Saturday, March 01, 2008

FCC Petition

If it is Larry Fuss' intention to prevent fraud (as in false advertising by cell phone companies) or to obtain remedy for injury suffered due to fraud, then I agree with him. The proper role of government is to enforce contracts, and as a colleague of mine pointed out, fraud is a premeditated breach of contract. But Mr. Fuss' petition is not about addressing fraud; it is about forcing cell phone companies to apply their domestic long distance rates to American Samoa , which is not the proper role of government.

The only reasons that Mr. Fuss offers up as justification for all of this are that American Samoa is now part of NANP and that the FCC has succeeded in mandating domestic rates on landlines. I would think a lot of factors came into play as to why the FCC left cell phone companies out from their original mandate on domestic rates and as to why cell phone companies are willing to apply their domestic rates to Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands but not to American Samoa.

Are the markets more profitable in those territories compared to our own? Is it because we don't have fiber optic cable? Is it because communication through satellite is cost prohibitive? How do wireless transaction costs compare to landlines? Is it more expensive? Has ASTCA invested in the necessary infrastructure to support the integration of cell phone companies' domestic rate schedule? Are these questions even significant? I'm no telecommunications expert, but I'm inclined to believe that the free market is in the best position to answer these kind of questions.

Mr. Fuss did an excellent job of ripping into my hyperbole where I exaggerated the need for the FCC to investigate radio advertising in American Samoa. I'll take his word that "the cost per listener on radio stations in American Samoa is much lower than that charged on the mainland", although I wished he provided us with some figures or references. The point I was trying to make was that it's pretty much in the "left field" that this kind of stuff is even brought up for discussion in the first place.

Why should businesses have to justify their costs to some bureaucrat in the FCC or to the public before they can price their property?

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