February 16, 2018
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This article originally appeared on Watchdog.org 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.
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).
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.”
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.
Alabama taxpayers could save money and have faster internet based on technology being tested in CullmanJohnny 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.
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
October 3, 2017
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – 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."
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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