Even casual observers of the FCC should have noticed by now that the policy actions it has taken in the last year, and the comments made by some of the commissioners, make clear that at least a couple extreme so-called “consumer groups” that routinely visit with FCC staff are leading commissioners in radical policy directions.
Obviously we are supporters of the First Amendment and are cheered when the public speaks up, telling government what they think. It’s all part of our right to petition the government, including regulatory agencies. However, we also think that government agencies need to especially consider data and substantive facts and information, rather than just policy pressure.
We’re concerned that these days the FCC seems to be in the thrall of one or two left-leaning groups and is following ideology rather than working from easily observable business and market reality. What is the indication that these groups are being followed so closely while others are seemingly ignored or rejected? The same assertions made by these groups show up as justifications for policy making.
One example from just last week — the FCC in its own wireless report has refused (for the first time in a decade) to state the conclusion that the wireless industry is “effectively competitive,” despite the evidence being right there in its own report. How anyone with access to a TV or radio, much less reams of data, could not think that the wireless market is very competitive, is beyond us.
But if you’re out to implement predetermined ideological goals, such as the FCC seems to be, it’s crucial to not undermine that effort by stating that the status quo is competitive, even if the facts demonstrate that it is.
But wireless markets are not the only example of ignoring marketplace facts and data in order to implement a predetermined policy. The entire so-called “network neutrality” imperative is based on imagined harm.
It seems to us that the proper response to what we’re seeing out of the FCC these days is, simply, “prove it.” If you’re going to advocate new government regulation in the broadband and wireless markets, it’s time to prove that more government is necessary. In a free market economy, the burden of proof is on government to justify increased intrusion. So, “prove it.”
Today’s TechByte was written by Bartlett D. Cleland, director of Institute for Policy Innovation Center for Technology Freedom.