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Rick Boucher: From Fair Use Champ to AT&T Puppet
Helping AT&T's Anti-Competitive Efforts Post T-Mobile Deal
by Karl Bode 10:40AM Tuesday Feb 14 2012
Former Virginia Demoratic Congressman Rick Boucher used to have a lot of credibility in the technology field, urging regulators to aim high when it came to broadband goals, while being one of the pre-eminent voices for fair use rights. What's he doing since leaving Congress? Helping AT&T crush competition.

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Fresh off of the rejected T-Mobile deal, AT&T's been on an anti-competitive lobbying tear of late (ok, they're always on an anti-competitive lobbying tear), trying to make Dish's LTE build fail, while burying a bunch of language in the Payroll Tax bill that erodes FCC authority and crushes any and all future AT&T competitors -- including White Space broadband.

Enter Rick Boucher, now employed by the law firm of Sidley Austin, which has been representing AT&T for most of the last one-hundred years.

AT&T has Boucher making the editorial rounds lately without fully disclosing he's an AT&T lobbyist. Over at the "Internet Innovation Alliance" (aka AT&T), Boucher argues it's not fair for the FCC to consider spectrum holdings when crafting spectrum auction rules -- rules that would prevent AT&T from simply squatting on additional spectrum for anti-competitive benefit. In a piece at Roll Call, Boucher uses language that will probably remind you of a certain lumbering, anti-competitive behemoth, lavishing praise on a wireless market whose constant price hikes suggest it's not quite so competitive:
quote:
During the past 10 years, consumers enjoyed plummeting prices per minute, per megabit and per message. The fact that wireless is a free and competitive market has led to this evolution, and estimates for future wireless growth hinge on it staying that way....A rule that disqualifies incentive auction bidders based on their size or their market position would be highly detrimental and severely undermine our effort to achieve these laudable goals.
While Boucher makes it sound noble, it comes down to AT&T wanting weaker regulators who'll let them squat mindlessly on publicly-owned airwaves while wireless competition stagnates and prices soar. The fact is AT&T doesn't want any new serious entrants in the market, whether via White Space broadband or networks built by Dish Network. As always the pretense here is that Boucher and AT&T don't like regulation and love free markets. The reality is incumbent telecom giants loathe free markets and love regulation, but only when it's written by their lawyers and designed to protect their revenues from competition.

While it's nice Boucher has found a way to keep food on the table, it's disappointing that it required selling nearly all of his principles down the river.

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topics flat nest 

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

2 recommendations

Uh

Why not just call him what he actually is?

A whore.

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI

Re: Uh

said by pnh102:

Why not just call him what he actually is?

A whore.

"Politician." "Whore." You say toh-mate-o, I say toh-maht-o. *shrug*
sonicmerlin

join:2009-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:1
said by pnh102:

Why not just call him what he actually is?

A whore.

Lol so here you are insulting AT&T's lobbyist, while in every other thread you defend corporations.

Looking at your post history, you advocate banning local and state governments from getting into municipal fiber or regulating telcos.

You also advocate getting rid of unions so telcos have as much power as possible to fire or hire employees.

You're the definition of neo conservative hypocrisy, only demanding government intervention when it personally affects you, but screaming bloody murder when it would help anyone else.

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Re: Uh

said by sonicmerlin:

Lol so here you are insulting AT&T's lobbyist, while in every other thread you defend corporations.

So how does this not make him a whore, in a metaphorical sense? I'll assume that Mr. Boucher is not literally providing sexual favors in exchange for money.
said by sonicmerlin:

Looking at your post history, you advocate banning local and state governments from getting into municipal fiber or regulating telcos.

You also advocate getting rid of unions so telcos have as much power as possible to fire or hire employees.

Good for you! You learned how to use the search feature!
--
"Net Neutrality" zealots - the people you can thank for your capped Internet service.

cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7

1 recommendation

said by pnh102:

Why not just call him what he actually is?

A whore.

