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Kiesling on Network Reliability as a Public Good
Lynne Kiesling's post on network reliability as a public good should be required reading about the limits of standard neoclassical prescriptions for public goods.
- posted by Ray @ 7/30/2004 07:21:58 PM

Aspen Summit: Bloggers and Web Politics
Much has been made this week about the arrival at the Democratic Convention of a cohort of bloggers. They even were credentialed. Not only were there items in blogs about the bloggers, but there were stories in all the mainstream press. See the NYT here and the Washington Post here.

Well, it just so happens that at the Aspen Summit program, we have two of nation's best-known bloggers and authorities on how the web is changing our politics and our political dialogue. The Tuesday program: "Closing Address: The Future, How Politicians, Policy Wonks, and Ordinary People Use the Web". The highly impactful bloggers with real world experience: James Taranto, Editor, OpinionJournal from the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page and Co-Author, Presidential Leadership, and Dan Gillmor, Columnist, San Jose Mercury News; blogger; author, We the Media : Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People.

I'd be surprised if James and Dan didn't have some interesting observations concerning the invasion of the bloggers at this year's political conventions--and much else about how the web is impacting the way politics is conducted and policy made.

- posted by Randolph May @ 7/30/2004 03:07:18 PM

Unfortunate Headline-"Regulation A Must"
“White House Sees Regulation As Must in Promoting Broadband”. That’s the headline in a lead story [subscription required] yesterday in Communications Daily.

The story reported on a briefing by Bush Administration officials on broadband.  According to the report, Commerce Department Undersecretary-Technology Phil Bond reiterated President Bush’s goal of universal broadband access by 2007, stating the existence of multiple technologies would help achieve the goal.

The officials, who also included John Marburger, Director of the White House’s Office of Science & Technology Policy, and Richard Russell, OSTP’s Associate Director, reportedly declined repeated opportunities to comment on how VoIP should be regulated.

The support for regulation to which the story refers appears to relate more to spectrum management and standards-setting, rather than common-carrier-type regulation of broadband. And Marburger is quoted as saying: “Over-regulating is a serious problem.”

 So the headline writer may have taken a bit of unwarranted liberty, at least as I read the Comm Daily report. But perhaps the headline is just the “you’ve got it coming” visited on an Administration that never really articulated—and promoted—a consistent deregulatory communications policy agenda.  (Query: Along these lines, shouldn’t the Administration now have a policy on how VoIP should be [de]regulated?)

- posted by Randolph May @ 7/30/2004 09:14:36 AM

A Fling at Fly-Fishing?
In today’s edition of “Cubicle Culture,” a Wall Street Journal columnist ties together fly-fishing and the office.  (Subscription required.)  Of course, if you are looking for your own retreat from “communications cubicle culture,” you should join us in Colorado next month when we tackle The Future of the Internet.  From what I hear, casting a fly on the Roaring Fork is not unheard of among visitors to Aspen.

- posted by Kent @ 7/28/2004 04:37:28 PM

VoIP and Numbering
I am contemplating taking the plunge with VoIP, particularly for when I am in Colorado but calling frequently to D.C. For that, I want a "202" area code, which is available from some providers but not others.

Just what VoIP does to the North American Numbering Plan, or NANP, will be interesting. The NANP is premised on geographical divisions of North America into different codes. Wireless eroded this premise somewhat. VoIP will continue that trend. What will be interesting to watch is if number shortages appear. One can imagine that "desirable" area codes like "202," "212," "312" will gain numbers, while other codes lose them. Of course, in a world of no long distance this doesn't matter for toll purposes. But, it can certainly have an effect for status and as a signaling device. For instance, if I am a securities broker, I might want a "212" to convey the impression that I am in New York. If I am a big shot think tank-er, I might want a "202" to convey that I am in Washington, instead of my back porch in Denver. [Secondary markets for cool area codes anyone?]

Area codes are a product of a specific time, a specific legal regime and a specific technology. A PhD thesis in 2020 will explain sociologically, legally and technologically how we dealt with the current paradigm shift that is going on.

And I didn't even mention SIP--the signaling system that will supplant the current numbering system, at least according to some.

- posted by Ray @ 7/26/2004 06:42:06 PM

The Week in VoIP
While the U.S. Senate turned Senator Sununu's VoIP bill from unregulatory to regulatory, see below, the regulation-free market forged ahead.

