Where does choice come from?

July 23, 2009

Choice, having the benefit of a selection of different alternatives to choose from, springs from the risk and opportunity of market competition — not from Government economic regulation.

  • The latest net neutrality conspiracy theory is that the U.S. wireless industry masquerades as a competitive market, but really is a collection of monopolists bent on denying their customers choice.
  • The more the net neutrality extremists ratchet up their demonization of broadband providers in their desperate quest for the media’s and regulator’s attention, the more they are departing from reality and the mainstream.
    • Increasingly, they are coming off as virulently anti-competition and desperate for the goverment to effectively seize control of broadband infrastructure to forward their agenda of a property-less Internet or an information commons.
    • Increasingly frantic that the new Government did not mandate their commons agenda in the stimulus package or in the Adminstration’s broadband grant conditions, they are resorting to ever more extreme and irrational characterizations of things that others can see as patently untrue.
      • Demonizing wireless providers as not interested in satisfying customers as a means to earn their business, belies the obvious every day facts of constant marketing by four different national providers, routine offers of more value for less money, the lowest prices and most usage in the world, and over 600 different handsets to choose from.
      • Remember the last time “this boy cried wolf?” FreePress’ Save the Internet arm breathlessly warned broadband providers would take away Americans freedom of speech, if net neutrality legislation or regulation was not mandated immediately. After three years of free speech demonization, we hear nary a peep about freedom of speech any more… was the Internet saved or was it never really at risk?

It is in this context that it is easier to see this latest demonization campaign of wireless providers as another well-orchestrated campaign by FreePress and its allies to try and justify new government regulation generally and mandating wireless net neutrality specifically.

 

 

  • FreePress’ signature is one-sided allegations that leave out obvious information that would disprove the statistics they use.  
    • Consider the New York Times editorial yesterday “Who Rules the Mobile Bands” that claimed that American wireless users pay more on an annual basis for wireless service than Europeans do when the full truth is Americans enjoy much cheaper wireless prices than Europeans do and consequently consume four times more wireless minutes of use than Europeans do.
    • Consider the same selective analysis of David Pogue’s New York Times column, “The Irksome Cellphone industry” where he picks at pricing issues totally out of context of the overall value that American wireless consumers enjoy relative to any other country.

 

  • The standard MO of FreePress is find an imperfection in the market and conclude competition has failed and the Government must regulate.
    • Their implicit and heroic assumption is that Government regulation is perfect, making is superior to competition.

In closing, choice comes from competition not government.

  • It wasn’t until the Government privatized the Internet that it took off and became a phenomenon of enormous consumer choice.
  • It wasn’t until the FCC ruled Broadband was an unregulated infomation service that facilities-based competitive choice took off.

One need only look at the countries that regulate the Internet the most to see who has the least Internet consumer choice — China, Iran, Myanmar…

If it is really choice one seeks, choice flourishes best in the absence of government dictating what people and businesses can and cannot do on the Internet…

Update: If anyone questioned FreePress’ role in this latest orchestrated campaign against the wireless industry note this FreePress hyperbole that “Phone exclusivity is an abuse of power.” They have no credibility…

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