Capital Letters

Investing In Title II

Web site takes 'stock' of Title II 11/15/2014 8:00 AM

Who says Title II will discourage investment? Web site Predictit.com is now trading in shares of "will the FCC reclassify Title II" by year's end ("sort of" stock symbol 2014.FCC.NEUTRALITY). Currently a "yes" share costs 40 cents, which would get you a dollar if "yes' is the winner.

 

Billed as "as an experimental research and educational facility of Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, the site allows someone to pose a question and put up a sum on the likelihood of the answer being yes. There is also a deadline. So, for example, if someone says they are 40% sure the FCC will reclassify Internet access under Title II by Dec. 31, as someone has, they put up 40 cents. If there is at least one person willing to put up 60 cents that it will not--the totals always need to add up to $1, then the site will launch a market.

 

Shareholders can stay in until the end, or they can get out if the price goes up--someone willing to risk 50 cents, instead of 40, that the answer will be yes, might cause the shareholder at 40 cents to exit and pocket the 10 cents.

 

At press time, "Will the FCC reclassify Internet access under Title II of the Telecom Act?" by Dec. 31 had a total of 95 shares outstanding, with the odds on yes at 40%, though it had been as high as 50%.

 

After Dec. 31, if the FCC reclassifies, "yes" shares pay a dollar and "no's" zero. If it doesn't, "no's" get the dollar and "yes's" get the goose egg.

 

For the 'yes" contingent to win, the FCC has to:

 

"Publish a final rule classifying wired and/or wireless broadband internet access service (or the telecommunications component service thereof) as a “telecommunications service” under Title II of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

 

"The Question will resolve to “Yes” if such a final rule is published prior to the End Date, regardless of the timing of the rule’s implementation or enforcement. Publication of related Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) or additional regulatory actions other than final rule publication will be insufficient to resolve the question."

 

Few people, including at least one top Wheeler aide, are now looking for a vote by the end of December. Tim Wu, for instance, who came up with the term network neutrality, was thinking spring-ish 2015.