@NYTimes: No more spectrum without Title II #broadband #wireless #fcc

New York TimesAn October 25 New York Times editorial How to Fix the Wireless Market rails against the pricing practices of major wireless providers.

Arguing that it is the non-competitive nature of the market that permits such activity, the Times concludes:

It is hugely profitable for companies to segregate voice, data and text into different plans and to force customers to buy a different plan for each device, like a phone or a tablet. But, on today’s networks, segregating services makes little sense technologically. This expensive segregation would be more difficult to maintain if the market were truly competitive and consumers could easily switch from one company to another that offers a better deal.

The regulatory outlook is not promising. The F.C.C. has shied away from asserting that voice and data moving on wireless networks are the same thing, which would allow it to apply its greater authority over phones to broadband access services. But it could curtail high early-termination fees on phone contracts, which are subject to more intense regulation. This would increase competition by making it easier for customers to change carriers.

If Congress allows the F.C.C. to reallocate television broadcasters’ unused spectrum and auction it for wireless broadband, the F.C.C. could set rules to ensure that the spectrum is available to more competitors. Perhaps the most effective path would be for the F.C.C. to declare broadband access to be a telecommunication service over which it has more control. Without action, consumers are stuck with a deregulated, less-than-competitive market.