The FCC Vs Business and Vs US
The FCC's mission seems to be the protect the carriers from the marketplace. 19th century science has been frozen into the 20th century Regulatorium. We must not allow this travesty to continue into the 21st century.08-Aug-2005

The FCC has recently changed the rules to remove the need for the carriers to share their infrastructure. You can read more about it on ZDNet: The double-edge of the FCC's DSL ruling.

The micromanagement of DSL has been problematic. DSL itself is an 1980's innovation created to allow the Telcos to became CableCos by offering interactive TV. It's a clever repurposing of the 1880's idea implementation of connectivity.

Ideally removing restrictions would sharpen the competition. The competition would be measured in terms of connectivity – how many bits and at what cost. The problem with this theory is shown by Verizon's approach towards DSL – they determine the speed by the length of the copper wire rather than by determining the actual speed. They seem to have no incentive to offer the best service they can. Their reality is defined by arbitrary procedures – a sure sign of a company untouched by the specter of competition.

Protection from competition seems necessary because as the competition increases it's difficult to make money. Users don't just want but require low value connectivity so that they can keep the value they create rather than giving it to the carrier. Even more problematic for the carriers is the inability to distinguish one IP packet from another. The current business model is not viable.

The damage becomes far worse as we try to maintain the walled garden model of Tellywood and the walled garden model necessary to create billable entities. The very design flaws that doomed the old model of telephony are being preserved purely to maintain obsolescent business models.

This process is going to come to a head and there us a danger is that they will continue to act to maintain a nonviable business model. Rather than allowing competition from a new industry – the connectivity utility, it will continue to thwart the birth of a new industry and deny us the benefit of being able to determine our own fate.

The FCC is a tragic legacy of the 19th and early 20th century mythologies. It demonstrates what happens when facts are considered secondary to the imperatives of the Regulatorium. The FCC doesn't make statements as obviously false as saying that the value of pi is 3 but many of the regulations do assert facts that have long ago been shown to be false. In fact, the institution is premised on the idea that there is a scarcity of “spectrum”. This is nothing more than a bad choice of how to send signals and is not a fact of physics. Instead of correcting the mistake it compounds the problems and attempts to preserve business models premised on this fallacy. It is an inherently corrupt and corrupting regimen.

Unfortunately most people grumble bad customer service, incompetence and the inability to solve our own problems but ask for more condescension rather than opportunity. I don't expect the FCC to change of its own free will but I hope that I can help people recognize that they can and must demand more. Even better if these companies recognize their own enlightened self-interest and act in their shareholders interest.

Ultimately protecting an intransigent industry leaves us all the poor – be it us as individuals or the US as a country.