Verizon debuted VoiceWing, coming roughly a month after AT&T brought its VoIP product, CallVantage to market. Meanwhile, Skype appears to be headed to the public switched telephone network, hooking up with Level 3 for a new product, SkypeOut. For all things VoIP, of course, check out Pulver.

CNet reviews of most of these products are here.

Among the opportunities for this new market are the endless neologies invented by marketing departments: VoicePulse, Vonage, BroadVox, Packet 8, CallVantage, VoiceWing, OneFlex, VoiceGlo. Clearly "voice" or its latin antecendent "vox" have some resonance, while Vonage gets a twofer both having an acronym, "voice on net," and the latin overtones to its name. The pure VoIP plays, Free World Dialup and Skype still stand apart from the herd by not using the genius of marketing departments to name their products.

- posted by Ray @ 7/24/2004 03:34:23 PM

Surprisingly Civil Discourse (The End, I Hope)
Regarding the Telecom Policy Report affair, I have received the following message below from Tim Wu in further clarification. See my last two posts below for the context:
I had a chance to read the article and speak with Chris, and I think things are better. While I do disagree with Yoo, these views were expressed in an inflammatory fashion in that article, and did not reflect the tenor of my remarks. The point about not coming because of an imbalance was clear error. I am very sorry that any of this happened. See you, Tim

This message, along with the earlier one from Professor Wu copied in my post below, are pretty much sufficient to close the book on the TPR report. Whatever the "newsletter's" motives, and assuming that Professor Wu's version of events is accurate, it is now crystal clear that the TPR "reporting" on Christopher Yoo's excellent paper bore little relationship to reality.  You might expect that anyone who now reads TRP will take what is written with a grain of salt.

- posted by Randolph May @ 7/24/2004 02:19:00 PM

Surprisingly Uncivil Discourse (Con't)
With regard to the Telecom Policy Report affair (see below), I have just received the following e-mail message from Tim Wu:

Thanks for your email. I'm afraid I didn't see the Telecom Policy report. I didn't say I wouldn't come to the PFF forum because it was unbalanced --if that's what was reported, that's not right. I would have loved to have been there! So please accept my apologies. I did say, roughly, that I didn't agree with Yoo, particularly his economic reasoning -- indeed I said mostly what I would have said at the panel!

It looks like the TPR "newsletter" report, certainly the part stating that Professor Wu declined the invitation to particiapte in the program because he thought it was unbalanced, was made entirely out of whole cloth.  Flat out wrong.

I suspect that the same may be true with regard to some of the statements attributed to Professor Wu regarding Professor Yoo's paper. In any event, I was pleased to receive Tim Wu's above apology.

- posted by Randolph May @ 7/23/2004 03:36:00 PM

Suprisingly Uncivil Discourse
Let’s hope Professor Tim Wu was misquoted in the July 21 edition of the newsletter called the “Telecom Policy Report” [Lexis subscription required]. For there he is quoted as making some very intemperate and unbecoming remarks about Professor Christopher Yoo’s paper on Net Neutrality released by PFF last Friday, and the program at which Professor Yoo and a distinguished panel discussed his paper.
It is one thing to debate important issues in a serious, yet civil way. Here at PFF we pride ourselves on doing that, and we have a well-deserved—and hard-earned--reputation for doing so. We are not used to having others, and certainly not other academics, make statements to the effect that the authors of our papers are "opportunistic" or that the papers lack “any serious intellectual basis.” And we don’t take kindly to it.
Again, we are happy to provide a forum for serious debate on important communications policy issues, and, in that spirit, here is a link to Professor Wu’s paper on broadband regulation. Readers can judge for themselves the merits of Professor Wu’s position versus Professor Yoo’s.
Let’s make one other matter perfectly clear. In the spirit of ensuring a diversity of views at our program, as Professor Wu acknowledges in the Telecom Policy Report piece, I invited him to participate. He is quoted (or misquoted, I hope) as saying he “declined the invitation, because the PFF agenda was decidedly one-sided. The whole thing seemed a bit unbalanced to me.” This is quite remarkable. Because when I tracked him down, he personally told me in a phone conversation that he very much would have liked to participate, but could not make it work because of a travel conflict. Then he sent me an e-mail that in its entirety reads: “Randy—I’m grateful for the invitation, but I think the logistics are ultimately too complicated for me. Hopefully there will be another time. Yours, Tim.”
I'm pretty doubtful there will be another time. And, I think that, if quoted correctly, Professor Wu owes some apologies.
Finally, as anyone knows who was at the program, after Professor Wu declined the invitation to participate, we found others that espoused views similar to his to ensure balance.

