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Category: Telecommunications

  • TPA Encouraged by FCC’s Move to Sell Spectrum to Deploy 5G Wireless Networks

    David Williams on July 12, 2018

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    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) praised the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and their move to free up wireless spectrum to help speed up the deployment of 5G wireless services. Spectrum is the invisible airwaves that allow us to talk, text, post, watch, monitor, and research from the convenience of a mobile device.  Spectrum is also a financial asset with taxpayers reaping the benefits of the government selling to the spectrum. » Read More
  • To Deploy 5G, Streamline Rules at All Levels

    Ross Marchand on July 5, 2018

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    Hundreds of regulations have been rolled back over the past year and a half, resulting in billions of dollars in savings to consumers and taxpayers.  Telecommunications policy has been no exception, with the easing of permitting restrictions by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the nixing of Title II internet rules. But federal rules are far from the only impediment to 5G deployment;  Fees and rules set by states and localities will continue to hamper innovation if left unchecked. Members of Congress have an opportunity to hasten the arrival of 5G, but face the difficult task of limiting state and local interference in 5G rollout while rejecting a one-size-fits-all solution. Fortunately, the STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act (S. 3157), introduced by Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), achieves this balancing act and paves the way for faster and more reliable internet. With right-sized regulatory reform rooted in federalism, lawmakers can pull America to the front of the technological frontier.  » Read More
  • Discussion of Nationalized 5G Rises From the Dead

    Johnny Kampis on June 19, 2018

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  • Reports of the Death of The Internet Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

    Ross Marchand on June 11, 2018

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    In 1897, after Mark Twain’s mistaken obituary was published, it was widely reported that Twain quipped to a reporter, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”  The poor, mistaken obituary writer hasn’t been the only one to make this sort of mistake. For months, supporters of Title II regulation of the internet have declared the untimely demise of the internet, with all fervor and no evidence. Now that Title II has officially been repealed (12:01 am on June 11, 2018), its time to set the record straight.  The Twainian truth is that Title II has all but been in the ash heap for seven months after the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) December 2017 ruling to rollback internet regulations. From the December 14 repeal date, internet service providers (ISPs) knew that, if they wanted to, they could favor and throttle data without fear of punishment from the FCC. » Read More
  • Congress Should Make Haste on Spectrum Auction Legislation

    Johnny Kampis on June 6, 2018

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    The AIRWAVES Act would create a pipeline of spectrum auctions for commercial use and help the U.S. lead the world in 5G development.  But, like any legislation, it should be done the right way to ensure that the sale of spectrum doesn't play favorites and that decisions on the use of spectrum be technology neutral.This legislation, from a bipartisan group of senators and congresspersons, intends to reallocate spectrum and encourage wireless deployment to underserved rural areas with its plan for a series of spectrum auctions beginning later this year.
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  • Bi-Partisan Spectrum Transfer Should Move Forward

    Johnny Kampis on March 1, 2018

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    The Trump administration should decline to reconsider an outdated technology mandate for automobiles that would lead to increased costs for consumers and tie up spectrum that could better be used to help boost broadband growth. The federal government set aside the 5.9 gigahertz spectrum band in 1999 for use by car manufacturers to develop dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) devices to allow vehicles to talk to each other. The idea was that by relaying basic safety messages wirelessly between cars vehicle safety could be improved. However, nearly two decades later that technology is woefully underused. » Read More
  • Tech experts hope for friendlier regulations for broadband deployment in 2018

    Johnny Kampis on February 16, 2018

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    This article originally appeared on on February 13, 2018

    Some tech policy experts anticipate changes at the federal and state levels this year to aid faster broadband deployment. In some cases, though, that likely will involve spending more taxpayer dollars. President Donald Trump has indicated he plans to move forward with increased infrastructure spending in 2018. An idea has been floated of a federal middle mile, essentially a build-out of fiber along the American interstate system. There were reports that the federal government considered getting involved in creating a national 5G wireless network, but the Trump administration said that wasn’t true.

