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Tags: Forbes | Dish | Network | villain

Steve Forbes: 'Dish Network's Abuse Enough to Make Dickensian Villain Squirm'

By    |   Thursday, 12 March 2015 08:20 AM EDT

You're probably well aware that Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief and chairman of Forbes Media, abhors unnecessary government regulation.
So you probably won't be surprised to learn that he's not so keen about companies abusing regulatory loopholes either. In this case, the company he's upset with is Dish Network.
Its "brazen abuse of the Federal Communications Commission's incentives for small businesses at a recent spectrum auction — to the tune of $3 billion, at taxpayers' expense — was enough to make even a Dickensian villain squirm," Forbes writes in the National Review.
In the auction, most companies deployed their own money to bid for the spectrum. But "using multiple shell companies to qualify for [small business] discounts, Dish Network effectively shaved off more than $3 billion in payments that otherwise would have been made to the government," Forbes explains.
The "designated entity" program offers "qualifying small companies a taxpayer-funded credit equal to 25 percent of the purchase price to help them compete against their larger counterparts when bidding for spectrum."
"One would have a hard time imagining a scenario in which Dish Network, valued at $35 billion, falls in with the Davids, not the Goliaths. Yet, that's exactly what the giant put over on federal regulators," he notes.
"After moves like these, it's no wonder Americans are losing faith in big business."
Also on the regulation front, former FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth, now a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, sees little good coming out of the agency's new rules to guarantee Internet neutrality.
The FCC will treat the Internet as a utility and forbid Internet service providers from charging content providers to speed up transmission of their content.
Legal challenges are likely. But, "those looking to the courts to protect the American consumer and Silicon Valley from the excesses of the FCC are likely to be disappointed," Furchtgott-Roth writes in an article for MarketWatch.
And the results won't be pretty, he says.
"The power of the FCC under network neutrality to regulate the Internet, if not constrained by judges, will be neither light nor lenient. Friends can be helped and enemies punished, but the discretion to use the power will reside in Washington, not Silicon Valley."
Before, Internet companies competed against each other for business with "better products, better services and better ideas," Furchtgott-Roth notes.
"Under the new Internet, one seeks to have a Washington bureaucracy hobble a rival. . . . Consumers are the collateral damage."

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You're probably well aware that Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief and chairman of Forbes Media, abhors unnecessary government regulation.
Forbes, Dish, Network, villain
Thursday, 12 March 2015 08:20 AM
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