OMG! Title II is Coming on the 26th! OMG! FCC to Diss State Laws! #World in Chaos! Cable Center Hall of Fame! #Merger Feedback! – Paul S. Maxwell

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Cover image for  article: OMG! Title II is Coming on the 26th! OMG! FCC to Diss State Laws! #World in Chaos! Cable Center Hall of Fame! #Merger Feedback! – Paul S. Maxwell

My book, “The Revolutionary Evolution of the Media,” continues! Read the latest chapter here.

Comment : Should be a fun week! LOL! The Federal Confusion Commission is officially set to vote on Thursday 3-to-2 for Chairman Tom Wheeler’s Title II coverage of the Internet … you know, that really big deal change from an information service to a telephony service (with bells, whistles, porn and search!) in a manner that only a hand full of folks have read in depth. Talk about bad policy. Talk about a failure to deliver on transparency. Talk about allowing folks hither and yon to complain that Wheeler only steers Obama’s way. Talk about a significant failure of policy by an “independent” Federal commission.

Of course, Tom’s friends in Congress -- House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (otherwise known as “We’re Watching You”) led by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) will hold a hearing on Wednesday (yes, day before vote) to find out if -- horrors! -- the President influenced the decision. Can you imagine? First they complain that he doesn’t lead and then they get their panties in a twist because, gee, maybe he actually did.

Well, never mind. Meanwhile:

Q: So, what’s this “forbearance” Wheeler is promising? A: It means the Commission will promise not to do certain things, like regulate prices, for about 20 months when … whoa, Betsy! … a new President can appoint a new commission that can, you got it, make certain it is truly the Federal Confusion Commission and regulate pricing! Holy Richard Nixon!

Q: So, any good news? A: Maybe (wishful thinking) Wheeler can steer a clear and narrow way for any commission to avoid taking advantage of parts of Title II forever. However, I sincerely hope you will not hold your breath in anticipation.

By the way, the FCC is also scheduled to vote on Wheeler’s lame attempt at competition among ISPs by banning state laws preventing municipalities from building ISPs to compete with incumbent private providers … you know those little bitty companies such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon and a few others. Smarter idea in small markets would be for the Federal Confusion Commission to find ways to help small cable ops and ISPs build out better services and capacities.

In other happenings of note :

Ran into interesting feedback from last week’s diatribe about the upcoming merger decisions involving Comcast and Time Warner Cable. One point heard again and again: Comcast already knows what restrictions will be proposed … and is already resigned to them believing scale will triumph no matter what. Could be. That would make having the Democratic convention in Philadelphia icing on the cake rather than a booby prize. In other words, I could certainly be wrong … however …

The 18th Annual Cable Center Hall of Fame dinner is set for Tuesday, May 5th at the Navy Pier (600 East Grand Avenue in Chicago) during the INTX (nee: The Cable Show) that week. Since 1998, some 108 men and women who were instrumental in making the cable industry (or whatever you might want to call it) what it was, is and will be. This year’s honorees are ESPN’s Chris Berman, Global Health Ambassador and one-time MTV Networks International honcho Bill Roedy, Patriot Media Chairman Steve Simmons, COO (retired) of TCI J.C. Sparkman, EVP and CTO of Comcast Tony Werner and SVP NCTA Eleanor Winter. Beginning next week, a little about each from their official biographies and an anecdote or two from knowing most of them for the past couple cable generations. Read more about the Hall of Fame.

In an almost 50-year career writing and reporting on media, Paul S. Maxwell started and/or ran some 45-plus publications ranging from CATV Newsweekly to Colorado Magazine to CableVision to Multichannel News to CableFAX and The BRIDGE Suite of daily newsletters and research publications. In between publishing stints, Maxwell served as an advisor and/or consultant to a number of major media companies and media start-ups including running a unit of MCI and managing a partnership of TCI and McGraw-Hill.

Send any and all criticisms, suggestions, rants, threats, corrections, etc. to him at cablemax@mac.com. He has a new Web site coming soon!

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