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  • What the Faux 5G Fiasco can Teach About Taxpayer-Funded Infrastructure

    Ross Marchand on January 30, 2018

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    Sunday nights are prime time for television, not for breaking news about nationalizing wireless infrastructure. On the evening of January 28, Axios reported that the Trump Administration is considering the national build-out of a 5G mobile network instead of relying on private deployment. As to be expected, there was plenty of immediate and vocal opposition to the idea of the government (yes, that government) being in charge of something as vital as fifth generation broadband technology. Even when the federal government tries to take an indirect role in broadband deployment, waste piles up and results are meager. Chief amongst current public-sector efforts is the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Universal Service Fund (USF), which will funnel $2 billion through the Connect America Fund over the next decade to subsidize the activities of rural internet service providers (ISP)s. The USF has already spent more than $80 billion over the past twenty years, but studies show that the subsidies drive administrative bloat (i.e. personnel and governmental relations costs).

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  • Recent announcements could prove beneficial in the quest to solve the broadband gap

    Johnny Kampis on January 8, 2018

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    There is no disputing that closing the rural broadband gap is imperative.  The disagreement occurs in deciding whether taxpayers or the private sector should foot the bill.  Taxpayer-funded broadband systems have failed as evidenced by the Taxpayers Protection Alliance Foundation’s interactive map of failed government owned networks. But, AT&T and Verizon are moving quickly to deploy 5G mobile internet. Business Insider calls it “the upcoming evolution of wireless 4G LTE, which is mostly used today for wireless mobile networks. It offers incredibly fast wireless communication that can be used to transmit all sorts of data.”

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  • White Space Broadband Deployment Must Follow Title II Rollback

    Ross Marchand on December 18, 2017

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    This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller on December 14, 2017

    In the aftermath of the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC)  vote to repeal Title II regulations, internet service providers (ISPs) will regain flexibility lost in recent years. Once again providers will have the ability to offer options such as zero rating (free data) plans that can be used to help lower income populations access important content. But, concerns abound about the ability of ISPs to manage services where there’s little competition between providers. Attempts at all levels of government to provide for robust ISP have bilked taxpayers for billions of dollars without addressing rural broadband needs.  Instead of failed government-centric solutions, closing the digital divide will require low-cost partnerships with the government and the private sector.

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  • Alabama taxpayers could save money and have faster internet based on technology being tested in Cullman

    Johnny Kampis on December 13, 2017

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    This article originally appeared on Yellowhammer News on December 10, 2017

    Nestled between knee-high grass and mobile homes, a cell tower in this small community in Cullman County will soon demonstrate cutting-edge technology. It is here that AT&T will run fiber-optic cable and then beam internet signals to nearby homes with antennas installed on their rooftops, a service known as fixed wireless. This rural area in Alabama is one of the test cases for the new technology, which AT&T will use to deliver internet to areas where it’s not cost effective to build out fiber-optic infrastructure.

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  • Bluegrass State Taxpayers Feeling Blue About KentuckyWired

    Johnny Kampis on October 4, 2017

    From the files of “we told you so,” recent reports on KentuckyWired show that the border-to-border, state-initiated broadband network has been a big bust.  Which isn’t a surprise considering the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has been warning citizens and lawmakers about the project’s potential pitfalls.   

    These warnings have gone unheeded for at least two years.  An October 28, 2015 article in Spectrum News noted that, “In September, David Williams with the Taxpayers Protection Alliance…said his organization has major concerns with taxpayer dollars being spent on the initiative.  ‘Let’s just pump the brakes a little bit here and make sure there aren’t any kind of weird things in this contract that would really expose taxpayers to more handouts,’ Williams said…Williams said his group is trying to raise multiple ‘red flags’ about the project from privacy to potential duplication…” » Read More
  • TPA Congratulates Chairman Pai on Reconfirmation to Lead FCC

    Ross Marchand on October 3, 2017

     – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) congratulated Ajit Pai on being reconfirmed as Federal Communications Communications (FCC) Chairman. TPA President David Williams released the following statement today in reaction to news of the reconfirmation:

    “TPA is pleased to hear that Ajit Pai has officially been reconfirmed by the Senate to continue to lead the FCC. Chairman Pai has been an aggressive advocate for a truly open internet, having fought against Title II Net Neutrality rules. Title II would harm consumers and open the floodgate for taxpayer subsidies to wasteful and unneeded municipal broadband systems."

