Wireless Incentive Auction ‘Surprises Activists, Suggests More Humility’

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By Bret Swason
American Enterprise Institute


The certitude of many technology activists and self-styled experts is amusing. They told us, for example, that if the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) didn’t change course in 2015 and apply the old Title II telephone rules to the internet, the digital economy wouldn’t survive. Now they tell us that if the new FCC leadership sweeps Title II to the side and restores the previous, highly successful light-touch rules, the free and open internet will collapse. The theory is that a few powerful gatekeepers might someday block consumers from digital content or block content producers from their customers.

The arena’s dynamism and competitiveness, however, keeps proving these warnings overwrought. The recent wireless spectrum auction, which just concluded in April, offers a good example of such failed certitude.

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