At least with a whore, you (hopefully) feel better after you've been fucked. Now, you feel worse, have a scathing case of herpes, and have less money and less service than before.

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Re: Uh

said by cdru:

At least with a whore, you (hopefully) feel better after you've been fucked. Now, you feel worse, have a scathing case of herpes, and have less money and less service than before.

You're right... I sincerely apologize to anyone who works in this industry who may have read my above comment. I am truly sorry for debasing their work by associating them with politicians.
--
"Net Neutrality" zealots - the people you can thank for your capped Internet service.
jagged

join:2003-07-01
Boynton Beach, FL

1 recommendation

said by pnh102:

Why not just call him what he actually is?

A whore.

because it would be an insult to actual whores, they at least make people feel good and provide an actual service. This graemlin just repeats a script he's fed to get his pockets lined.

fuziwuzi
Not born yesterday
Premium
join:2005-07-01
Atlanta, GA

Nothing new

Boucher was always a tool, now he's just a tool owned by one of the biggest lying corporations on the planet.
--
Teabaggers: Destroying America is Priority #1
AndyDufresne
Premium
join:2010-10-30
Chanhassen, MN

Classic example of selling out

It is everywhere and looks like nobody is immune. All mighty dollar strikes again. Integrity and morals be damned.

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Real problem - FCC regulation is partisan

Want to know what the real problem is with FCC regulation - it isn't non-partisan. The FCC is nothing but a willing tool of whatever party holds the White House. So those being regulated react in the only way they can - use politicians and ex-politicians(now lobbyists) to get the outcomes they want from a biased agency. Removing power from the FCC is a good thing as long as that environment exists.

Want to reform the FCC - get rid of 90% of the lawyers owned by one political party or the other that makes up the FCC. And replace them with technical experts that will listen to logical technical arguments from those regulated instead of marching to some agenda dictated from the White House or Congress.

And, YES, I know that won't ever happen. Just one more reason to heavily curtail FCC powers.
--
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, I'm from the government and I'm here to help.
»www.politico.com/2012-election/

Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO

Re: Real problem - FCC regulation is partisan

The real problem is.....

Is that you have a government body that is suppose to be in charge of "regulating" and yet they are "regulated" by the politicians that are "owned" by the industry.

The body of the FCC (or any regulatory body) should be completely independent from politicians and industry, if not, they can't do their job as they should.

If the politicians don't like it, then they can eliminate their scap goat (FCC) and regulate the industry directly and they themselves can be fully accountable to the people and each other for their actions and/or lack there of.
sonicmerlin

join:2009-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:1
said by FFH5:

Want to know what the real problem is with FCC regulation - it isn't non-partisan. The FCC is nothing but a willing tool of whatever party holds the White House. So those being regulated react in the only way they can - use politicians and ex-politicians(now lobbyists) to get the outcomes they want from a biased agency. Removing power from the FCC is a good thing as long as that environment exists.

Want to reform the FCC - get rid of 90% of the lawyers owned by one political party or the other that makes up the FCC. And replace them with technical experts that will listen to logical technical arguments from those regulated instead of marching to some agenda dictated from the White House or Congress.

And, YES, I know that won't ever happen. Just one more reason to heavily curtail FCC powers.

I think we all know you consider corporations to be an arm of the US government. The only reason you want the FCC's power curtailed is so megacorporations can run roughshod over their smaller competition with illegal and predatory behavior.

Your avatar and screen name is a clear enough sign that you couldn't care less about the well-being of America's wireless industry.

What's rather pathetic is how you decry partisanship while advocating the very platform Republicans run on. Hypocrisy is thy middle name.

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Re: Real problem - FCC regulation is partisan

said by sonicmerlin:

Hypocrisy ...

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
--
"Net Neutrality" zealots - the people you can thank for your capped Internet service.

