CEI to FCC: Don’t Strangle Broadband Industry

D.C., June 9, 2009—The
Competitive Enterprise Institute this week filed
advising the Federal Communications Commission on how best to
proceed with its plan for a national policy on deployment of broadband
networks. The comments emphasize that the most growth and innovation comes from
companies competing in a free market, while additional mandates and
restrictions are likely, in this case, only to slow new investments in
broadband technology.

“The best way the Commission can stimulate broadband is not by imposing
new layers of regulation, but by adopting a deregulatory stimulus in
which government-created entry barriers are eliminated and costly regulations
are reduced,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute Vice President for Policy Wayne Crews. “Marketplace
investment and private enterprise have driven broadband deployment in the United States,
and the Commission would be wise to expand proven, market-driven broadband

CEI’s comments provide several specific reforms that could
substantially liberalize both the telecommunications and broadband marketplaces.
Auctioning off further blocks of spectrum, redefining broadband based on functionality
rather than delivery method and giving companies the freedom to experiment with
different pricing structures would all help stimulate the industry.

“Competition in creation of core networks is just as important as
competition in the creation of content delivered over the networks later,” said
Crews. “A world safe for mandatory openness and non-discrimination, one in
which investors can’t ‘own’ their pipes or spectrum, is a world far less
attuned to the infrastructure wealth creation that consumers actually need.”

CEI also cautions the FCC against overreacting to concerns over user
privacy. “Forming broadband policy based on speculative privacy fears runs the
risk of stifling potentially promising new technologies that may enhance
consumer welfare in the future,” said CEI Information Policy Analyst Ryan Radia. “The emergence of deep
packet inspection brings with it a range of privacy concerns, and it would be
premature for the Commission to impose mandates at this stage. Decentralized
marketplace experimentation, subject to competitive discipline and evolving
consumer preferences, is best able to balance privacy with wealth creation
stemming from advertising and marketing.” 

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan
public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited
government.  For more information about
CEI, please visit our website at www.cei.org.