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  • Opting Out to FirstNet is a Cop Out and Expensive to Taxpayers

    Johnny Kampis on August 28, 2017

    Arizona, Kansas and Nevada are the latest states to opt-in to FirstNet, the first broadband network dedicated for use by police officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel. With the money already allocated from the federal sale of spectrum, opting in to FirstNet is a fiscally responsible decision that more states should consider. There are now more than a dozen states that have chosen to partner with the First Responder Network Authority, a system that grew out of a 9/11 Commission recommendation calling for interoperable communications for first responders in the United States. 

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  • TPA Submits Comments to the FCC in Response to the Restoring Internet Freedom Docket

    David Williams on August 21, 2017

    The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) submitted additional comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to the Restoring Internet Freedom Docket. A return to a light touch regulatory approach will yield increased investment and innovation, less regulatory red tape, and more choice and opportunity for participants in the online marketplace. Broadband providers better serve taxpayers when funds are invested into innovation instead of regulatory compliance. » Read More
  • Privacy in an Internet Economy

    Jessica Markowitz on August 18, 2017

    Facebook knows your dating habits. Google can tell if you like Disney World. Vizio advertisers see in real-time when you watch Game of Thrones. Alexa can record your conversations.  The question is whether this is an invasion of privacy or the product of smart targeted advertising. From mobile applications to smart refrigerators, devices we trust with our information all fall under the FTC’s rules. And, even though Google, Facebook, and internet service providers (ISPs) collect information, there is little discussion the glaring unequal requirements between companies. The problems started when the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) issued the Broadband Privacy Rules in 2015.  The new rules would have deviated from FTC privacy norms by preventing internet service providers (ISPs) from accessing user data. 

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  • TPA Joins Coalition Urging Congress to Restore a Truly Free and Open Internet

    Jessica Markowitz on July 12, 2017

    The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) stands strongly behind Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai’s decision to roll back Title II internet regulations. Two days ago, TPA joined onto a coalition letter with the Center for Individual Freedom and FreedomWorks to fight for a free and open internet. In accomplishing this goal, Congress needs to restore the light-touch regulatory approach that ensured the growth and development of the internet before the introduction of Title II regulations in 2014. Millions of activists and supporters across the country agree that it’s time to end the net neutrality debate for good. » Read More
  • Innovation Will Help Bridge the Digital Divide

    Johnny Kampis on July 11, 2017

    This article appeared in RealClearPolicy on July 5, 2017. 

    On a recent trip to the upper Midwest and Great Plains Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai met with rural broadband providers, local officials, and others to “discuss efforts by the FCC to close the digital divide” in America. Billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent building municipal broadband projects across the country to solve this problem. But a majority of these systems are not built in rural areas and end up going bankrupt with ratepayers and taxpayers paying for the government’s mistakes. In reality, the use of “white space” channels, 5G wireless, and the maturation of satellite broadband services may do more to bridge the digital divide than any government program or project ever will. 

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  • Google Fiber Moves Toward Wireless, Leaving Taxpayers in the Lurch

    Johnny Kampis on June 21, 2017

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    This article appeared in The American Spectator on May 23, 2017. 

    Google Fiber’s recent announcement to potential customers in Kansas City that they won’t be served is part of a trend by the tech behemoth of pulling away from its fiber broadband business. And the biggest insult is that much of that business grew thanks to governmental concessions and taxpayer handouts.

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  • Report: Taxpayer-Funded Broadband a Resounding Failure

    Johnny Kampis on June 14, 2017

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    This article appeared in The American Spectator on June 7, 2017. 

    The first comprehensive study
     on the financial viability of government-owned broadband networks in the U.S. found that just two of the 20 networks examined are expected to generate enough revenue during the life of the networks to recoup the money that taxpayers or ratepayers forked over to pay for the construction. "Municipal Fiber in the United States: An Empirical Assessment of Financial Performance,” written by University of Pennsylvania Law School professor Christopher Yoo, along with co-author Timothy Pfenninger (a fellow at Penn Law’s Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition), paints a dark picture of municipal broadband, using standard financial analysis tools. For example, 11 of the 20 projects assessed have a negative cash flow, many of them deeply in the red.

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