Paladin
Sage of the light

join:2001-08-17
Chester, IL
You can't come up with an actual argument? How pathetic. I disagree with Throw Dems Out's conclusion, but that post is pathetic. Tell us why the FCC can't be made into a more non-partisan body.
nasadude

join:2001-10-05
Rockville, MD
the FCC has technical experts; however, they don't vote and only write the reports and make recommendations to the commissioners (which of course, can be ignored by said commissioners).

the commissioners are like a weather vane, aligning themselves to whichever way the current wind is blowing.

Republican control of FCC = complete regulatory capture (whatever industry wants)

Democratic control of FCC = lip service to consumers + complete regulatory capture

democrats like to kiss when they fvk their constituents, republicans don't

Suntop
Premium
join:2000-03-23
Fairfield, MT
Reviews:
·3Rivers Communic..

Ah yes typical AT&T

They want it all, they always have and are very bitter of the breakup they had in the 80s. They want all the money, no one to compete and everyone too be beaten down as they think they are truly the most vile company on the planet. It is fitting they have the death star like symbol. However, they will eventually lose. And I hope they burn like the fiends they are. Such mindless idiots who think they can BUY everything up and control it.
--
The following statement is true...
The preceding statement was false!!--George Carlin

Rambo76098

join:2003-02-21
Columbus, OH
Reviews:
·WOW Internet and..

Re: Ah yes typical AT&T

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsCp-1hgfxI

Suntop
Premium
join:2000-03-23
Fairfield, MT
Reviews:
·3Rivers Communic..

Re: Ah yes typical AT&T

Quite right sir, thats what happened. They if they got T-Mobile they would own 98% of the GSM market. Only places that have Celluar One (MTPCS) and in OK and TX would be thier last attempt to be bought out. If that happened I would go to straight talk. However, I enjoy my unlimited talk text and 3gb internet for $85.00 a month and on 2G 3gb is more than enough.
--
The following statement is true...
The preceding statement was false!!--George Carlin

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT

Re: Ah yes typical AT&T

Hey, with StraightTalk's SIM with your existing GSM (or dual-tech) phone, it's not a bad deal.

I'd love to grad a D4, unlock it, and slap in a StraightTalk SIM.. Unfortunately, you'd have to lie about the zip code (use 80110) to get one since 59301 (or any area in MT) "isn't available".

Heck, I might try that with my D2G.
sonicmerlin

join:2009-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:1
said by Suntop:

Quite right sir, thats what happened. They if they got T-Mobile they would own 98% of the GSM market. Only places that have Celluar One (MTPCS) and in OK and TX would be thier last attempt to be bought out. If that happened I would go to straight talk. However, I enjoy my unlimited talk text and 3gb internet for $85.00 a month and on 2G 3gb is more than enough.

What's funny is that in France you can get unlimited voice, text, and 3 GB of data (throttled thereafter) for $20/month. But you willingly pay over 4 times that amount.

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT

Re: Ah yes typical AT&T

said by sonicmerlin:

What's funny is that in France you can get unlimited voice, text, and 3 GB of data (throttled thereafter) for $20/month. But you willingly pay over 4 times that amount.

Unfortunately, no one here does that. If someone actually started a CellCo that has that type of deal, the others would throw a tantrum and demand the government shut them down for unfair competition.
--
Bresnan 30M/5M | CenturyLink 5M/896K
MyWS[PnmIIX3@3.3G,8G RAM,500G+1.5T+2T HDDs,Win7]
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andyb
Premium
join:2003-05-29
SW Ontario
kudos:1

1 recommendation

Really?

"During the past 10 years, consumers enjoyed plummeting prices per minute, per megabit and per message. "

I have never seen a price drop for anything to do with cellular.I remember when texts were 5 cents thou

Rambo76098

join:2003-02-21
Columbus, OH

Re: Really?

Things have gotten better from a long time ago... I remember paying $30/mo for 5 minutes in 1998.

