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ICLE on the ACP, BEAD in the Spotlight, Small Steps Toward Ending the Spectrum Impasse

School’s back in session and the Telecom Hootenanny is heating up. We’ve got a hot-off-the-presses issue brief on the ACP, more BEAD agonistes, and…



School’s back in session and the Telecom Hootenanny is heating up. We’ve got a hot-off-the-presses issue brief on the ACP, more BEAD agonistes, and the latest on spectrum auctions.

The Affordable Connectivity Program: ‘Good Enough’ to Keep Funding

In a new International Center for Law & Economics (ICLE) issue brief, Kristian Stout and I examine the $14 billion Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and consumer broadband subsidies more broadly. We conclude that the ACP—warts and all—is a much better policy than other alternatives, such as direct rate regulation or municipal broadband. Thus, we argue, the ACP should continue and continue to be funded, with some straightforward adjustments. 

First, we found that more than 93% of U.S. households use the internet at home. Of those who don’t, two-thirds say they have access, but have not adopted at-home internet. Due to what appears to be inelastic demand among non-adopters, the ACP has faced difficulties in stimulating sufficient interest among some segments of the remaining unconnected households that could access the internet, but fail to take up service.

To be fair, however, the ACP’s subsidies appear to have successfully enabled already-subscribed households to maintain at-home internet service through the COVID-19 pandemic, thereby proving effective at allowing economically vulnerable inframarginal consumers to remain connected.

Second, we note that the ACP’s eligibility rules are quite broad. For example, if a child is enrolled in Medicaid or qualifies for free or reduced lunch at school—regardless of household income—then the child’s household would be eligible for ACP. It is estimated that approximately 40% of U.S. households are eligible for the program.

Third, while it’s relatively easy to qualify for the ACP, it’s also relatively difficult to enroll. At least two-thirds of eligible households do not participate in the ACP. Unawareness of the ACP is a significant factor driving the low uptake rate. A survey of ACP-eligible households reports that 53% of respondents had either never heard of the program or had heard of it, but didn’t know anything about it.

The ACP’s current enrollment process is cumbersome and confusing for both consumers and providers. Consumers have to apply for the program through a website or a mail-in application, verify their eligibility through various documents or databases, and contact a participating provider to select a service plan. Some providers may have an alternative application that they ask consumers to complete. Providers have to verify customers’ eligibility through a national verifier system, report data on their enrollments and reimbursements, and comply with various rules and requirements. These complexities create barriers and inefficiencies for both parties.

Based on these observations, we offer three recommended adjustments to the ACP

  1. Design eligibility criteria to target low-income non-adopters and vulnerable infra-marginal households. 
  2. Provide targeted outreach to increase awareness among eligible households.
  3. Reduce enrollment complexities.

These reforms would make the ACP more efficient and effective. They would likely reduce the program’s costs, thereby allowing more of the appropriated funds to be directed toward the households the program is intended to help.

The BEAD Pile-On Continues

They say money can’t buy happiness and that seems to be the case with the $42.45 billion Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program. 

States are complaining about the program’s “fiber-above-all” preference and its Buy American requirements. Industry associations and digital-equity advocates have jointly signed a letter urging alternatives to the BEAD program’s letter-of-credit requirement.

Now, Congress is joining the airing of grievances. Last week, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee’s Republicans, under Ranking Member Ted Cruz (R-Texas), released a report on the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) allocation of funds under BEAD. In announcing the report, the committee minority echoed concerns previously raised by Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) and several other Republican senators:

[T]he administration has layered requirements that will drive up overall program costs, burn through funding, and could in turn leave significant numbers of unserved Americans without access. Specifically, Biden administration rules are heavily biased towards expensive fiber projects and discourage alternative more cost-effective technologies like high-speed satellite. This bias becomes even more concerning since some areas set to be funded include beachfront properties, mountain vacation homes, and remote islands, as well as Delaware’s own Biden Environmental Training Center.

The committee seems especially irked at the District of Columbia’s allocation. According to NTIA, the city has 184 locations “unserved” by broadband and will receive more than $100 million in BEAD funding, or nearly $550,000 per location. Moreover, the report points out that one-third of these locations are inside the National Zoo. To bring the point home, the report includes some photos of web-surfing zoo animals to demonstrate that the zoo is already connected. (As an aside: when you’re being hunted by foxes, the digital divide is probably not your first priority.)

BEAD is a gusher of funding that can be helpful to bring high-speed internet access to unserved populations. But it’s experiencing enormous hiccups and headaches, and there is a real risk that it will not deliver.

Is the Spectrum-Auction Hostage Crisis Coming to an End?

In March, Congress allowed the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) spectrum-auction authority to lapse for the first time since it was granted to the commission in 1994. Last summer, T-Mobile paid $304 million for 7,156 licenses of 2.5 GHz spectrum. But the FCC claims that it cannot issue licenses for the 2.5 GHz spectrum to T-Mobile until its auction authority is reinstated.

Some have speculated that T-Mobile licenses are being held hostage by the FCC to encourage Congress to renew the agency’s auction authority. (We’ve argued elsewhere that Congress should renew the FCC’s auction authority.)

Last week, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) took a small step in that direction, filing a bill to grant the FCC explicit authority to issue 2.5 GHz licenses to T-Mobile. 

There’s a lot more telecom happenings to come this fall: digital discrimination, Universal Service Fund rates, low-Earth orbit satellites, and artificial intelligence. It’s hootenanny season.

The post ICLE on the ACP, BEAD in the Spotlight, Small Steps Toward Ending the Spectrum Impasse appeared first on Truth on the Market.

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Trans To Be Banned From Female Hospital Wards In UK

Trans To Be Banned From Female Hospital Wards In UK

Authored by Steve Watson via Summit News,

The UK Health Secretary is to issue a proposal…



Trans To Be Banned From Female Hospital Wards In UK

Authored by Steve Watson via Summit News,

The UK Health Secretary is to issue a proposal to ban trans patients from female hospital wards in the UK, as well as reinstating ‘sex specific’ language in National Health Service materials, according to reports.

The Daily Mail reports that “Steve Barclay will unveil the plans to push back against ‘wokery’ in the health service amid concerns that women’s rights are being sidelined.”

The proposal would see only people of the same biological sex sharing wards, with care coming from doctors and nurses of the same sex, when it comes to intimate health matters.

“We need a common-sense approach to sex and equality issues in the NHS. That is why I am announcing proposals for clearer rights for patients,” Barlcay stated, adding “It is vital that women’s voices are heard in the NHS and the privacy, dignity and safety of all patients are protected.”

He added “And I can confirm that sex-specific language has now been fully restored to online health advice pages about cervical and ovarian cancer and the menopause.”

As we previously highlighted, the word ‘women’ was removed from such materials and replaced with non-gendered terms to be “more inclusive”:

A source close to the Health Secretary told the Telegraph that “The Secretary of State is fed up with this agenda and the damage it’s causing, language like “chestfeeding”, talking about pregnant “people” rather than women. It exasperates the majority of people, and he is determined to take action.”

“He is concerned that women’s voices should be heard on healthcare and that too often wokery and ideological dogma is getting in the way of this,” the source added.


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Tyler Durden Wed, 10/04/2023 - 05:00

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Sweden’s Deadly Gun Violence

Sweden’s Deadly Gun Violence

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson is calling on the military to assist the police with tackling the rise…



Sweden's Deadly Gun Violence

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson is calling on the military to assist the police with tackling the rise in gang-related violence in the country, as fatal shootings and bombings claimed the lives of 12 people last month.

As Statista's Anna Fleck reports, in the latest move, the Swedish government said on Friday that it would authorize future military assistance to the police, following a meeting between Krisstersson and the heads of both forces on how to reduce violence from organized criminal gangs. It is not yet clear exactly which duties the military will take on.

"The wave of violence is unprecedented in Sweden, but it is also unprecedented in Europe, no other country has a situation like the one we have," Kristersson commented in a televised speech.

"The police cannot do all the work themselves."

According to the Swedish Police Authority's annual reports, last year a total of 62 people were killed by gunfire, marking the deadliest year for shootings since the authorities started publishing data in late 2016.

You will find more infographics at Statista

A total of 11 people were fatally shot last month alone, in addition to one person who died in a bomb blast. These 11 bring the death toll by firearms to 42 in 2023, a figure that may rise further yet with three months left until the end of the year.

September marks the second deadliest month on record for gun crime in Sweden, following only after December 2019 when 12 people were shot and killed.

Tyler Durden Wed, 10/04/2023 - 04:15

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Which New World Order Are We Talking About?

Which New World Order Are We Talking About?

Authored by Jeff Thomas via,

Those of us who are libertarians have a tendency…



Which New World Order Are We Talking About?

Authored by Jeff Thomas via,

Those of us who are libertarians have a tendency to speak frequently of “the New World Order.”

When doing so, we tend to be a bit unclear as to what the New World Order is.

Is it a cabal of the heads of the world’s governments, or just the heads of Western governments?

Certainly bankers are included somewhere in the mix, but is it just the heads of the Federal Reserve and the IMF, or does it also include the heads of JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, etc.?

And how about the Rothschilds? And the Bundesbank—surely, they’re in there, too?

And the list goes on, without apparent end.

Certainly, all of the above entities have objectives to increase their own power and profit in the world, but to what degree do they act in concert? Although many prominent individuals, world leaders included, have proclaimed that a New World Order is their ultimate objective, the details of who’s in and who’s out are fuzzy. Just as fuzzy is a list of details as to the collective objectives of these disparate individuals and groups.

So, whilst most libertarians acknowledge “the New World Order,” it’s rare that any two libertarians can agree on exactly what it is or who it’s comprised of. We allow ourselves the luxury of referring to it without being certain of its details, because, “It’s a secret society,” as evidenced by the Bilderberg Group, which meets annually but has no formal agenda and publishes no minutes. We excuse ourselves for having only a vague perception of it, although we readily accept that it’s the most powerful group in the world.

This is particularly true of Americans, as Americans often imagine that the New World Order is an American construct, created by a fascist elite of US bankers and political leaders. The New World Order may be better understood by Europeans, as, actually, it’s very much a European concept—one that’s been around for quite a long time.

It may be said to have had its beginnings in ancient Rome. As Rome became an empire, its various emperors found that conquered lands did not automatically remain conquered. They needed to be managed—a costly and tedious undertaking. Management was far from uniform, as the Gauls could not be managed in the same manner as the Egyptians, who in turn, could not be managed like the Mesopotamians.

After the fall of Rome, Europe was in many ways a shambles for centuries, but the idea of “managing” Europe was revived with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The peace brought an end to the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) in the Holy Roman Empire and the Eighty Years’ War (1568-1648) between Spain and the Dutch Republic. It brought together the Holy Roman Empire, The House of Habsburg, the Kingdoms of Spain and France, the Dutch Republic, and the Swedish Empire.

Boundaries were set, treaties were signed, and a general set of assumptions as to the autonomy within one’s borders were agreed, to the partial satisfaction of all and to the complete satisfaction of no one… Sound familiar?

Later, Mayer Rothschild made his name (and his fortune) by becoming the financier to the military adventures of the German Government. He then sent his sons out to England, Austria, France, and Italy to do the same—to create a New World Order of sorts, under the control of his family through national debt to his banks. (Deep Throat was right when he said, “Follow the Money.”)

So, the concept of a New World Order has long existed in Europe in various guises, but what does this tell us about the present and, more important, the future?

In our own time, we have seen presidents and prime ministers come and go, whilst their most prominent advisors, such as Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski, continue from one administration to the next, remaining advisors for decades. Such men are often seen as the voices of reason that may be the guiding force that brings about a New World Order once and for all.

Mister Brzezinski has written in his books that order in Europe depends upon a balance with Russia, which must be created through the control of Ukraine by the West. He has stated repeatedly that it’s critical for this to be done through diplomacy, that warfare would be a disaster. Yet, he has also supported the US in creating a coup in Ukraine. When Russia became angered at the takeover, he openly supported American aggression in Ukraine, whilst warning that Russian retaliation must not be tolerated.

Henry Kissinger, who has literally written volumes on his “pursuit of world peace” has, when down in the trenches, also displayed a far more aggressive personality, such as his angry recommendation to US President Gerald Ford to “smash Cuba” when Fidel Castro’s military aid to Angola threatened to ruin Mr. Kissinger’s plans to control Africa.

Whilst the most “enlightened” New World Order advisors may believe that they are working on the “Big Picture,” when it comes down to brass tacks, they clearly demonstrate the same tendency as the more aggressive world leaders, and reveal that, ultimately, they seek to dominate. They may initially recommend diplomacy but resort to force if the other side does not cave to “reason” quickly.

If we stand back and observe this drama from a distance, what we see is a theory of balance between the nations of Europe (and, by extension, the whole world)—a balance based upon intergovernmental agreements, allowing for centralised power and control.

This theory might actually be possible if all the countries of the world were identical in every way, and the goals of all concerned were also identical. But this never has been and can never be the case. Every world leader and every country will differ in its needs and objectives. Therefore, each may tentatively agree to common conditions, as they have going back to the Peace of Westphalia, yet, even before the ink has dried, each state will already be planning to gain an edge on the others.

In 1914, Europe had (once again) become a tangle of aspirations of the various powers—a time bomb, awaiting only a minor incident to set it off. That minor incident occurred when a Serbian national assassinated an Austrian crown prince. Within a month, Europe exploded into World War. As Kissinger himself has observed in his writings, “[T]hey all contributed to it, oblivious to the fact that they were dismantling an international order.”

Since 1648, for every Richelieu that has sought to create a New World Order through diplomacy, there has been a Napoleon who has taken a militaristic approach, assuring that the New World Order applecart will repeatedly be upset by those who are prone to aggression.

Further, even those who seek to operate through diplomacy ultimately will seek aggressive means when diplomatic means are not succeeding.

A true world order is unlikely.

What may occur in its stead would be repeated attempts by sovereign states to form alliances for their mutual benefit, followed by treachery, one- upmanship, and ultimately, aggression. And very possibly a new World War.

But of one thing we can be certain: Tension at present is as great as it was in 1914. We are awaiting only a minor incident to set off dramatically increased international aggression. With all the talk that’s presently about as to a New World Order, what I believe will occur instead will be a repeat of history.

If this belief is correct, much of the world will decline into not only external warfare, but internal control. Those nations that are now ramping up into police states are most at risk, as the intent is already clearly present. All that’s needed is a greater excuse to increase internal controls. Each of us, unless we favour being engulfed by such controls, might be advised to internationalise ourselves—to diversify ourselves so that, if push comes to shove, we’re able to get ourselves and our families out of harm’s way.

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Unfortunately, there’s little any individual can practically do to change the course of these trends in motion. The best you can and should do is to stay informed so that you can protect yourself in the best way possible, and even profit from the situation. That’s precisely why bestselling author Doug Casey just released Surviving and Thriving During an Economic Collapse an urgent new PDF report. It explains what could come next and what you can do about it so you don’t become a victim. Click here to download it now.

Tyler Durden Wed, 10/04/2023 - 03:30

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