Commentary By Paul S. Maxwell Kevin’s Stealth Tax? Oh. Now I get it. Kevin Martin and his band at the Federal Confusion Commission either: 1) Never read (or understood) David Hume. Or… 2) Crafted a diabolically clever methodology to stealthily compel a la carte on the cable industry (NOT, of course, satellite or telco video providers) by forcing operators to raise rates across the board to cover federally-mandated, more expensive set-top boxes—thus inciting (or hoping to incite) riots by newly taxed subscribers forced to subsidize the FCC‘s folly! Wonder which version is the truth? I’m pretty sure it is the former; the latter would require too much thought… so we’re adrift in the regulatory world of unintended consequences. Random Notes:

  • Any Presidential Cable Candidates? Read through Barron‘s (07/02) assessment, from it’s own bias, of the major Presidential candidates (in order of choice – R: Romney, Giuliani, McCain and D: Richardson, Obama, Clinton, Dodd, Biden, Edwards) ranking them from a putative investors point of view… that is, what’s best for the stock market (I suppose). Brought to mind the conundrum of ’00: Bush v. Gore. Just couldn’t bring myself to pull the Gore lever (tsk, tsk… but Gore flat out lied, on the Senate floor, to some cable executives, tough to forgive… but, on second thought, given the experiment in one party hubris coupled with astonishing incompetence…). Just means that—while it will be worth it to delve into the candidate positions—deciding from a cable perspective alone ain’t the right way to cast a vote.
  • Waiver… Time To Re-File: Here’s how to get that waiver you wanted from the Federal Confusion Commission… first, change your name… seems the way to get the waiver is be a "telecommunications" or "telephone" company. So, Comcast can be Universal Telecomcast (or SBC?); Time Warner can be Frontier (back to the future? Or split itself an be PacBell/NyNex both at the same time?); Cox could be Tele-South (or BellSouth?)… lots of now un-used names around to invoke… no need to hire a logo/naming consultant… FCC won’t notice.
  • List It! On Mark Cuban‘s blog a few weeks ago, he was asking folks to submit ideas for a TV show… something unique. I was tempted to submit: 5 bad blog ideas… but didn’t. Turns out I should have… according to (, making lists is the best TV show idea… 5 best C-SPAN interviews? 5 best NFLGame Body Blows? (Oops, that’s been done). Make up your own…
  • A Cable Beer? A micro-brewery in Nebraska, SchillingBridge Winery & MicroBrewery, has launched Git-R-Done lager in "honor" of Larry the Cable Guy (aka Dan Whitney). Just another product getting launched—ort of like TiVo, Agile and SlingBox —that should’ve been a cable company project? Save a cold one for me.
  • CTAM in DC! To the swamp, everyone! Not just any swamp, but the over-arching national one! DC in July. Can’t wait to compare the humidity there to that I experienced in the upper Amazon basin! Still, good program and a can’t miss event.
  • Better Venue! The NCTC and the ACA co-host The Independent Show the week after CTAM in DC… smart move: Monterey, California. I once spent nine months there at the Defense Language Institute living in a BOQ above Canary Row… looking forward to returning. Of course, I was in the American Army, so after learning Russian, I promptly headed for South Vietnam.

The Daily



Tom Whitaker has exited Shentel after more than 16 years with the company. His tenure included serving as svp, fiber operations, where he helped stand up the new FTTH Glo Fiber brand. He’s joined rural utility association NRTC as vp, member operations. — Fiber provider Consolidated Communications promoted Greg Flanagan to vp, carrier sales and […]

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