Why the FCC should look at Robust Broadband Competition as the Final Answer

Expert Opinion, National Broadband Plan November 24th, 2009

, Expert Opinion, BroadbandBreakfast.com

It goes without saying that the FCC has a daunting task of rule making when it comes to filling the needs of Broadband Access for Americans in 2010. Therefore it comes to mind, when the Federal Agency is through taking comments on Net Neutrality, The Universal Service Fund, Broadband Adoption, Broadband Access, and Spectrum Allocation, commissioners should consider a mere simplistic and underlying fact of the success of our economy in the past, in best serving its current purpose.

Robust competition, as stated by both Commissioners Mignon Clyburn (Democrat) and Meredith Attwell Baker (Republican) back in July 2009, within the marketplace has served the U.S. well to eliminate most of the ills associated with economic affordability, adoption, and therefore access to the masses of both innovative, and quality products and services Americans enjoy today, and the Internet should be not any different. However, dubbing one-self a (broadband opinion-ator) can be risky, and suggestions to the complex issues facing the current broadband marketplace woes could be deemed as too simple, but here they lie:

Create and incent a competitive broadband environment to reach all markets, large and small.

Incent companies to build and upgrade infrastructure and content thereby creating new jobs.

Use the Universal Service Fund to incent broadband providers in rural and non-competitive markets.

Incent companies to partner with government to educate the public on Broadband Adoption.

For instance, the current Universal Service Fund, mentioned by FCC Chairman Genachowski in an interview with C-SPAN, was created to incent Telco’s to build out infrastructure which has helped with the adoption and access to telephone service. Now, this model is woefully outdated and should be redirected to Broadband Access in creating the necessary incentives for companies to move faster in upgrading and building new networks in all communities, not just highly populated metro centers. The FCC must know that while some larger markets have enjoyed competition in broadband networks, most communities do not have such competitiveness, thereby severely limiting their options.

Companies are not going to heavily invest in markets where the status quo or lack of serious competition exists, and there is no justification for ROI. Their monies are going to be concentrated in markets where competition does exist, or risk losing market share, and these markets are primarily in more affluent and high population centers. They will innovate and add new services in these markets, and related consumers will benefit from again, robust competition. So, the mantra of the FCC should be Robust Competition, and its tools of the trade should be the creation of a business environment to propagate that mantra in all markets.

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