August 28, 2017
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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.
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
August 18, 2017
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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.
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
July 11, 2017
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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.
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.
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.
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.» Read More
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.» Read More
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.» Read More
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.» Read More
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.» Read More
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.
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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.» Read More
Click "Read Blog" below to see the full letter
February 23, 2017
This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller on February 13, 2017
President Donald Trump recently designated Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner Ajit Pai to be chairman of the FCC. This choice is an excellent one since Pai was a strong opponent of former Chairman Tom Wheeler’s policy to expand taxpayer-funded municipal broadband networks. Taxpayer-funded municipal broadband networks across the country have failed at an alarming rate. Last year, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a study highlighting the 12 worst networks. The study outlined how these government networks put taxpayer dollars at risk and explained why local lawmakers should not compete with private sector job creators to provide broadband and fiber service. As a follow up to that report, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance Foundation (TPAF) just launched a new website with a map outlining 215 government internet failures. The website details how much taxpayers in cities from California to Connecticut have lost when their local leaders decided to enter the market for internet and cable. Combined with the “Dirty Dozen” study issued last July, which found that in 12 cities alone local officials wasted $2 trillion in taxpayer revenue, it is clear Pai’s position is the right one.» Read More
February 15, 2017
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has long advocated that the private sector has the tools to expand wireless deployment throughout the country and now there is strong momentum to meet the needs of millions wireless consumers nationwide, while protecting taxpayers. TPA continues to push for more innovation when it comes to how these new networks are deployed and it is up to government to get out of the way and let the market do what it does best in these instances. TPA is hopeful that state legislatures will begin to put in place uniform rules that will encourage investment and innovation in these new networks. Keeping that in mind, TPA recently sent the following letter to the Virginia General Assembly urging them to pass legislation (SB 1282) that would create a set of standards allowing for 5G development and deployment, which would bring better technology and service to wireless consumers all across the country and spare taxpayers the risk of exposure and increased government bureaucracy.
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February 7, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC – The Taxpayers Protection Alliance Foundation (TPAF) today unveiled Broadband Boondoggles, a comprehensive collection of information about taxpayer-funded government internet projects. Broadband Boondoggles is an online interactive map displaying information such as cost to taxpayers, debt, revenues, number of customers, and other facts related to more than 200 municipal broadband internet projects across America. The data contained in Broadband Boondoggles indicates publicly funded internet projects are a universal failure. Government broadband networks cost American taxpayers billions of dollars a year while failing to stimulate economic growth, falling short of projected customer and revenue numbers, struggling to keep up with advancements in technology, and using tax dollars to compete against existing private companies, TPAF discovered.» Read More
January 30, 2017
This article originally appeared in the Washington Times on Jabuary 24, 2017
Last week, Reps. Kevin Yoder, Kansas Republican, and Jared Polis, Colorado Democrat, reintroduced the Email Privacy Act, a bill that will protect Americans’ privacy rights from bureaucratic overreach by updating the grossly outdated 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). Last April, the Email Privacy Act passed the House with a stunning 419-0 vote in the House of Representatives. Shortly afterward, the Senate version of the bill was compromised with controversial amendments, causing it to never make it to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Now, however, all signs point to the clean version passing both houses of Congress this session. The ECPA allows law enforcement to gain possession of any emails or messages that are more than 180 days old. This is a violation of our Fourth Amendment rights, making us less safe because it overwhelms our bureaucrats with excessive information.» Read More
January 25, 2017
This week, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a series of issue briefs for the 115th Congress titled Roadmap to Fiscal Sanity. The publication puts forward an aggressive reform agenda for Congress. The publication focuses on 14 different policy areas where reform is needed to help reduce the size of government, cut spending, enact tax reform, and help get the economy back on track. Issues covered in the publication include Defense Spending, Earmarks, Energy, Health Care, Intellectual Property, Mergers, Regulatory Reform, Solar Subsidies, Tax Reform, Telecommunications Policy, Trade Policy, United Nations/World Health Organization and United States Postal Service Reform. TPA President David Williams said of the release, “The newly elected Congress has No More Excuses for not acting on real and meaningful reform when it comes to reducing spending and getting the debt under control. TPA’s Roadmap to Fiscal Sanity provides a path forward.”» Read More
January 24, 2017
As 2017 gets into gear, state legislators and governors are crafting budgets and struggling to stretch out dwindling tax dollars. While roads, schools, and police departments are typically on the top of spending wish lists, another priority, taxpayer-funded broadband has increasingly turned the heads of lawmakers. Some non-profit and advocacy groups have increasingly pushed for broadband investments over the past ten years, advocating for municipal and state-level network expansions. Given the continued failures of taxpayer-funded networks, state legislators should stay away from spending any tax dollars on these boondoggles.» Read More