Trump's FCC redefines "effective competition" to include having only one ISP in your county



US businesses really get screwed by their ISPs: 73% of the US only has one business ISP; 24% of the remainder has only two ISPs, and only 3% of the US has 3 or more ISPs that will sell them internet access.


Back in April, Trump’s FCC Chairman, the neutracidal maniac Ajit Pai, vowed to increase competition in the business ISP market — and now he’s unveiled his grand plan: redefining “competition” so that a county is considered “competitive” if there’s one ISP serving it.


Public Knowledge and the Consumer Federation of America have asked the 8th Circuit to overturn Pai’s order.


Of course there’s a reason giant ISPs like Comcast and AT&T employ an army of economists eager to distort, stretch, and otherwise mutilate data until it justifies policy that protects them from real competition. In fact, the groups at one point indicate that Ajit Pai’s FCC tried to use concrete to justify its latest effort:


“The order cites studies analyzing three-firm and four-firm markets, but fails to explain how its analysis is relevant to the one-firm and two-firm markets the commission embraces as sufficiently competitive, Curiously, the Commission relies on a study involving ready-mix concrete for the proposition that the addition of competitors beyond a second has diminishing returns…”


There’s numerous other slights of hand the FCC used to justify its total apathy to the broken BDS market, including claiming that wireless competition from fifth-generation (5G) networks will make everything magically work out — while ignoring that just two companies (AT&T and Verizon) hold the vast majority of the spectrum needed to compete in that space. Granted if you’ve watched as the FCC abuses logic to justify dismantling everything from net neutrality to privacy protections, it’s all par for the course for an agency that prioritizes incumbent revenues over consumers, competition, or the health of the market itself.


Groups Battle Trump FCC’s Claim That One ISP In A Market Means There’s Effective Competition
[Karl Bode/Techdirt]



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