Thursday, October 29, 2020

Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I Auction Bidding Begins

Bidding commenced today in the first phase of the FCC's 10-year, $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) program. A total of 386 qualified providers are vying for $16 billion in Universal Service Fund (USF) dollars in the Phase I reverse auction, which will allocate subsidies to those bidders committing to construct broadband network infrastructure at the lowest cost. 

Phase I targets those census blocks where fixed voice and Internet access speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps are not offered to even a single location. It also prioritizes facilities that would deliver higher speeds (up to 1 Gbps) through a bid-weighting process.

RDOF Phase I promises to make broadband available to as many as 10 million people currently unserved. As FCC Chairman Ajit Pai emphasized, "[i]t represents a major investment in rural America that will benefit the entire country as we connect consumers who are currently missing out on digital opportunity, from the Pacific Coast to Appalachia and from the Great Plains to the Gulf Coast."

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Pending Proposal Would Dedicate 5.9 GHz Spectrum for Unlicensed Wireless Services

Free State Foundation President Randolph May tweeted the following regarding the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's circulation of draft rules for dedicating 5.9 GHz spectrum for unlicensed services like Wi-Fi:

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

FSF President Randolph May Supports FCC's Reaffirmation of RIF Order


Free State Foundation President Randolph May issued the following statement regarding the FCC’s action today reaffirming the Restoring Internet Freedom Order:

“The FCC’s action in 2017 in its Restoring Internet Freedom Order is the most consequential action taken thus far in Ajit Pai’s chairmanship, with the support of Commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Brendan Carr. And so today’s action reaffirming the RIF Order is equally consequential. It’s the most consequential because it’s clear that subjecting Internet providers to public utility-like regulation is harmful to consumers, if not immediately, then certainly over time. Since the repeal of the public utility regulatory regime imposed by the Obama Administration FCC, broadband investment, broadband speeds, broadband deployment, and broadband access have all increased, while prices for ISP services have not increased. And, of course, the Internet remains open. This is why consumers have benefitted from the RIF Order.

If convincing evidence of consumer harms ever does materialize – which I doubt will occur – then the FTC and the Department of Justice should be able to address any demonstrated harms. And, of course, in any event, Congress ultimately could decide to adopt a framework for regulating broadband.

If next year happens to bring a change in the makeup of the Commission, with a Democrat Chairman, it’s quite possible, maybe probable, the rubber ball will bounce again and that public utility regulation of Internet providers will be restored. If this were to occur, even in the face of the accumulating evidence showing that repeal has benefitted consumers, then perhaps Congress will act to adopt a free market-oriented law that will protect the openness of the Internet while, at the same time, avoiding discouraging the innovation and investment upon which a sustainably vibrant Internet depends."    


Monday, October 26, 2020

FCC's Proposed Order on Streamlining Cell Site Modifications Will Accelerate 5G

At its October 27 public meeting, the FCC will vote on a proposed order that will accelerate access to 5G networks. If adopted, the proposed order would enable streamlined review of modifications to wireless cell sites that involve limited ground excavation or deployment. The Commission should vote to approve it.

To make 5G network upgrades, mobile wireless service providers often need to add antennas to existing cell sites or make other small modifications to existing infrastructure. However, some local governments have used their powers over infrastructure permitting and zoning to obstruct even minor changes to cell sites. Local regulatory barriers to new wireless infrastructure deployment and to cell site upgrades are nothing new. The FCC's Wireless Competition Report from 2010, for instance, recognized that one of the "significant constraints faced by wireless service providers that need to add or modify cell cites" is "obtaining the necessary regulatory and zoning approvals from state and local authorities." This is still true in 2020. 

Congress passed the Spectrum Act of 2012 to provide for streamlined regulatory approvals of small modifications of existing wireless infrastructure. According to Section 6409(a) of the Spectrum Act: "[A] State or local government may not deny, and shall approve, any eligible facilities request for a modification of an existing wireless tower or base station that does not substantially change the physical dimensions of such tower or base station." The Commission has provided clarifying interpretations of Section 6409(a) that identify the types of infrastructure modifications that qualify for streamlined approval. In June, the Commission adopted its 5G Upgrade Order, which, among other things, clarifies the agency's rules for when the 60-day shot clock for local review begins and also clarifies how height increases, equipment cabinet additions, and some other aspects of proposed modifications affect eligibility for streamlined review. 