- posted by Randolph May @ 7/22/2004 05:23:27 PM

Making the world safe for state taxes..
The Sununu VoIP bill has been transformed into protecting state prerogatives to tax VoIP and assess access charges. Declan McCullagh has the unfortunate turn of events.

I eagerly await states' efforts to bill Skype for access and universal service.

- posted by Ray @ 7/22/2004 05:07:33 PM

A case of the vapours
Inspired crime drama from a friend:

At first, I had thought Brad Ramsay's comparison of federalism with John Dillinger in his daily e-mail was a case of the vapors -- that Brad needed a nice vacation with yoga and green tea.

Brad's comment, which gets bonus points for being among the most overwrought I've read of late, was as follows:

"On July 22, 1934, a man identified as bank robber John Dillinger was shot to death by federal agents outside Chicago's Biograph Theater. Today, Senate may do the same thing to federalism.....looks like a narrow deal has been cut on preemption issues re the Voip/Sununu markup." [Eds. note--the markup ended up doing very little in the way of preemption.]

Now I see Brad's comment as pure genius. Referencing crimelibrary.com, one need only substitute "Dillinger" with NARUC, and "Young Melvin Purvis" with Senator Sununu, and the story makes perfect sense:

"The son of a well-connected wealthy southern aristocrat, [Senator Sununu] was in charge of the Chicago office of the [FCC]. [NARUC] became his project. What "Little [Sununu]" lacked in height and weight, he made up for in ambition and intelligence. But [Sununu] was up against a wily group with the [NARUC] Gang. These men were real professionals."

The story goes on to note how Sununu was closing in on NARUC at its East Lansing hideout, but NARUC had other plans: "The gang had laid out a careful escape plan the day they arrived. [NARUC] and gang members Homer ["Stan" Wise], John "Red" [Mann] and Tommy [Dunleavy] followed the plan to perfection, running down to the back of the lakeshore and turning right. "Baby Face" [Bob] Nelson turned left. The agents, trying to execute their plan, fell into the [state regulatory] ditch on one side or became entangled in the [state tax lobbyists] on the other side."

Sununu ultimately prevailed, however, at Chicago's Biograph Theatre [located between the Eighth and Second Circuits]. As he tells it: "There is no way of knowing whether [NARUC] would stay for the whole show [or concede that states might be preempted]. Some patron in the theatre [e.g., Tommy "the gun" Welch] might arouse [its] suspicions, causing [Brad] to [admit that Justice Scalia has answered the issue already].

Our vigilance could not be relaxed for even a split second. I bit off the end of [Senator Dorgan's Amendment] and nervously chewed on it for more than two hours..... I knew that we could not let [NARUC] escape this time. We would never have another opportunity like this."

Sununu recalls that as he gave a signal to close in, the [FCC] was slow to react and his heart began to pound, but then [NARUC] was surrounded. He states, "I was about three feet to the left and a little to the rear of [Ramsay]. I was very nervous; it must have been a squeaky voice that called out, 'Stick 'em up, [Braddie], we have you surrounded.'"

In the end, Sununu never had to fire his gun.

- posted by Ray @ 7/22/2004 03:30:47 PM

The Devil Ray
Well, I don’t know whether it is the rapidly approaching Dog Days of summer ot whatnot, but I detect a certain incipient warming up to the Blue Devils on the part of the Devil Ray. See his post immediately above.
I confess that seeing myself in a basketball uniform brings back memories from my high school days when I was routinely assigned the task of guarding Pistol Pete Maravich from Raleigh Broughton down in Kent Lassman territory. How many points did Pistol Pete score? Don’t ask. All I will say is he should’ve been a Blue Devil rather than following his Dad to LSU.

Well, I’m encouraged that the Devil Ray is developing a liking for Dookies. Or at the very least, he knows good news when he sees it!

- posted by Randolph May @ 7/21/2004 04:32:08 PM

Best News of the Summer
The best news of the summer, of course, is this decision. Lest you think it has anything with an affinity for the Blue Devils, think of what I would have had to put up with around the office had Coach K alighted to L.A.: RandyLakers.JPG.  It would have simply been intolerable.

(And, yes, I am a disgrace to photo shop users everywhere.)