Coverage is a lot better than it was back then also. But I'd say prices are headed in the other direction nowadays.
sonicmerlin

join:2009-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:1

Re: Really?

said by Rambo76098:

Things have gotten better from a long time ago... I remember paying $30/mo for 5 minutes in 1998.

Coverage is a lot better than it was back then also. But I'd say prices are headed in the other direction nowadays.

No, AT&T's coverage is as bad as it always has been.

We also used to have plenty of unlimited 3G plans, which then went to 5 GB of 3G, and now 2 GB of 4G.

I don't think you understand just how much cheaper technology has made operating these networks. The move to all IP networks will save wireless carriers billions every year.

Rambo76098

join:2003-02-21
Columbus, OH
Reviews:
·WOW Internet and..

Re: Really?

I'm talking about the OLD days, like 10 years ago (as far as this story goes back). Things are better than it was at that time. Probably not much better for AT&T, but a lot better for everyone else.

And by other direction, I meant our prices are going up. Didn't say there was a good reason for it, just that they are. (Gotta be able to afford those high-priced lobbyists somehow!)

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT
said by andyb:

"During the past 10 years, consumers enjoyed plummeting prices per minute, per megabit and per message. "

I have never seen a price drop for anything to do with cellular.I remember when texts were 5 cents thou

Um.. That's because instead of any cellular technology being a niche market, it's now being used worldwide by several users.

I remember when anything "long distance" in a cell phone was per minute along with utilizing your bucket-o-minutes. I decided to use a calling card, which was much cheaper. That was with Airtouch a decade ago in San Diego.
--
Bresnan 30M/5M | CenturyLink 5M/896K
MyWS[PnmIIX3@3.3G,8G RAM,500G+1.5T+2T HDDs,Win7]
WifeWS[A64@2G,2G RAM,120G HDD,Win7]
Router[2xP3@1G,1G RAM,18G HDD,Allied Telesyn AT2560FX,2xDigital QP DE504,Compaq DP NC3131,2xSun QP GigaSwift, SMC 8432BTA, Gentoo]
sonicmerlin

join:2009-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:1

Re: Really?

said by Simba7:

said by andyb:

"During the past 10 years, consumers enjoyed plummeting prices per minute, per megabit and per message. "

I have never seen a price drop for anything to do with cellular.I remember when texts were 5 cents thou

Um.. That's because instead of any cellular technology being a niche market, it's now being used worldwide by several users.

I remember when anything "long distance" in a cell phone was per minute along with utilizing your bucket-o-minutes. I decided to use a calling card, which was much cheaper. That was with Airtouch a decade ago in San Diego.

You do realize long distance costs went down because the circuit switched networks were converted to packet-based ones, right?

Bandwidth costs are shrinking exponentially. Voice is a paltry component of overall bandwidth consumption.

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT

Re: Really?

said by sonicmerlin:

You do realize long distance costs went down because the circuit switched networks were converted to packet-based ones, right?

Yes, I know. Definitely made the backbone more efficient. Now, if they'd upgrade those T1 lines going to each tower.
said by sonicmerlin:

Bandwidth costs are shrinking exponentially. Voice is a paltry component of overall bandwidth consumption.

Sure, it's getting cheaper for them.. but it's getting more expensive for us.
--
Bresnan 30M/5M | CenturyLink 5M/896K
MyWS[PnmIIX3@3.3G,8G RAM,500G+1.5T+2T HDDs,Win7]
WifeWS[A64@2G,2G RAM,120G HDD,Win7]
Router[2xP3@1G,1G RAM,18G HDD,Allied Telesyn AT2560FX,2xDigital QP DE504,Compaq DP NC3131,2xSun QP GigaSwift, SMC 8432BTA, Gentoo]
decifal

join:2007-03-10
Bon Aqua, TN
kudos:1

phat pricing

All prices are inflated atm.. People are still hooked on the newness of smart phones and yes they are fun/helpful. But they are over priced for what your getting...

