Ajit Pai is a member of the Ayn Rand/James Buchanan cult that says that any government regulation is an unfair attack on the "freedom" of business, which is why his ascendancy to the Chairmanship of the FCC under Donald Trump was attended by an orgy of deregulation -- most of us know about his senseless slaughter of Net Neutrality, but that was just for starters.
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Susan Crawford (previously) identifies one of the great and deadly paradoxes of late-stage capitalism, where predatory oligarchs prowl for state assets that can be sold off to them on the cheap, and target vulnerable regulators that can be dismantled so that industry can run amok: the best-functioning, most vital, best-run state systems are invisible, because they do their jobs so well we never hear about them.
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Welcome to America, the country with the 25th fastest Internet service in the world, just behind Romania, and falling fast. The culprit? Hard to say, but maybe it's got something to do with the FCC's abolition of any sort of competitive markets for Internet service in the USA? Well, I'm sure it'll be fine -- after all, why would Internet access have any effect on national competitiveness, industry, jobs, health, education, civic engagement, and so forth?
Under the Bush administration, the FCC tossed out competitive broadband safeguards such as open-access requirements, which opened lines to other providers. In 2002 the agency declared that high-speed cable Internet access would no longer be considered a telecommunications service that opened the network to competitors, but rather an “information service” that did not. Following a 2005 court decision, the FCC also reclassified broadband delivered by the phone companies as an “information service.”
These were radical policy shifts that went against the long-held assumption that open communications in competitive markets were essential to economic growth and innovation.
While the U.S. blindly followed a path of "deregulation," other nations in Europe and Asia beefed up their pro-competitive policies. The results are evident in our free fall from the top of almost every global measure of Internet services, availability and speed.
Welcome to Your Hungarian Internet
(Image: US Mail, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from stephoto's photostream) Read the rest