- posted by Ray @ 7/21/2004 11:38:48 AM

Regulation by Litigation--Grandstanding by AG's
California, Connecticut, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin have decided to make climate policy by suing power companies over carbon dioxide emissions.  (NYT link requires registration).  This usurps not only federal environmental regulation, but also state utility commission prerogatives.  After all, it is the utility commissions that are charged with ensuring reliable electric power at "just and reasonable" rates.  If you take coal out of that mix--as these lawsuits try to do--those rates will inevitably rise, and not insubstantially.  But, really, this is so outrageous and out of bounds that I don't even know where to start.

The respective AG's of these states aren't called "aspiring governors" for nothing.

Tip from Myron Ebell at CEI.

- posted by Ray @ 7/21/2004 09:57:27 AM

Free VoIP! New York Blocked
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) was again emancipated from state regulatory control yesterday by a federal judgeVonage will not be required to apply for certification to the NY Public Service Commission.  Even the "light" regulatory rhetoric that the states have been resorting to has been unavailing to the federal judiciary.  Now, if only the FCC can act and keep VoIP in a regulation-free zone, then the path to escape from the legacy regulatory world will be clear.
- posted by Ray @ 7/21/2004 09:44:48 AM

You Should Read Yoo
On a forward looking basis, one of the most important issues confronting communications policymakers will be the extent to which facilities-based broadband providers will be subject to public utility-like "open access", "net neutrality" or non-discrimination obligations by whatever name. Because there will always be those that want to share the facilities (or "ride on top of the physical layer") of companies who have invested in building out new networks, fighting these proposals is likely to unite the cable operators, telcos, wireless companies, and others who own their own networks.
For a scholarly--and persuasive--study explaining why such "net neutrality"proposals are likely to deter new investment and inhibit the development of new competition, the paper we released on Friday by Professor Christopher Yoo of Vanderbilt Law School is well worth the read. It is sure to make an important contribution to the public's understanding that prohibitions on vertical integration impose real costs.   

- posted by Randolph May @ 7/20/2004 11:17:52 AM

It Shouldn't Have To Be This Way
On Friday the DC Circuit once again rebuked the FCC, this time for failing to explain adequately why it denied Verizon's petition asking for relief from the sharing requirements for new broadband loops. Does the FCC want to speed investment in broadband or not by removing regulatory disincentives? You wouldn't think it would be that difficult a question to answer, but then you might not have been following the FCC for the past few years.
Let's see whether the FCC can get off the dime and promptly grant Verizon's petition asking it to forbear from applying Section's 271 sharing requirements for new broadband loops consistent with its holding in the TRO that competitors are not impaired without access to the incumbents' loops. History dictates it would be foolish to be very optimistic. But common sense says that sooner rather than later the Commission has to get serious about removing the regulatory impediments to new broadband investment.

- posted by Randolph May @ 7/18/2004 08:22:59 PM

Who Says There Is No Free Lunch!
Well, I'm not sure whether it is the rumors swirling around that the new Mandarin Oriental hotel has really good "Asian fusion" (is that the right name?) food, or whether whatever you call the cuisine, it is a free lunch. Whatever. In any event, we've got a big crowd signed up for our program tommorrow: "Should the Net's Physical Layer Be Regulated?"

I prefer to think the crowd is attracted by the likes of Yoo, Ferree, Thierer, Waz, Hoewing, and Whitt, and Nakahata. Talk about "fusion" that ignites good substantive debate.

There's still time to sign up here if you want to attend.

- posted by Randolph May @ 7/15/2004 02:36:38 PM

Not a Blimp
One of the more intriguing wireless platform plays out there is Sanswire Network's Stratellite. The business model: a stratospheric platform, held in place by GPS technology, that could deliver multiple IP products and services to entire metropolitan and/or rural areas. Today, Sanswire announced that the Stratellite passed its first round of testing, holding a platform nearly three miles up while providing voice and Internet connections. Next up, a test launch into the stratosphere.
- posted by Adam @ 7/14/2004 12:33:01 PM

Friday Conference: Why the Physical Layer Should Not Be Regulated
In case you are one of those junkies who reads the PFF blog before reading our news releases, I want to make sure you know about the terrific program we've put together for this Friday, July 16, to discuss "Why the Physical Layer Should Not Be Regulated."

We have a great line-up of expert speakers from academia, industry, and the government--household names all, at least to those in the know: Christopher Yoo, Ken Ferree, Joe Waz, Rick Whitt, Link Hoewing, John Nakahata, and Adam Thierer.