The Commission's proposed order, if approved by the agency at its October 27 public meeting, would revise the Commission's rules regarding streamlined approval eligibility when the infrastructure modifications to a tower or base station involve proposed ground excavation or deployment of up to 30 feet in any direction outside the boundary of a site. As the proposed order points out, the 30 feet standard is consistent with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers' recognition of 30 feet as an appropriate standard for federal historic preservation reviews of collocations. The Commission's rule change would apply only to cell sites located outside of public rights-of-way. 


As the proposed order observes: "[M]ore towers now house several operators' antennas and other transmission equipment" than they did when the Commission's implementing rules for Section 6409(a) were first adopted. According to the proposed order: "As a result, there is less space at tower sites for additional collocations without minor modifications to sites to accommodate the expansion of equipment serving existing operators at the sites and the addition of new equipment serving new operators at the sites." The proposed rule change will help facilitate the modifications needed to enable more collocations. Apparently, a large percentage of site expansions involve additions of backup generators to provide network resiliency in cases of emergency. Thus, adoption of the order would promote public safety.  


The FCC's proposed order on streamlined treatment for colocations involving excavations around existing cell sites deserves a "yes" vote. Agency actions of this kind undoubtedly are narrow in focus and technical in nature. But the proposed order and other ones like it are a big help in clearing roadblocks to infrastructure upgrades for 5G and other advanced services. 

Friday, October 23, 2020

Proposed Revisions to California's Privacy Law Create Additional Unwanted Uncertainty, Underline Need for Federal Legislation

The online privacy saga continues. The latest chapter: yet another round of proposed changes to the rules implementing the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), an unprecedented and overreaching set of restrictions effectively imposed throughout the country by a single state.

Internet traffic is interstate. Rarely is it confined within the boundaries of any single state, even one that happens to be the largest by population, the fifth biggest economy in the world, and the home of many major online companies. Congress therefore is the appropriate legislative body to craft the privacy rules of the road for virtual interactions between consumers and businesses.

In the absence of federal action, however, California's privacy law as a practical matter has filled the void, as many companies find it easier and more cost-effective to comply with the CCPA nationwide than to try to implement processes to identify who is covered and who is not. Of equal concern, efforts to implement the CCPA have led to uncertainty and confusion. As a result, compliance has been rendered unnecessarily and unreasonably more difficult and expensive.

As I have explained in a series of posts to the Free State Foundation blog and in a number of Perspectives from FSF Scholars, federal Internet privacy rules ideally should include the following:

  • Consistent treatment of all rivals irrespective of outdated regulatory classifications
  • A national approach that preempts state laws
  • Exclusive enforcement by a single agency (that is, the FTC) and state attorneys general (in other words, no private right of action)
  • A flexible, case-by-case approach to alleged violations rather than overly proscriptive ex ante rules
  • An "opt-out" model with respect to non-sensitive personal information
  • An acknowledgement that consumers do value ad-supported goods and services

Bipartisan efforts in Congress, in particular the Senate, have managed to find common ground on a number of these issues. Two, however, at present serve as insurmountable hurdles.

The first is state preemption. As I note above and addressed in detail in "California's Heavy-Handed Approach to Protecting Consumer Privacy: Exhibit A in the Case for Federal Preemption," an October 2019 Perspectives from FSF Scholars, a "patchwork" of state and local privacy laws is incompatible with the inherently interstate nature of the Internet.

Consumers expect a common set of rules to apply no matter where they, or the online businesses with which they transact, may be located. Similarly, it would be unreasonable to require online businesses to comply with different requirements based upon (potentially inconsistent) geographic criteria: a customer's real-time location, state of residence, Internet Protocol address, or some other consideration. Technical and administrative efforts to make such identifications would be an unjustified waste of substantial resources.

The second is a private right of action. Without question, as a general matter enforcement mechanisms serve an important purpose. They provide the teeth that motivate compliant behavior, prevent violators from profiting from their misdeeds, generate clarifying case law, and compensate those who have been harmed.