30 a month for data should net you 20 gigs at least.. Above that overages should be 1 per gig.. People can still enjoy their gadgets and the ones abusing it will think twice before uploading/downloading 24/7
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

1 recommendation

Karl is at it again

I'm assuming he is referring to the provision that would limit the largest spectrum owners from participating in future spectrum auctions. What appalls me is Karl's total disregard for reality. AT&T and Verizon are the ONLY companies who are actually going to build out the spectrum in more than the cities and suburbs, or in many cases at all. AT&T needs more spectrum to compete head to head with Verizon, as if the current situation with spectrum continues, Verizon will be dominant in 4G LTE, and can raise their prices significantly because they will have no competition.

This fantasy that some new start-up is going to come in and magically build a $10 BILLION network is ridiculous.

Putting some build-out requirements that cover land area, not POPs on AT&T would be a good idea though, as they have 4 different levels of network right now, and about half of their network is still EDGE-only. Verizon is fine, as they already plan to build out over 100% of their network with LTE, when you account for LTE in rural America, and any builds they do with LTE where they don't currently own PCS or CLR spectrum.
chgo_man99

join:2010-01-01
San Jose, CA

Re: Karl is at it again

I agree with u except on atts spectrum crisis where I don't think tmobile takeover was their only best option (i.e. dish spectrum) .
Tmobile 3G coverage is horrible, sprint-clearwire's old wimax is tiny , cheese holed and does not handle handoffs. Sprints LTE just started. Metropcs does not even cover natively some large cities like Chicago (but they cover Detroit, what a nonsense).

And regional carries such as metropcs, cellular south, iwireless, us cellular while have decent plans, their coverage especially in rural areas, their phone selection suck (even from tmobile's twin sister iwireless in Iowa) and their networks are slow. Only AT&T and Verizon dominate.

••••••••
sonicmerlin

join:2009-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:1

1 recommendation

said by BiggA:

I'm assuming he is referring to the provision that would limit the largest spectrum owners from participating in future spectrum auctions. What appalls me is Karl's total disregard for reality. AT&T and Verizon are the ONLY companies who are actually going to build out the spectrum in more than the cities and suburbs, or in many cases at all. AT&T needs more spectrum to compete head to head with Verizon, as if the current situation with spectrum continues, Verizon will be dominant in 4G LTE, and can raise their prices significantly because they will have no competition.

This fantasy that some new start-up is going to come in and magically build a $10 BILLION network is ridiculous.

Putting some build-out requirements that cover land area, not POPs on AT&T would be a good idea though, as they have 4 different levels of network right now, and about half of their network is still EDGE-only. Verizon is fine, as they already plan to build out over 100% of their network with LTE, when you account for LTE in rural America, and any builds they do with LTE where they don't currently own PCS or CLR spectrum.

No one needs $10 billion straight off. They use subscriber revenue to expand their network. You know, kind of like every other business in the world.

What would solve the issue of coverage would be to force the major, national carriers to offer roaming to smaller carriers at fair and reasonable terms.

But you don't like that idea, do you?

Seriously, stop being such a shill. It's distasteful.

••••
axus

join:2001-06-18
Washington, DC
Reviews:
·Comcast

C'mon now, he's doing the jobs he's hired for

If he fairly represented the people of his district, he did a good job. Now he's being paid to represent AT&T's corporate interests, of course that's what he's going to do. Save the hate for the senators/reps that aren't doing their job, and getting influenced by Boucher's new job.

What else was he supposed to do, get a job writing for Broadbandreports? ;p
old_wiz_60

join:2005-06-03
Bedford, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

He is just...

a puppet for whoever is paying him. Once people get enough money, they will say whatever they are told to say. They have zero credibility once they become corporate stooges. I wonder how may votes went the way AT&T wanted when he was in office? I often wonder if there are any honest people in Congress?

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

Politician leaves Congress and lobbies for Corporations?!?!

Say it isn't so!

I think a lot of these guys use their time in Congress to audition for their wealth building plan when they eventually leave!
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini