The New Republic
notes that one of the cornerstones of the GOP's technology agenda being firmed up at the convention this week (aside from censoring porn
, opposing net neutrality and further eliminating consumer protections) is "spectrum reform." The New Republic
argues that spectrum reform in GOP parlance is really just code for taking any and all spectrum you can find and selling it to AT&T and Verizon, so they can squat on it and prevent additional competitors from entering the marketplace (aka protectionism).
In addition to just throwing money at the GOP
, the incumbents and the GOP sell the idea of further protecting the nation's duopoly from competition by insisting they're just super
concerned about bringing broadband to rural users. For those who actually pay attention however, history has shown repeatedly that a concern for rural America or even broadband coverage has never been anywhere on the GOP or incumbents' radar:
Auctions haven’t done much to expand access in the rural areas Republicans claim to love. They have, however, enriched the big businesses who generally love Republicans. Spectrum auctions are nearly always won by the behemoths AT&T and Verizon, which build out infrastructure in more urban areas and leave less-populated areas alone, in the kind of classic market failure that Republicans find so difficult to recognize.
However, the report ignores how the Democrats also love to fail miserably on this front, with both parties buying into the spectrum-apocalypse scenarios
painted by AT&T and Verizon to help them gobble and squat on any and all spectrum for the promise of a brighter tomorrow. The current Democratic FCC in particular professes to care about rural users, yet consistently ignores competitive issues and just signed off on a Verizon cable deal
that could give cable a more potent monopoly over landline broadband in rural markets than ever before.
As for new spectrum, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology is urging the Obama administration to push for new shared spectrum technology
allowing industry and government to co-inhabit some airwaves, but that's a plan both AT&T and Verizon lobbyists are doing their best to put a stop to. In a few weeks you'll get to see the Democrats take their turn at pretending to support concepts like "Internet freedom" while quietly building a platform built almost solely on AT&T and Verizon wishes and cash.