Particularly in the privacy context, however, a private right of action is ill-suited to the achievement of these goals. Individual privacy-related injuries often go undetected. When they do draw attention, the identity of the perpetrator may not be known. Actual damages, necessary for a case to proceed, can be difficult to calculate. And statutory damages often lead to the unintended and undesirable result where plaintiffs' attorneys recoup legal fees but their clients receive little, especially in the case of class actions.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that members of Congress at present are unable to achieve consensus on either of these issues. The passage of federal privacy legislation therefore appears unlikely at this time. In the meantime, online businesses are subject to the CCPA and its evolving implementing rules.

Drafted in only "a matter of days" and signed into law on June 28, 2018, the CCPA:

  • Created new consumer privacy rights (the right to know what data businesses collect, the right to require businesses to delete data, the right to opt-out of the sale of information, and the right to non-discrimination for exercising these rights)
  • Imposed substantial compliance obligations, including detailed notice and record-keeping requirements, upon businesses
  • Authorized the California Attorney General to impose civil penalties for violations
  • Established a private right of action qualified by a right to cure.

The CCPA also delegated to the California Attorney General's office responsibility for promulgating rules defining its precise scope. The devil is in the details, as they say, and until final rules were in place, businesses unavoidably lacked confidence in the adequacy of their compliance efforts. Unfortunately, Attorney General Xavier Becerra did not release initial draft rules until October 11, 2019, less than three months before the CCPA became effective on January 1, 2020.

Worse, the rulemaking process dragged on for months, beyond both the start of the new year, at which point businesses became subject to the provisions of the CCPA, and July 1, when enforcement of the statute itself began. After a great deal of administrative drama, the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) on an expedited basis approved final regulations on August 14. The rules became effective immediately.

Less than two months later, on October 12, AG Becerra proposed a third set of edits to those rules. As a result, businesses once again are faced with an uncertain future.

One such change relates to "do not sell my personal information" requests: businesses would be required to "provide notice by an offline method that facilitates consumers' awareness of their right to opt out." By way of example, notice could be given verbally during an interaction via phone or, if at a physical location, on paper forms used to collect personal information.

Another update would require that the methods by which businesses accept opt-out requests "be easy for consumers to execute and shall require minimal steps to allow the consumer to opt out. A business shall not use a method that is designed with the purpose or has the substantial effect of subverting or impairing a consumer's choice to opt out."

Comments on these proposed changes are due on or before October 28.

While perhaps relatively minor, the fact remains that these contemplated revisions would require businesses to expend additional resources to update their compliance programs.

The ink is not yet dry on the long-awaited "final" rules. The full extent of the COVID-19 pandemic's economic impact is unknowable. And the presence of the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020 (aka the CCPA version 2.0) on the November ballot threatens still more change and uncertainty.

Now is a particularly inopportune moment to impose additional burdens. But on the bright side, this most recent development out of California might serve as motivation for Congress to pass a federal privacy law.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Media Advisory: FSF Agrees with FCC General Counsel's Legal Analysis of FCC's Authority to Construe Section 230

The following statement may be attributed to Free State Foundation President Randolph May:

I've reviewed the analysis of the FCC's General Counsel regarding the FCC's authority to conduct a proceeding to clarify the meaning of certain ambiguous terms in Section 230, and I agree with his legal analysis. Indeed, his analysis, relying on Section 201(b) of the Communications Act, is fully consistent with the comments and reply comments that FSF filed with the Commission. See the excerpts below and the attached comments and reply comments.


The General Counsel's determination that the Commission possesses authority to conduct a proceeding to clarify the meaning of Section 230's ambiguous terms does not mean that the courts necessarily will agree that any Commissions interpretations are correct, only that courts reviewing the agency’s action will accord the agency’s interpretation substantial deference.


I hope, if the Commission does conduct a proceeding to clarify the meaning of Section 230's provisions, that those participating, regardless of their political persuasion, will not let politics and reflexive preconceptions trump sound legal analysis. And it is important to keep foremost in mind, given that Section 230 is now a quarter-century old, and today's Internet ecosystem bears little or no resemblance to that which existed at the time of Section 230's adoption, Congress, ultimately, may choose to revise or not revise the law as it sees fit.

.     .     .     .     .


Here are brief excerpts from the Free State Foundation's submissions co-authored by me and FSF Senior Fellow and Director of Policy Studies Seth Cooper:


FSF Comments: "Section 230 is part of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended. And the Commission has authority pursuant to Section 201(b) to 'prescribe such rules and regulations as may be necessary in the public interest to carry out this chapter.'"


