FCC wasting time and taxpayer money on Comcast

Summary:I have to wonder if funding a bureaucracy like the FCC, which first must approve a merger like Comcast's and then levies minor fines for minor infractions while making grand claims and paying out bureaucrats' salaries, is taxpayer money well spent.

Am I a bad person for thinking the FCC's $800,000 fine levied against Comcast is ridiculous?

When Comcast merged with NBCUniversal, the FCC had to approve the deal. A condition of the deal was that Comcast offer $49.95 a month internet-only service. Wow, great price. Turns out, Comcast was not very good about telling people about this option.  And, because people in general are not aware enough to ask, lots of people bought expensive cable packages on the assumption that it was the only way to get internet, or something like that.

So, now Comcast has to pay $800,000, which is nothing to Comcast, and continue to offer the not-a-bargain $49.95 a month internet-only package.

Here's the funny part: the FCC thinks this is the greatest US victory since World War II:

"Today’s action demonstrates that compliance with Commission orders is not optional," said FCC boss Julius Genachowski in a statement. "The remedies announced today will benefit consumers and foster competition, including from online video and satellite providers, by ensuring that standalone broadband is truly available in Comcast’s service areas."

Once again, I have to wonder if funding a bureaucracy like the FCC, which first must approve a merger like Comcast's and then levies minor fines for minor infractions while making grand claims and paying out bureaucrats' salaries, is taxpayer money well spent. When you see those IRS deductions on your paycheck, this is what they're paying for.

Topics: Government : US, Government

About

Steven Shaw used to be a litigation attorney at Cravath, Swaine &gMoore, a New York law firm, and is now the online community managergfor eGullet.org and the Director of New Media Studies at thegInternational Culinary Center.

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