Use the form here to register. See you Friday!

- posted by Randolph May @ 7/14/2004 12:25:36 PM

Task Force Required?
It is when NARUC contemplates revising its general anti-preemption policy. According to yesterday’s Comm. Daily, a proposed policy change would have acknowledged that, “in a global telecom market, ‘national preemption of state authority may be justified under some circumstances.’” Apparently, the obviousness* of the statement proved to be overwhelming, so today’s Comm. Daily reports that a five-member task force will “study” the issue and come up with “suitable resolutions” at NARUC’s annual meeting later this year.

*As Justice Scalia stated in Iowa Utilities Board: The question...is not whether the Federal Government has taken the regulation of local telecommunications competition away from the States. With regard to the matters addressed by the 1996 Act, it unquestionably has.

- posted by Adam @ 7/14/2004 11:39:34 AM

Speaking of Aspen
Don't forget to register. All of the cool people will be there.
- posted by Ray @ 7/14/2004 11:16:35 AM

Bad Karma
Proving that telecom executives enjoy employment privileges akin to coaches in the NBA, today’s WSJ (subscription required) reports that former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio is consulting Leucadia Corp. on its potential bid for MCI.
- posted by Adam @ 7/14/2004 10:28:27 AM

Consolidation Looming?
Probably not. Yesterday's news that Leucadia National Corp. is seeking FTC clearance to purchase a controlling share of MCI gave a big boost to both MCI's and AT&T's stock prices. Although speculation of a "bidding war" has ensued, Business Week's take is a more plausible assessment.
- posted by Adam @ 7/13/2004 12:01:31 PM

Enron's Legacy
One of the legacies of what we now call "Enron" is the surfeit of crazy statements about regulation that abound in any discussion of the subject. (Like Watergate quickly became more than a mere luxury residence, Enron will forever be more than a mere company. Both attained the rarefied status of one-word scandals.) Any half-smart blogger worth his salt, or with enough time on his hands, could spend the next couple of days picking apart the editorial in today's Washington Post entitled "Enron's Legacy".

For now, I'll sleep better tonight just bringing the following oxymoronic statement to your attention: "Yet the future success of deregulated energy markets depends on the existence of a reliable regulator, with enhanced powers to enforce standard market rules and to penalize companies that fail to comply with reliability requirements or that manipulate markets."

Now that I think about it, why did I ever think we should have "deregulated" markets without "reliable regulators with enhanced powers" enforcing "standard market rules"?

We free marketeers still have some work to do with the Post's editorial board, among others.

- posted by Randolph May @ 7/12/2004 09:49:59 PM

Blogger Powell . . .
is not a character from the Outback.

FCC Chairman Michael Powell has started a Weblog on the Always-On Network. In his first entry, last Thursday, he stated his explicit purpose of reaching out to the high-tech community and by-passing the Washington lobbying structure:

"One reason I am participating in AlwaysOn Network's blog is to hear from the tech community directly and to try to get beyond the traditional inside the Beltway Washington world where lobbyists filter the techies. . . . Regulated interests have about an 80 year head start on the entrepreneurial tech community when it comes to informing regulators what they want and need, but if anyone can make up for that, Silicon Valley can."


"The high-tech community traditionally shied away from regulatory debates at the FCC and state regulatory commissions. Perhaps staying off regulators' radar screens has served entrepreneurs well in the past. Unfortunately, the era of salutary neglect is coming to an end. As regulators get involved in issues such as VoIP affecting high-tech industries, the collateral damage can be significant. As technologies, services, and legal policies converge, it is critical that the high-tech community understand the issues and engage them."

Silicon Valley should heed this call. For too long, the tech community has let the cause of deregulation, respect for property, and free markets be stalled by the vicious political infighting triggered by the mistakes in the implementation of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. A determined tech world might break the deadlock.

Powell's second posting, on Sunday, takes up the strategy of multiple platforms.

