U.S. FCC gets set to free wireless, unleash even more competition

“The Federal Communications Commission this month is launching initiatives that will shape the fate of America’s wireless industry,” Robert M. McDowell writes for The Wall Street Journal. “Last week it started to examine competition in the market, and this week it will propose taking Depression-era utility regulations off mobile broadband networks while protecting an open internet. This is only the beginning. The FCC is acting on a rare opportunity to correct its recent mistakes and restore the Clinton-era light-touch regulatory framework that will drive economic growth and job creation.”

“The mobile industry is experiencing an explosion of entrepreneurial brilliance, investment and falling consumer prices. Wireless carriers are knocking the stuffing out of each other to woo and keep customers. Most have unveiled new unlimited data plans, and smaller players are gaining on larger ones. T-Mobile added 8.2 million net new customers in 2016 at the expense of its two larger rivals,” McDowell writes. “Last week’s announcement that Comcast and Charter would enter the wireless arena portends even more competition.”

“Yet since 2009 the FCC has ignored its own studies and refused to determine that the wireless market is competitive,” McDowell writes. “That would have contradicted the rationale for its regulation binge, but new political and market realities make a fresh start possible”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in August 2006:

We don’t presume to know the best way to get there, but we support the concept of “Net Neutrality” especially as it pertains to preventing the idea of ISP’s blocking or otherwise impeding sites that don’t pay the ISP to ensure equal access. That said, we usually prefer the government to be hands-off wherever possible, Laissez-faire, except in cases where the free market obviously cannot adequately self-regulate (antitrust, for example). Regulations are static and the marketplace is fluid, so such regulation can often have unintended, unforeseen results down the road. We sincerely hope that there are enough forces in place and/or that the balances adjust in such a manner as to keep the ‘Net as neutral as it is today.

And as we followed up in September 2009:

That we have the same Take over three years later should be telling. Government regulations are not a panacea, neither are the lack thereof. It’s all about striking a proper balance where innovation can thrive while abuses are prevented.

Make that “the same Take over a decade later.”

FCC kicks off effort to roll back so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – May 18, 2017
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai explains why he wants to scrap so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – April 28, 2017
FCC Chief Ajit Pai develops plans to roll back so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – April 7, 2017
U.S. FCC chairman wields weed whacker, takes first steps against so-called ‘net neutrality’ – February 3, 2017
How so-called ‘net neutrality’ will fare under President Trump – January 26, 2017
New FCC chairman Ajit Pai vows to take a ‘weed whacker’ to so-called ‘net neutrality’ – January 24, 2017
President Trump elevates Ajit Pai to FCC Chairman – January 23, 2017
Outgoing FCC chief Tom Wheeler offers final defense of so-called ‘net neutrality’ – January 13, 2017
Under President Trump, Obama ally Google may face policy setbacks, including roll back of so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – November 18, 2016
Jeb Bush on FCC and so-called ‘net neutrality’ regulation: ‘One of the craziest ideas I’ve ever heard’ – March 8, 2015
Who loves the FCC’s overreach on so-called ‘net neutrality?’ Telecom lawyers – March 5, 2015
Legal battles loom over FCC’s so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – February 26, 2015
U.S. FCC OKs so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules on party-line vote – February 26, 2015
U.S. FCC’s rules for so-called ‘net neutrality’ expected to unleash slew of court challenges – February 26, 2015
EFF: ‘We are deeply concerned; FCC’s new rules include provision that sounds like a recipe for overreach’ – February 25, 2015
The U.S. FCC’s Orwellian Internet policy – February 25, 2015
Democratic FCC commissioner balks at so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – February 24, 2015
FCC chief pressed to release proposed regulations governing so-called ‘net neutrality’ – February 23, 2015
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai: Obama’s plan a monumental shift toward government control of the Internet – February 10, 2015
Congress launches investigation as Republicans claim Obama had ‘improper influence’ over so-called ‘net neutrality’ – February 7, 2015
FCC chairman proposes to regulate ISP’s under Title II – February 4, 2015
U.S. congressional Republicans’ bill aims to head off Obama’s so-called ‘net neutrality’ plan – January 17, 2015
U.S. Congressional proposal offers Internet rules of the road – January 15, 2015
U.S. FCC says it will vote on so-called ‘net neutrality’ in February – January 3, 2015
FCC hopes its rules for so-called ‘net neutrality’ survive inevitable litigation – November 22, 2014
Obama-appointed FCC chairman distances himself from Obama on so-called ‘net neutrality’ – November 12, 2014
What does so-called ‘net neutrality’ mean for Apple? – November 12, 2014
AT&T to pause fiber investment until net neutrality rules are decided – November 12, 2014
There’s no one to root for in the debate over so-called ‘net neutrality’ – November 11, 2014
U.S. FCC plays Russian Roulette with so-called ‘net neutrality’ – November 11, 2014
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner: Republicans will continue efforts to stop misguided scheme to regulate the Internet – November 10, 2014
Tech Freedom: Obama cynically exploits confusion over Title II, misses opportunity to lead on legislative deal – November 10, 2014
Obama want FCC to regulate the Internet; Cruz calls it ‘Obamacare for the Internet’ – November 10, 2014


  1. Posting a WSJ anti Net Neutrality article is right up MDN alley. Plus it’s stupid and easily refuted – all of the “great things” that wireless providers have provided were during the past years while Net Neutrality regs were in effect. What possible reason do they need to revoke them?