FSF Reply Comments: "[I]t is worth noting that the Court relied on a grant of authority in Section 201(b) as empowering the Commission to issue a declaratory ruling clarifying the meaning of certain wireless siting provisions in Section 332 of the Communications Act."

Friday, October 16, 2020

FSF President Randolph May Highlights Vibrancy of the Nondelegation Doctrine at the State Level in Essay for 'The Regulatory Review'

On Thursday, The Regulatory Review published "The Nondelegation Doctrine Is Alive and Well in the States," an essay by Free State Foundation President Randolph May.

In this follow-up to his September 25 piece in the Yale Journal on Regulation, "Justice Ginsburg's Replacement Won't Decimate the Administrative State," Mr. May notes that, although the U.S. Supreme Court has not invoked the nondelegation doctrine since 1935, state supreme courts continue to invalidate laws that, through the impermissible delegation of legislative authority, violate separation of powers principles set forth in their own constitutions.

Midwest Institute of Health v. Governor is one such recent example. In that case, decided earlier this month, the Michigan Supreme Court found a law relied upon by Governor Gretchen Whitmer to declare a state of emergency and issue "lockdown" orders during the COVID-19 pandemic to be "an unlawful delegation of legislative powers to the executive branch in violation of the Michigan Constitution."

Citing the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Gundy v. United States for the proposition that "the constitutional question is whether [the legislature] has supplied an intelligible principle to guide the delegee's use of discretion," the Michigan supreme court concluded that the terms "reasonable" and "necessary" found in the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945 were mere "illusory 'non-standard' standards," insufficient to "serve[] in any realistic way to transform an otherwise impermissible delegation of legislative power into a permissible delegation of executive power."

Highlighting the existence of similar supreme court decisions in other states, Mr. May expresses hope that they will inspire the U.S. Supreme Court to revitalize the nondelegation doctrine at the federal level, which he concludes "is central to preserving the U.S. Constitution's separation of powers."

Study Predicts that Cable "10G" Platform Will Generate Substantial Economic Benefits

Telecom Advisory Services has released a study regarding the potential impact of the emerging cable "10G" platform on the U.S. economy. It concludes that the benefits could be quite substantial: "at least $330 billion in economic output and ... more than 676,000 new jobs over 7 years."

With all of the current attention appropriately paid to 5G mobile broadband, the letter "G" brings to mind the term "generation" (as in "fifth generation"). "10G," however, refers to "10 gigabit." Championed by CableLabs, 10G is an emerging suite of technologies and standards, including DOCSIS® 4.0, that promises to deliver up to 10x faster download speeds, lower latency, improved security, and greater reliability – all over existing network infrastructure. No digging or new fiber required.

In a September Perspectives from FSF Scholars, "'10G' Can Help Future-Proof Broadband Infrastructure," I discussed how – with some facilitating tweaks to the regulatory environment – cable broadband providers could help policymakers accomplish the goal of universal high-speed Internet access:

  • Existing coverage could be extended into areas as yet unserved.
  • Current offerings, which deliver gigabit downstream speeds to the vast majority (93 percent) of U.S. homes passed, are more than sufficient to enable rural Americans (and others lacking broadband access) to engage fully in virtual work, education, healthcare, and entertainment.
  • And, with an upgrade path to 10G on the horizon, subsidized facilities constructed today could remain competitive with rival technology platforms (fiber-to-the-home, Wi-Fi 6 and 6E, and the aforementioned 5G) for years to come.

"Assessing the Economic Potential of 10G Networks," the just-released Telecom Advisory Services study prepared by Dr. Raul Katz and Fernando M. Callorda, forecasts the impact that 10G deployments might have in terms of contributions to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP), increased consumer surplus, and jobs created. Without vouching for their precise accuracy, I would like to highlight the following claims:

  • Over the next seven years, network investment and related spending will contribute $126.7 billion to GDP – and create 376,000 jobs.
  • New applications and use cases enabled by 10G's faster speeds will add $131.7 billion to GDP – and lead to nearly 300,000 additional jobs.
  • Speed increases will generate $71.5 billion in consumer surplus.

