Sunday, June 29, 2008

Courts Protect Business From Cable Competition

Here’s the Ayn Rand/neo conservative idea of competition. According to AP:
A federal appeals court upheld the FCC’s authority to set rules meant to make it easier for new cable television competitors to gain local franchises.
Local governments across the country filed legal challenges to agency rules that the F.C.C. said would speed the approval process for new competitors, cap fees paid by new entrants to local governments and ease requirements that competitors build systems that reach every home. Some companies contended that local governments made unreasonable demands during negotiations and held up applications.”

Aww, are you poor guys getting picked on?

The first question is: unreasonable to whom? The citizens, through their elected representatives, want something the companies don’t want to provide. So instead of negotiating, big business runs to the…government for help…against government unfairness? What’s so free market about that?

It seems private business is getting big government to cap fees, disadvantaging local communities. Big government is also telling small government they can’t demand that all their constituents receive equally accessible service. How fair is that?

What protection does business have Constitutionally over the people negotiating through their representatives? Since when is government exempt from negotiating anything? It appears that government, the FCC, is also taking control of the free market and tilting the rules to favor business over local governments. It’s big government making decisions for “little” government.

Incredibly, “A three-judge panel ruled unanimously for the F.C.C., which it said provided evidence that the local franchising process was “unreasonably impeding competitive entry into the cable television market.”

Hold on. Wouldn’t it be up to the local community to decide if indeed they thought the cable company was being competitive? In this case, the cable companies don’t want to compete on price or availability. Negotiate someplace else then. Hit the road freeloaders.
The commission’s chairman, Kevin J. Martin, said the court ruling vindicated
theagency’s action and would help consumers. “I think it’s critical that we find
away to give consumers some additional choice and some more competition to
helpcontrol soaring cable prices."

What this simply means is that instead of one or two cable companies making a profit, any number of them will split the wealth, increasing fees to match their competitor initially, then increasing prices to make up for any upfront losses. Come on, we’ve seen this happen in the energy industry and insurance/medical community.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers were studying the opinion and there was no immediate word onwhether they would appeal. They could ask for review by the full appeals court or go to the Supreme Court.

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