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Title II Forbearance slips

By 28 May 2010 11 Comments

Chairman Genachowski has said only 6 sections of the Title II regulations will be applied to broadband and this would give “confidence and certainty that this renunciation of regulatory overreach will not unravel…

Yesterday, the FCC reached just a little further and 6 sections became 7

“According to sources, the Federal Communications Commission will add a seventh section to the Title II regulations it plans to apply to broadband transmission, one that requires it to report to Congress about possible barriers to minorities and women.”

As MMTC president David Honig said, “the decision on what is to be forborn or not forborn is a moving target”, especially as the Agency changes over time.  I think we’ve seen this movie before

“And that’s it and that’s the only thing I need, is this. I don’t need this or this. Just this ashtray.

And this paddle game, the ashtray and the paddle game and that’s all I need.

And this remote control. The ashtray, the paddle game, and the remote control, and that’s all I need.

And these matches. The ashtray, and these matches, and the remote control and the paddle ball.

And this lamp. The ashtray, this paddle game and the remote control and the lamp and that’s all I need. And that’s all I need too.

I don’t need one other thing, not one – I need this. The paddle game, and the chair, and the remote control, and the matches, for sure. And this. And that’s all I need.

The ashtray, the remote control, the paddle game, this magazine and the chair.”

– Steve Martin


  • Brett Glass said:

    Interestingly, the Google lobbying group Public Knowledge is likewise asking the FCC to forbear from less than originally stated and to make provisions to undo that forbearance in the future. In its ex parte memo at


    the group urges the FCC to “address the feasiblity of ‘undoing’ forbearance.” In short, despite having praised Julius Genachowski’s “third way,” it now admits that what it really wants is to get the camel’s nose into the tent so that any and all regulation of the Internet becomes fair game.

  • Jon Henke (author) said:

    Public Knowledge has long wanted much more aggressive regulatory actions possible under Title II. So this doesn’t seem like much of a shift for them.

    But is the “Google lobbying group” stuff really necessary? I think Public Knowledge is pretty open about what they think and where they get their money. If they agree with Google on some things…so what? They also disagree with Google on some things (they opposed the Google book settlement, if I recall correctly).

    It’s much more interesting to debate policy. To date, I’ve found them all to be interesting, thoughtful and smart people. I’d rather start with that premise and debate ideas from there.

  • Brett Glass said:

    Actually, John, it’s a shift for them — bait and switch. They started out praising the Chairman’s plan EXACTLY AS PROPOSED, and now advocate “forbearing from forbearance.”

    As for PK’s association with Google: it’s quite blatant. Not only does it receive money directly from Google; it also receives free labor from it. (Google employees come to work in PK’s office for free every summer.) PK opposes copyright (it’s inconvenient for Google to have to pay to reproduce people’s work) and embraces Google’s “network neutrality” regulation ardently.

    Yes, PK came out against the Google Book Search settlement — the day after the DoJ shot it down (at which point PK’s position was moot). A not-so-subtle attempt to be able to say, “See? We disagreed with Google about something” — after it didn’t matter. And after prior discussion with their puppetmasters at Google.

    DC lobbyists are such slimeballs.

  • Nick Brown said:


    To be fair, and having been through the fellowship process myself, the Google Fellowship that sends summer interns to PK are not really Google “employees”. They are really the employees of the think tank. They are doing what the think tank wants them to do, it’s just that Google foots the bill for their internship/fellowship.
    Along with PK, Google also supplies fellows to CATO, Competitive Enterprise Institute, and Technology Policy Institute, all of which are generally more open to free market ideals and also generally find themselves the antithesis policy positions as PK.
    Don’t think that Google isn’t playing both sides.

    p.s. You are still a legend. :D

  • Brett Glass said:

    Legally, these people are Google’s employees. Just as a graduate student receiving a fellowship is legally the university’s employee. You will note, however, that the groups seldom report this in-kind contribution on their Forms 990, even though they are legally obliged to. (IRS oversight of tax exempt orgs is notoriously lax.)

    You are correct in noting that Google tries to sway some organizations which may not agree with it fully to go along with its agendas by sending these employees — a not-so-subtle bribe. (They may also be there to report back to Google on what’s going on inside, since they are required to write up reports on their activities.)

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