As I do in the paper referenced above, the report points out that "Congress could encourage the deployment of 10G by cable operators [in unserved rural areas] by no longer requiring that broadband providers obtain designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier by the applicable state agency as a prerequisite to participating in federal universal service support programs" and "policymakers could encourage future 10G deployment by eliminating excessive fees and inequitable attachment requirements imposed by utility pole owners on cable operators."

Thursday, October 15, 2020

MEDIA ADVISORY: The FCC Moves Forward in Its Section 230 Proceeding

The following statement may be attributed to Free State Foundation President Randolph May:

It looks like FCC Chairman Ajit Pai agrees with the comments that the Free State Foundation submitted to the Commission contending that the agency possesses the authority to clarify the meaning of some of Section 230's terms and that it may be able to do so consistent with the First Amendment. In our comments, we emphasized that there is a difference between the FCC providing its interpretation as to the meaning of Section 230's provisions, for whatever weight the courts then may decide to give to the agency's interpretation, and the FCC taking enforcement actions pursuant to Section 230. And we emphasized that any action that has the effect of narrowing Section 230's broad grant of immunity doesn't necessarily violate the First Amendment. There is an important distinction, for purposes of the First Amendment application, between protecting a content provider's, say Twitter's, right to decide what to carry or delete, and granting such content provider immunity from suits for all of its content moderation decisions. I'm pleased, but not surprised, that Chairman Pai appreciates these points regarding the First Amendment and the Commission's legal authority.

Thomas Jefferson on Separation of Powers: Too 'Political' for Twitter

Twitter's decisions regarding its handling of tweets are increasingly controversial, with proliferating claims of political favoritism, especially from those on the right. Twitter's decision to restrict the sharing of the New York Post story containing new allegations regarding Joe Biden's possible involvement with his son Hunter Biden's work for Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company on whose board Hunter Biden served, have only intensified the criticism.


But sometimes Twitter's decisions just seem downright stupid. Take this one.


A couple of times a week, I post "Quotes of the Day" to my Twitter account @FSFthinktank. On October 12, I posted this tweet: "The principle of the Constitution is that of separation of Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary functions, except in cases specified…and it ought to be so commented and acted upon by every friend of free government. #Thomas Jefferson."


I liked the Jefferson quote enough that the next day I decided to spend $50 to promote it. But, immediately after attempting to initiate the ad campaign, I received a message from Twitter simply informing me that the promotion was rejected because it was "Political," and, therefore, inconsistent with its ads policy.


Who knew that Thomas Jefferson commending the Constitution's separation of powers principles would be considered by Twitter to be objectionable as "Political"? It wasn't a tweet promoting mask-wearing or not.


In response to Twitter's rejection notice, I posted this tweet on October 13: "I wanted to promote this tweet with a $50 ad buy, but it was immediately rejected by Twitter as "Political." I've defended Twitter's right under the First Amendment many times to decide what content it wants to carry on its service. But Thomas Jefferson on separation of powers?"


It's true that Thomas Jefferson was a politician, so I suppose Twitter can claim that anything he said or wrote should be labeled "Political," even though he was also the primary author of the Declaration of Independence – and even though he's been dead for almost two centuries.


Yes, because Twitter is a private non-governmental entity, I'll continue to defend its First Amendment right to decide what to promote or not, even when its decisions are silly or capricious, and even when I disagree.


But now that Twitter has saved me $50, if Thomas Jefferson's message affirming the importance of the Constitution's separation of powers principles resonates with you, or if you just want others to consider it, please feel free to share my rejected tweet. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Architects of FCC Spectrum Auctions Win 2020 Nobel Prize in Economics

The Free State Foundations offers its congratulations to Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson, the winners of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. Milgrom and Wilson's "best-known contribution" is their work in the field of spectrum auctions.

Today it seems rather obvious: auctions serve as an efficient and workable tool to leverage market forces in order to put scarce spectrum resources to their best and highest use. Simply put, those who bid the most, value it the most.

But a number of factors – differences between private (subjective) and common valuations, imperfect information, license coverage areas, and more – once posed challenges to the effective use of auctions in the spectrum context.
Thanks to their work in auction theory, however, the Commission was able to transition to auctions, to the benefit of consumers of telecommunications, the U.S. Treasury, and industry.

