FCC Delays Free Internet Initiative Again


Posted December 16, 2008 - By Ty Colfax

A story I wrote about rather ferociously back in May and then continued the following week, is back in the news again.

It turns out the FCC's plan to auction off a frequency to the highest bidder, which would give them the right to give away broadband internet access under guidelines imposed by the FCC is getting delayed again. See below the cut for clarification on what this convoluted situation actually means.

This time the delay wasn't caused by free speech groups or lobbyists, but a few Democratic lawmakers, who, rightfully so, are requesting that the FCC devote more energy and resources to their other poorly conceived and executed pet project; the one where they needlessly make thousands of people's televisions obsolete by shutting off the analog broadcast waves that they never had the right to control in the first place.

I'm so hopping mad, I'm actually hopping right now at my desk.

Now, I know this auction and free internet business is all a little confusing but think of it this way: You're a company that sells apples. There's a regulatory body, that is not elected but appointed, to oversee the apple industry. Suddenly, they want to give any apple company the right to pay for the ability to give away apples. How would you feel about this governmental body giving away the thing your company makes money selling? Furthermore, how would you feel about them auctioning off that right to a competitor of yours?

Keep in mind that apples are a product of the earth and ultimately science, and therefore not the property of any government that claims regulating apple sales is in the public's best interest. Sure regulating food sales is useful and this is where my perfect analogy breaks down but now let's assume that the apples you sell are broadband internet, and that's where it all makes sense again. Also, regulating and profiting from are different things.

Pretty crazy, right?


FCC Delays Free Internet Initiative Again


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