Tales of the Sausage Factory

Commission Meeting Happens! Begins With Gifts To Verizon and AT&T . . . .

O.K., we finally started at 3:50 p.m. Three items left, VZ/Alltel, New Clearwire, and White Spaces. I’ll split tdo my happy dance on his in two, so I can gripe about the suckiness of the mergers while doing my happy dance on white spaces unsullied by this market consolidation.

Details of merger suckiness below . . .

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Econoklastic

The XM-Sirius Merger: Part One

For a first go I thought I would try something a bit controversial. We expect that the media reform movement, and I count myself part of that movement, would generally oppose mergers which increase media consolidation. As a general rule, that’s true. But the XM-Sirius satellite radio merger is a different case and raises questions about how we approach the issue of mergers generally. This is going to be a bit long (and I tend to be a bit longwinded in any case), so I shall be posting it in installments. Endnotes are at the bottom of the page. There will be a brief quiz…. No. Sorry, forgot where I was for a moment there.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Why Yoo Is So Wrong on AT&T Net Neutrality Condition

Professor Christopher Yoo of Vanderbilt sent an email to Dave Farber’s Interesting People list explaining why the inclusion of network neutrality conditions in the AT&T/BS merger agreement violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

I usually disagree with Yoo on matters regulatory (he being of the neo-con deregulatory school, I being of the pragmatic regulation for a real world school). But that’s a matter of opinion. Here, however, he’s legally and factually just plain wrong. While he’s entitled to argue that he thinks “regulation by merger” sucks rocks (a point with which, no surprise, I disagree), the idea that the merger conditions run afoul of the APA is contrary to statute, contrary to case law, and contrary to the facts of the instant case (with which Professor Yoo seems surprisingly unfamiliar).

Usually, I wouldn’t bother to respond to something like this, but it got picked up by Communications Daily and seems to be making the rounds among tech folk unfamiliar with the case law in question. So while no offense to an opponent who usually knows his stuff, I explain in blistering detail what’s wrong with Yoo’s argument below….

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

This week's Candorville a MUST READ

Candorville started in the Washington Post last year, and it is an amazingly funny progessive comic strip. This week (April 3) features Bell mergers, Bellsouth’s disgraceful efforts to shut down the New Orleans muni wireless network, Bellsouth’s efforts to get the LA legislature to pass antimuni bills, and today why we need network neutrality.

Must send fan letter to Darrin Bell. He can say in four panels what it took me a whole essay to say.

Stay tuned . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Is the Comcast/Time Warner/Adelphia Deal In Trouble?

Back some months ago, I wrote about fighting further consoldiation in cable. In particular, I talked about fighting the proposed division of the Adelphia cable systems by Comcast and Time Warner and system swaps between Comcast and Time Warner which would give Comcast and Time Warner dominance in many regions of the country. As usual, back when the parties filed their applications with the FCC in May, the parties predicted a cake walk and the industry analysts agreed.

The smart money is still betting on no major conditions, with the possible exception of requiring Comcast and Time Warner to provide access to their regional sports programming. But a number of recent developments have raised questions. Between that and the political situation, I suggest that, like that remaining piece of Christmas cake at New Year’s, things have gotten a little stiffer and a little stickier than expected. Warning: a lot longer and not nearly as fun as my last cable post, but worth it get a picture of events you won’t get from trade journalists and industry analysts…..

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