Thus, prior to the first spectrum auction designed twenty-five years ago by these two Stanford University professors and frequent collaborators, the FCC relied upon a lottery system – and, before that, so-called "beauty contests" – to determine how spectrum would be distributed.

As the prize committee explained:

[H]ow do you design an auction that achieves the efficient allocation of radio-frequency bands, while at the same time benefitting taxpayers to the greatest possible extent? ... Milgrom and Wilson – partly with Preston McAfee – invented an entirely new auction format, the Simultaneous Multiple Round Auction (SMRA). This auction offers all objects (radio frequency bands in different geographic areas) simultaneously. By starting with low prices and allowing repeated bids, the auction reduces the problems caused by uncertainty and the winner's curse. When the FCC first used an SMRA in July 1994, it sold 10 licences in 47 bidding rounds for a total of 617 million dollars – objects which the American government had previously allocated practically for free.

Between 1994 and 2014, SMRAs run by the Commission generated over $120 billion in revenues. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Twitter Rejects FSF Promotion of Jefferson on Separation of Powers as "Political"

The following statement may be attributed to Free State Foundation President Randolph May:


Today I wanted to spend $50 on Twitter to promote one of the "Quotes of the Day" that I post a few times a week to the account.


The tweet I wanted to promote is here:

Twitter rejected the tweet promotion immediately as inconsistent with its policy barring tweets that are "Political." See the attached message from Twitter at the bottom.


As I say in my tweet here: "I've defended Twitter's right under the First Amendment many times to decide what content it wants to carry on its service. But Thomas Jefferson on separation of powers?"


I'll continue to defend Twitter's First Amendment right to reject whatever speech or content it decides it doesn't want to carry, even when its decisions are beyond silly or capricious. But it's a sad state of affairs, not for me but for the country, when Twitter determines that quoting Thomas Jefferson on separation of powers as a means protecting free government cannot be promoted because it's a "political" statement rather than the statement of foundational constitutional jurisprudence and philosophy which it is.


And it is more than a little ironic that Twitter continues to presume to be a staunch defender of "net neutrality" for Internet service providers — as long as no neutrality policy is applied to itself.

Friday, October 09, 2020

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Media Ownership Appeal

 On October 2, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC, the 2016 decision in which the Third Circuit rejected for the third time in fifteen years Commission efforts to modernize its media ownership rules.

In its petition, the agency posed the following question: "Whether the court of appeals erred in vacating as arbitrary and capricious the FCC orders under review, which, among other things, relaxed the agency’s cross-ownership restrictions to accommodate changed market conditions."

Chairman Ajit Pai tweeted his approval of the decision:

 And as I pointed out to Broadcasting+Cable:

The FCC's media ownership limits hark back more than 40 years to a reality long ago upended by marketplace forces. Section 202(h) of the 1996 Act requires the Commission every four years to consider whether its rules 'are necessary in the public interest as a result of competition. Over the nearly two decades during which a divided Third Circuit repeatedly has blocked agency efforts to relevel the regulatory playing field, we have witnessed numerous examples of new entrants disrupting the media landscape – and, in the process, chipping away at the relevance of traditional outlets. But in terms of game-changing competitive impact, one need only consider the Internet. Facebook was created in 2004. YouTube in 2005. Twitter in 2006. Over half of U.S. adults today obtain at least some of their news and information from social media, and more identify it as their primary source of political news than either local television stations or newspapers. I therefore welcome the announcement that the Supreme Court will hear the FCC's appeal.

Thursday, October 08, 2020

Free Market Coalition Makes Strong Case Against Government-Run 5G

On October 7, a coalition of 43 free market-oriented organizations, think tanks, and policy experts – led by the Americans for Tax Reform – released a letter supporting private-sector deployment of 5G and opposing a federal government-run 5G network. The letter was addressed to Senator John Thune, thanking him and his Senate colleagues for their letter of September 30 reaffirming the free-market path 5G deployment.  

I agree on all fronts with the coalition's perceptive letter supporting private-sector deployment of 5G and opposing a federal government-operated 5G network. The Department of Defense (DoD) should not be spending taxpayer money to go into the broadband business and compete with private marketplace providers who are investing billions into 5G networks. In other actions, the Trump Administration has endorsed the market-enterprise approach to 5G. DoD should follow suit and discard the costly and counterproductive idea of nationalizing 5G communications.