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Don’t Sign Consumer Reports Petition

I use Consumer Reports, and have been a faithful subscriber for years. I use them to show me evaluations on cars, appliances, and the like. But today they introduced a petition that was made out of political belief, and not, as they are known for, tested facts. It was so brazen I responded both to them and the FCC Commissioners who are taking rapid fire steps under the new Democrat controlled Federal Communications Commission.

So if you want to know how I try to protect you, fight the increasing draconian entrance into the Broadband (Internet) industry, here is a copy of the letter I sent to them. Just so you know the frustrations us small business Internet providers are having to face as companies, who took no government dollars from the taxpayers, are being told how to run our businesses, and adding rules and fees with the intent to raise the cost of your Internet. We’re fighting them every step of the way. Here’s my letter:

Greetings FCC Commissioners,

The Consumers Reports organization, people I trust with tested recommendations for things like cars and my stove, just put out an ignorant proposed petition to present to you.  Their headline proclaimed:

High fees, low speeds: Let’s hold internet providers accountable!

I realize you have to dance the line of how legacy Internet providers, who built the current Internet are under constant attack by those on the left who set a goal, then expect it to magically appear moments later. Like electric cars being mandated, with almost no charging stations, the Internet is no different ‘fiber everywhere’ when it’s not feasible, necessary at gigabit speeds, and the costs dramatically increased under the NTIA’s social agenda of adding Prevailing Wage (30% HIGHER COST), Open Access, etc., Etc., doing everything they can to discourage anyone from taking the money.

Us Legacy Broadband providers, mostly small town rural companies, build our networks to match the content growth, and while some content providers don’t play fair like Microsoft, Disney, Amazon, who won’t condense their video requirements, immediately causing all rural providers to buffer, while Netflix style providers condense their video so it works on as little as a 5mbps connection, we are keeping up with growth, at no cost to the taxpayer via the many funds you folks push.

Obviously we see the FCC as a threat to the Internet, not a helper, and your constant preference to rebuilding the slow acting phone companies, while trying to drag our Broadband industry under their oppressive draconian rules, and fees are not helping at all!  I’ve ran Internet in the FCC only wants the big telecoms to succeed, you have gone out of your way to never make enough spectrum available to us to widen our available frequencies and offer 100/25 and more easily, selling the Fixed Wireless industry down the river, while encouraging telcos to get into the Fixed Wireless business with secure spectrum rules you would never give to us. Now the left dreamers are just saying to make the minimum speeds 1gbps.  I’m sure glad I don’t live in the bubble you live in.  Symmetrical is also a goal unsupported by any real life usage statistics, but what do facts matter?

Anyway here is the email I sent to Consumer Reports about their petition, The quotation is the verbiage from their petition, non-quotes are my in-line rebuttals:

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I am highly insulted by Angel Han’s (CR Author pushing a petition based on nothing but false facts.  Her assessment of the Internet has no merits:

PETITION TO THE FCC

“Broadband is an essential service, and we urge the FCC to set strong rules to require broadband providers treat all internet traffic the same.”

There has not been one example, except by a Telephone company who attempted it but was slapped down by the Broadband industry to not treat traffic the same.  Of course the content providers do mess with prioritization but that’s a different industry than Broadband, and “strong” rules would make no difference, that’s the purview of the FTC, not the FCC.

“and protect consumers from anti-competitive practices that include website blocking, throttling of internet speeds, and paid prioritization.

Again, that doesn’t happen, what Internet company would want the headache of customers calling to say they can’t get the Internet they want.  Perhaps you’re confusing us with the TV industry who restricts channels during negotiations over content.  AGAIN, not the broadband industry.  And what rule would the FCC make to require that content must be available for free, which is what you are stating, don’t they deserve to make a profit?

“We also urge you to ensure the rules address internet security and public safety, so the FCC can require companies to take the necessary step to prevent internet outages.”

You just don’t understand how the Internet works, security is already an effort underway, although end customers should still purchase protection software for their computers. So what does Public Safety have to do with the Internet?  Are they somehow not getting open access? Of course they are! Lastly there are already reporting requirements for Internet outages.  I should note that most internet outages are caused by customers playing with their equipment, not the ISP.

So you are putting the power of Consumer Reports in the hands of someone who has no clue what she’s talking about. Definitely lowering the bar for what you call looking out for the consumer.  What next, “net neutrality”?  I could give you pages as to why that’s just an attempt to slow down the growth of the Internet by liberals who think we should be regulated with the high standard of ‘just because’.  

The bottom line is the Broadband industry has given no reason or a need for these heavy handed rules.  Light touch regulations is why the Internet grew this fast!  Efforts like yours will simply slow down the growth of the Internet, cause the FCC to add all of those fees that they already do for telephone companies, and in the end Consumer Reports helped to increase the cost of the Internet, driving it out of affordability for average citizens.  Sure not looking out for the consumer there, that’s for sure!

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Commissioner Gomez recently said she wanted to hear from the small ISP, well, here you are, I have 3000 customers and have built 70 miles of very rural fiber to the home.  I have accepted I won’t get federal funding because USF goes only to phone companies, and NTIA is only for the government to overbuild us.  So I spend a million of my own dollars yearly, funded by my Fixed Wireless Network to build about 30 miles a year with no cost to the taxpayer.  I’d say my business model is worth featuring as a way to not cost taxpayers money, but that’s not very popular in the bubble of D.C., so we’ll just keep fighting the overbuilding you are promoting through conflicting funds, and favoritism to your friends in the phone companies, and government.  I’m sure you’ll eventually kill the choice of local competition once you’ve dragged us under the Telecommunications rename.

I’ll be at the State of the Net event in February, I would enjoy a few minutes of your time if you so choose.
Have a nice day,
Forbes Mercy
President – Washington Broadband, INC

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