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Cisco Chides Google Over FCC Proposal

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Not that there’s a potential conflict of interest or anything, but Cisco, or at least Mary Brown, Cisco’s Director of Technology and Spectrum Policy, sounds insulted by Google’s attempt to strong arm the FCC into imposing a certain set of rules on the upcoming spectrum auction.

Cisco Chides Google Over FCC Proposal
Cisco Chides Google Over FCC Proposal

It may be because FCC Chairman Kevin Martin made his proposal based on rules Cisco’s special interest group wrote three years ago, and Cisco feels that they’re fine the way they are. But it may also be that Cisco has a vested interest in making sure the telecoms get what they want, a point we’ll get to later.

At the Cisco High Tech Policy Blog, Brown denounces Google’s promise to bid a minimum of $4.6 billion on a third of the spectrum if the FCC puts four specific restrictions on it.

To understand just how breathtaking Google’s request is, consider this — the FCC has for many years performed extensive annual reviews of the wireless industry, and under administrations both Republican and Democrat, found the sector to be competitive. And consider this — just a few weeks ago, the Federal Trade Commission advised in an exhaustive report that there is no evidence of market failure that would warrant regulation, and no reason why existing enforcement mechanisms could not be engaged in the event a network provider engaged in future bad acts.

Well, the FCC and the FTC don’t seem to have consulted the average consumer, or any of the consumer coalitions out there, or perhaps themselves (I’m speculating) have government account phones and Internet service, which means they don’t have to haggle with them on a daily basis.

A broadband duopoly is not competition and if overcharging, preventing consumer freedom within the market, and preventing competition entry aren’t "bad acts," then maybe that should be spelled out for me.

And let’s not get into irresponsible use of taxpayer money and helping said government spy on US citizens. These industries have been bending us over for years.

But Cisco seems to think there’s plenty of competition.

CNNMoney’s Stephanie Mehta notes that Cisco "happens to be a major supplier to the incumbent telephone and cable companies who also are interested in bidding on the 700 Mhz spectrum. Also, if memory serves correctly, Cisco used to talk all the time about all the great ‘information’ and ‘context’ it provides the FCC in helping the agency do its business."

It would be a good idea for, when the pot calls the kettle, the pot to be less conspicuous in its motivations. 

Cisco Chides Google Over FCC Proposal
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  • Tom Coseven

    You say “FCC Chairman Kevin Martin made his proposal based on rules Cisco’s special interest group wrote three years ago.” Could you provide the link? I think you are refering to an HTBC filing, but I can’t find anything that looks even remotely like Martin’s proposal.

    • Jason Lee Miller

      both Mehta and Brown refer to the HTBC filing, but do not link to it.

      Here is a link to Martin’s recent report to the House:

      http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-275464A1.pdf

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