Restricting Your Right to Superlatives: Anna Eshoo and the FCC

A California Democrat is seeking to expand the bureaucracy of the FCC in order to protect Americans from dropped calls. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) proposes making regulations that would mandate phone companies to “accurately” inform customers about the specifics of their advertised “high” or “lightning-fast” network speeds. Additionally, the bill would enforce minimum data speeds upon networks regardless of the many factors affecting performance at any given time. In Eshoo’s shortsighted crusade against cell phone frustration, she ignores the costly burden of these new requirements, which will only inhibit business and slow innovation in a sector packed with potential to advance. Ultimately, isn’t it the customer’s job to do adequate research into a product before buying it? I suppose someone had one too many dropped calls and is out for revenge.

Eshoo’s logic is downright silly. If she is going to attack a blatantly subjective advertising tactic used by phone companies and every other business in the world, then she might as well investigate whether neighborhood pizza shops accurately represent their pizza when they claim it is “best in the world,” whether action figures are truly “loads of fun” as the brands say in the commercials, or whether Lucky Charms are actually “magically delicious.”

Perhaps the most disturbing part of the proposal, however, is the section that seems to call for price controls, as Politico reports that the bill “would also require the Federal Communications Commission to evaluate the speed and price of high-speed wireless data service.” I’ll bet Ms. Eshoo thinks that people are slaves to the phone companies too… who are incapable of changing providers if they feel one has misrepresented its product.