Case: No Mere Foot Fault."
  •       Eliminate, as contemplated by the newly-introduced "Next Generation Television Marketplace Act," the obsolete regulatory regime in which the government requires that multichannel video operators "must carry" certain kinds of channels with particular kinds of program content, restricts the number and kinds of media outlets that may be commonly owned, and establishes a compulsory license regarding retransmission of certain kinds programming by cable operators, all the while offending free market and free speech principles. For a good short primer on why the "Next Generation Television Marketplace Act" warrants a positive reception, see the paper, "The FCC and the Unfree Market for TV Program Rights," by Free State Foundation Academic Advisory Board Member Bruce Owen.
  •       Reform the FCC's broken merger (transaction) review process in which the agency frequently exercises its largely unfettered discretion under the indeterminate public interest standard to impose conditions on the merging parties that are unrelated to the transaction before the Commission and which are not justified by competition analysis. Nothing has changed to improve this "regulation by condition" process of coerced volunteerism since I first wrote about the problem in "Any Volunteers" in 2000.
  •       Oppose efforts to get the International Telecommunications Union's World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT–2012), to be held in October 2012, to adopt policies that, under cover of the ITU, sanction control and regulation of the Internet in various ways, including regulation of transmissions and content that governments deem offensive. See FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell's recent speech warning about those advocating at the WCIT for a new regime that "would create a new overarching layer of international regulation."
I understand there are other communications policy topics that could be highlighted, and that there are issues within issues in the topics listed above. The listing is not intended to be exhaustive. What I intend to show is that, running through the compilation, is a Hayekian approach that respects contracts and private property, constrains otherwise unbridled administrative discretion, and promotes free markets and the rule of law.

This is the surest – and, in the end -- the only sure way to advance prosperity and protect liberty at the same time.