- posted by James DeLong @ 7/12/2004 12:15:50 PM

Aspen X
Nah, I'm not talking about that loud event on ESPN2 with snowboarders who are "stoked" every time they land a trick. I'm talking about our tenth annual Aspen Summit, "The Future of the Internet," to be held Aug. 22nd-24th. A wave of official PR is on the way, but Chairman Powell, Commissioner Abernathy, Stratton Sclavos, Hew Pate, Jim Crowe, Robert Sachs, Deborah Majoras, John Thompson, Prof. Dale Jorgenson, Craig Mundie, and Larry Babbio are among those scheduled to appear. One rumor at PFF's K-Cup dispenser today is that the early registration rate for the conference is being extended, so register now.
- posted by Adam @ 7/8/2004 01:26:13 PM

"The war of the United States with Spain was very brief. Its results were many, startling, and of world-wide meaning." -Henry Cabot Lodge

If Lodge had only known. One of the many, startling (but not world-wide meaning) results of the Spanish-American War is that a tax originally enacted to pay it off has morphed into one of the biggest anomalies and entrenched interests in communications. And if the IRS and Treasury Department follow through on their advanced NPRM, the so-called "Spanish-American War tax" will be extended to cover new services such as VoIP. Barring Congressional intervention, comments are due by September 30th. News.com has the full story.

- posted by Adam @ 7/6/2004 06:03:39 PM

Chairman Powell Unplugged
This from a very candid interview conducted last month by The Gartner Fellows:

If you decided new competition rules tomorrow...?


Doesn't matter. I don't care how they come out; it's too late. This country is wasting too much time on this problem, when the real game is someplace else — broadband and not just plain old communications services. That's where everyone has to be, and where all are going. In two years, no one significant will be competing using unbundled network elements. So should the U.S. Supreme Court spend its time and resources on a case that won't even be ruled on until July 2005? Can the market afford another year of uncertainty?

- posted by Adam @ 7/6/2004 11:40:59 AM

New VoIP Legislation
Reps. Boucher and Stearns are holding a press conference this afternoon to announce new VoIP legislation. According to a description of the bill in News.com, it could be a mixed bag. The FCC would be granted exclusive jurisdiction over VoIP (good, though it will be interesting to see how VoIP is defined), would not be allowed to regulate rates (good), and would have "options" to regulate access charges (bad), universal service (ominous) and E-911, at least for those services connecting with the PSTN.
- posted by Adam @ 7/6/2004 10:47:20 AM

Venti, Vidi, Vichy
A certified Starbuck's addict--particularly now with the Hot Spots--I just cannot bring myself to utter the pretentious sizes. Thus, as a matter of principle and petty defiance, I insist on ordering large coffees or medium lattes. I'd like to say it sounds more manly, but when you're ordering a latte, it's tough to sound manly.

Incidentally, my wife thinks it is really pathetic to be blogging on the 4th of July.

- posted by Ray @ 7/5/2004 12:12:54 AM

A Flair for the Melodramatic
AT&T continued its post-TRO-induced-PR-tantrum in SBC's region today, berating the ICC and withdrawing from wholesale cost proceedings before the Ohio PUC.

Oh yeah, the company has also announced that it has deployed its CallVantage service in 22 states in only 14 weeks.

- posted by Adam @ 7/1/2004 05:44:31 PM

Upping the Ante: Universal Service at CPUC and CaPUC
Today the Lifeline fee in Colorado jumped 20 percent. Don’t let statistics fool you. The fee went from 10 to 12 cents a month per line. Over in California, the CaPUC scheduled a vote to reinstate a monthly surcharge to fund a state E-Rate program. The rate has been set at zero for 18 months and, pending approval, will rise to .16 percent in August.

No one should fault regulators for implementing the law. However, a close reading of CaPUC’s previous order on the California Teleconnect Fund hints at the shenanigans possible with universal service. In December 2002, CaPUC revised the fiscal year budget of the CTF from $159+ million to $59 million. Simultaneously, the CFT charge dropped to zero because most of the necessary revenues were in hand. Cost-consciousness? Not likely. Consumers may have missed the footnote explaining the $100 million assumption of claims that had already been paid. The same order required firms to keep the CFT line item on consumers’ bills. Perhaps it was a wise precaution. Repeal of the CFT was unlikely and the CaPUC would eventually raise the rate from zero to fund the program. But can’t firms make billing decisions without regulatory help? A cynic might say that the requirement simply set the stage for next week’s vote. This time around the charge is not a “new tax” but rather an “increase of an old tax.” But cynicism, like an opaque subsidy system, is a dirty business and we should eschew it entirely.

- posted by Kent @ 7/1/2004 02:53:32 PM

Vonage Wins Another Injunction
Yesterday, a magistrate for the Southern District of New York announced that the state PSC's decision to assert jurisdiction over Vonage as a telecom carrier will be enjoined.
- posted by Adam @ 7/1/2004 10:50:25 AM

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