April 1 Special Edition: Wheeler Cancels Spectrum Auction!

By Paul Maxwell Report Archives

In highly classified documents found at a Havana hot-spot (a bar with the best Wi-Fi in the old quarter) that were inadvertently left behind by a Federal Confusion Commission staffer during the recent invasion of Havana by American government officials, a startling outline defining the FCC’s imminent takeover of the Internet has been revealed.

According to the jumbled mass of papers, the initiative to nationalize the Internet was conceived on high by the President himself who, commenting on the impending merger of Time Warner Cable and Bright House into Charter, wondered aloud that if it wouldn’t be better to simply combine all Internet providers into one national company. With Google in charge, of course.  (Why stop at just letting the Googlites get all the cable company info in order to make set-top boxes?  They already are providing Internet services in a few markets!)

So the President called FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and told him to make it happen.

Of course, it was supposed to be a summer surprise aimed at a July 4 launch … but we found the documents.

With shades of Theodore Vail and the one-time quasi-nationalization of American Telephone & Telegraph, the document details these incipient steps:

  1. The guaranteed rate-of-return model didn’t really work well … we can do better.
  2. The US should simply nationalize the broadband infrastructure of the country.  Cuba did it decades ago … pretty simple.  Might not even have to pay them; be in court for years, though.  Be a lot of noise from Republicans saying we’re over-reaching again … but there’s no one in charge of any Republicans right now anyway.
  3. If we do that, we can then merge all wire and/or fiber-based broadband providers into one wholly-owned subsidiary of the US … maybe under the FCC or the Department of Commerce.
  4. After we get that set … maybe with Google’s fiber guys running it … we can cancel the spectrum auctions and nationalize all of the 4G and 5G and combine it, too.

Wheeler is ready to jump in and do it this week!

(And, just FYI, Wheeler then plans to run the NAB … he’ll announce it on the 10th … a trifecta … cable, wireless and broadcast in one career!)

Random Notes:

In the past few weeks, I have written about governments around the world and relationships vis a vis media companies.  Or, rather, we’ve written about the various manifestations of governmental pressure on media businesses.

That pressure is not stopping … even though President Obama, in Cuba, taught a gentle lesson to Raul Castro about impertinent questions by winking and suggesting he answer.  One tiny step toward press freedom there … but more and more incidents of press throttling keep occurring.  Even here.  The New York Times, last Monday, reported the Obama Administration has set new records in making it tougher to get Freedom of Information Act requests fulfilled.  Of course, every administration gets better at it … and that just means it’ll get worse. 

It doesn’t look any better on the campaign trail, either.  The Republican front-runner puts the press in pens (partly for their own protection, of course) and the front-running Democrat pretty much ignores the traveling press.

News needs to be accessible!

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