    Oh yea, Repubs need that sweet sweet telecom money. As usually the American in the street takes it in the a**.

    1. You are an easily-manipulated pawn of Big Government advocates who does not fully understand the issues, including the intended and proper roles of the FCC, FTC, and regulation in general. Repeating talking points from leftist, statist tech bloggers and organizations is sad.

      1. Although if that’s really the case — and this article’s claim actually true — then why is it that cellular rates from the big boys have continued to be immune from downward price pressures?

        We keep on checking our company’s various offers, and each new “deal” keeps on being an offer for less benefits at a higher price. If there really is this so-calledcompetition, the evidence of it is still lacking.

        1. Yah, I’ve looked at some of these “unlimited data” offers and none of them are better than the special limited time deal I got from AT&T when they were offering 30 gigs for the price of 15 gigs. All they’ve done is shifted so that, yeah, you MAY pay less for the unlimited data (with weird clauses that mean that while I still get full speed up to 30 gigs, most get capped to slow speed a little over 20), but the price per device on the contract shoots up 100 to 200 percent.

          I don’t see how anyone red or blue can read that statement, look at their cell bill and go “Yeah, that’s EXACTLY what happened!! I’m paying so much less now!!” By the way, if you want to see if they really cut prices for everyone, look at their quarterly statements. We should se a material drop in revenue due to the… huh…. guess not.

  2. There are certain monopolies that must exist for practical reasons. These monopolies must be regulated by the government or they can abuse their monopoly power. We can’t have 5 different power grids or 7 different phone lines running to everybody’s house. To claim that internet providers, which are generally local monopolies, should not be regulated is just plain wrong.

    As for wireless providers, it’s a bit more complicated. I suppose there’s nothing preventing dozens of wireless companies putting up cell towers all over the place. The limiting factor is spectrum availability. That is controlled by the government. Because of that, I think it’s reasonable that wireless providers abide by government regulations.

    1. Not in MDN’s world.

      MDN is *ONLY* in favor of some form of net neutrality rules if their ISP (or their readers’ ISPs) start directly charging MDN a surcharge for carrying their traffic at something other than a bit per month pace. If it hits MDN’s pocketbook then MDN will care. Otherwise MDN does not believe net neutrality is a real thing. That’s why MDN always refers to it as “so called net neutrality”.

  3. Industries evolve. There are times when the government needs to incentivize the growth of an technology– think aviation and rural electrification, libraries and postal service. All those things have paid dramatic dividends to us all, in many ways that cannot even be measured in dollars.

    As industries naturally consolidate, however, the support from taxpayers needs to be weaned off, and then when a dominant gorilla player or two starts throwing his weight around , it’s time for government to regulate the abusers and protect the consumer.

    The problem we have today is that corporations have so much power over lawmakers and the public that people don’t understand what is happening at all. Companies are given incentives and tax breaks that should have expired decades ago. Externalities are shifted to small business and individuals while large corporations become corrupt and inefficient due to lack of real competition. Then they hire a circus barker to tell the working class that to be great again corporations need still more power.

    Telecommunications needs smart current regulations. The industry is more consolidated than when Clinton was president and technology has changed since then as well. Only a fool would propose to roll back the clock as if it was 1995.

    But that is exactly what this current corrupt administration is doing. If you think ATT and Verizon and Comcast ending up with ownership of essentially all digital consumer communications in the USA is a good idea, the Pai is your lapdog. If not, then the FCC needs to pull their collective heads out of the asses of their corporate handlers. Now.

  4. My comment isn’t related to this article. I just switched from AdBlock to AdBlockPlus, which has a special setting for allowing non-intrusive ads. I’m finally able to block that annoying video ad that rolls down the page on MDN!

  5. T-Mobile has had its ups and downs in the industry for well over a decade (as has Sprint). Citing their most recent year as a trend one way or the other is truly asinine. Give it another year and the data could look radically different.

    Besides, the FCC’s auctions for spectrum are NOT promoting new players to come to market. The wireless auctions typically require BILLIONS in fees. Small companies entering the market don’t have that kind of cash nor access to sources of that kind of cash. The outcomes of those spectrum auctions go to the top five wireless players almost 100% of the time. That never changed under the Title II ruling.

    Even the two new (HUGE) entrants mentioned in the article will share spectrum with one or more of those top five.

    Finally… “Wireless carriers are knocking the stuffing out of each other to woo and keep customers.”? Since when? If that were true, why has my wireless bill not gone down radically? Why did I have to give up truly unlimited voice and data with no throttling last year to renew my plan? (They were no longer grandfathering in old plans. I had to change to a new plan in my home area under the same carrier or change carriers.) The statement, “Wireless carriers are knocking the stuffing out of each other to woo and keep customers.”, is patently false.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.