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Category: Telecommunications

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

    Ross Marchand on January 30, 2018

    Image result for telecommunications

    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

    Image result for broadband tower
    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

    Image result for television lines
    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

    Image result for cell towers
    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

    google fiber
    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

    broadband fiber
    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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  • With Privacy Legislation, Congress Can Safeguard the Digital Domain

    David Williams on June 6, 2017


    This article appeared in Inside Sources on May 17, 2017

    Seemingly overnight, sending an email has become fraught with peril. Every day, we hear reports about phishing scams and malevolent viruses designed by cybercriminals and belligerent governments alike. But, unknown to many surfers of the digital domain, our own government has exploited loopholes and ambiguities in current law to snag important user information without obtaining permission in a court of law. In contrast to clear-cut Fourth Amendment prohibitions on physical property services, the law has little to say about privacy rights in the virtual space. And, vagueness in legal restraints leaves the door open for large, open-ended government investigations that squander hard-earned taxpayer money.

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  • Ajit Pai Undoes Excessive Control of the Internet

    Johnny Kampis on May 30, 2017

    This article originally appeared in RealClearFuture on May 21, 2017

    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), led by Chairman Ajit Pai, voted 2-1 on May 18 to begin the process of reversing Obama administration policies that classified internet service providers as Title II public utilities and put them under the agency's thumb. Advocates of the change hope that removing the regulations will boost private-sector investment and reduce the call for taxpayer- and ratepayer-funded broadband networks.Title II classification gave the FCC more stringent oversight over those providers, allowing the agency to enforce ex-Chairman Tom Wheeler’s version of "net neutrality," purporting to prevent those companies from inhibiting or slowing down access to certain websites or web services.

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  • TPA Call to Action in Support of Repealing Title II Internet Regulations

    David Williams on May 24, 2017


    WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, May 18 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai took a very important step to undo the regulatory damage left behind by President Obama and former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. The Title II rules implemented by Obama and Wheeler gave control of the Internet to unaccountable government bureaucrats, and threatened to increase taxes and slow investment and growth in this important industry. It is clear that Chairman Pai is serious about getting tech policy accomplished in a way that works best for taxpayers and all Americans. A free and open Internet will foster continued investment in broadband infrastructure, greater consumer choice, and an open marketplace without putting taxpayers at risk. These rules have cost taxpayers, slowed down broadband infrastructure investment, and hindered competition and choice for Americans. The time to remove the regulatory stranglehold on the internet is NOW. TPA is encouraging all of our members to submit a comment TODAY (click here), and tell Chaiman Pai that you support a free and open Internet.

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  • TPA Applauds FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s Vision for a Truly Open Internet

    Michi Iljazi on April 28, 2017


    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) commended Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai on presenting his plans to undo the terrible regulatory burdens ex-FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler imposed on the internet.  The proposal to rescind Wheeler’s Internet Conduct Standards and repeal Title II regulations imposed on the internet are exactly what is needed in order to once again encourage investment in broadband infrastructure and ensure an open internet with more competition and choice for all Americans.  

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  • Pai and Ohlhausen Lead FCC and FTC’s Fight Against Misguided Rules

    Ross Marchand on April 21, 2017


    When it comes to “sensibly managing markets”, regulatory agencies talk a big game but deliver preciously little. A heap of regulations passed over the past decade were said to make marketplaces a less threatening environment for shoppers and startups, with more competition and less monopolistic behavior. In reality, bureaucrats overstated “market failures” to justify putting rules in place that exacerbated problems and created unintended consequences. But thanks to a new Administration and Congress, public servants skeptical of these destructive regulations are emboldened and taking the fight to unnecessary rules. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen are two of these figures, successfully leading the fight to deregulate and return control to market players closest to the action. The pair successfully advocated for the repeal of a “digital privacy” regulation that would’ve entrusted consumers’ browsing history to bureaucrats with a poor cybersecurity track record.

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  • TPA Submits Comments to FCC on Broadband Privacy Rule

    Michi Iljazi on March 8, 2017


    The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has been an outspoken critic of the broadband privacy order that came down during the tenure of ex-Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler. The rule does nothing to promote privacy or protect consumers and it also grants new authority to the FCC Chair that needn't be created. This week, following a stay of the rule, TPA submitted comments support mulitple petitions to reconsider the rule. It is critical that the rule be abanadonded so that the FCC can end the cycle of growing regulations it experienced under ex-Chairman Wheeler, and move towards promoting a more consumer and taxpayer friendly agency under new Chairman Ajit Pai.

    Click "Read Blog" below to see the full comment

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  • TPA Leads Coalition Urging Senate Commerce to Allow Innovation to Thrive in Broadband Expansion

    Michi Iljazi on March 3, 2017


    The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) continues to believe that the private sector has the tools to expand wireless deployment while also protecting taxpayers from potential risk. Innovation thrives when the government moves out of the way and that is a point that TPA made clear to the Senate Commerce Committee as they held a hearing on the challenges ahead for a potential infrastructure bill and how that legislation may encompass expansion of broadband. The coalition letter TPA sent (click here to read) reinforces the point that the private sector is best equipped to lead the way on expanding broadband infrastructure and that lawmakers in Congress should avoid the mistakes of the past that have contributed to the creation of many failing government owned networks (GONs) across the country.

    Click "Read Blog" below to see the full letter

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