Wondering about the impact of President Trump on the telecoms? Join the club!
I just woke up to find that not only is President Trump on the cards, but it is now a close certainty. In a “Brexit-style… Why were the polls so wrong.. Didn’t see that coming moment, President Trump is looking like a forgone conclusion.
While we are hardly qualified to discuss how a Trump presidency will effect world stability, trade, etc.. it’s as good a time as any to take a closer look at the impact on the telecoms market.
President Trump on Net Neutrality
As we have previously mentioned (here), President Trump is not a big fan of Net Neutrality. He thinks it will lead to the censorship of conservative media. “Obama’s attack on the internet is another top down power grab. Net neutrality is the Fairness Doctrine. Will target conservative media,” from a 2014 tweet.
While Trump may not have given a whole lot of consideration to Net Neutrality during the campaign, this seems like at least one policy area that a President Trump and the Republican are in stride.
The current FCC chairman, Tom Wheeler has had tremendous support from the Obama White House. Chairman Wheeler’s term doesn’t officially expire until 2018. While it is customary for the FCC chairman to step down when a new president comes into office, there is specifically no legal requirement to do so. We could have Wheeler hanging around as a thorn in President Trump’s side, but it’s hard to see how long this type of situation would continue.
Chairman Wheeler hasn’t made a commitment either way yet. He told Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune earlier in the year “I understand precedent,” Wheeler said. “I understand expectations. I also understand that 10 or 11 months is a long time. So it’s probably not the wisest thing in the world to do to make some kind of ironclad commitment, but I understand the point you’re making.”
Once Wheeler is replaced with a Republican candidate, the balance of power in the FCC shifts and Net Neutrality may become a thing of the past.
President Trump on Telecoms/Media consolidation
Trump said he would block the AT&T Inc.-Time Warner Inc. tie-up if he becomes president, arguing that such media combinations leave too much power concentrated among too few companies.
“As an example of the power structure I’m fighting, AT&T is buying Time Warner and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few,” Trump said
Trump also suggested he would favor a breakup of NBC and Comcast Corp., a merger completed in 2013. Such deals, he said, are “poison” to democracy and result in companies “telling the voters what to think and what to do.”
President Trump on US Internet transition plan
The opposition to the Internet transition plan is concerned that once the US government gives up its oversight over the Internet domain name system, it will fall in the wrong hands. All sorts of bad people will be able to control the domain name system.
Congress should block the handover, scheduled to occur on Oct. 1, “or internet freedom will be lost for good, since there will be no way to make it great again once it is lost,” Stephen Miller, national policy director for the Trump campaign, said in a statement.