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Home Press Room CFIF Comment to FCC: Encouraging More Private Sector Investment Must Be Focus of National Broadband Policy
CFIF Comment to FCC: Encouraging More Private Sector Investment Must Be Focus of National Broadband Policy Print
Tuesday, June 09 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 9, 2009

ALEXANDRIA, VA – In a comment filed this week before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Center for Individual Freedom (CFIF) insisted that encouraging private sector investment, rather than imposing counterproductive regulations, must be the focus of a new national broadband policy.

CFIF filed its comment in response to the FCC’s April 8, 2009 Notice of Inquiry, which itself stems from the American Investment and Recovery Act of 2009. As part of that legislation, Congress directed the FCC to devise a national plan to achieve nationwide broadband access.

“Since the 1996 Telecommunications Act, the Internet has thrived and played a central role in maintaining America’s status as the most prosperous, most entrepreneurial and most innovative nation in human history,” said Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Director of Legal and Public Affairs. “This didn’t happen by accident or coincidence,” he added. “Rather, it has occurred precisely because the government has refrained from suffocating it with bureaucratic overregulation.”

In its comment, CFIF affirms the following principles:

  • Universal broadband access is a noble goal. The past two decades have witnessed incredible technological and Internet growth, but much work remains. This is precisely why the FCC’s effort to commence a public/private campaign to achieve 100% broadband access is so important.

  • The FCC’s National Broadband Plan focus must be on policies that actually work, rather than accommodating special interests. Although the FCC’s campaign can trigger progress in achieving universal broadband access, well-meaning but ill-advised policies will only slow current progress and create wholly new barriers. The FCC must therefore ascertain and encourage those efforts that have worked to date, rather than unravel them.

  • Private investment will be the primary engine to achieve the FCC’s broadband goals. Since the 1996 Telecommunications Act, the Internet has progressed from a novel idea to a central aspect of American life and prosperity. And how did this occur? Primarily through private investment. Since 1996, the cable and telecommunications sector has invested $147 billion in infrastructure development. In 2008, the industry invested at least $15 billion, and expects to invest an even larger amount this year.

  • New regulations that impair private investment will only subvert the FCC’s broadband efforts. Although some insist upon massive regulation of the cable and telecommunication industry, the reality is that America possesses the largest broadband network in the world, and leads the world by many objective measures. Those who contend otherwise and advocate overregulation of the cable and telecommunications sector typically cite defective data to advance their agenda.

  • Additional investment is critical to achieving universal broadband access. The FCC must partner with private investors to achieve universal broadband access. If national broadband policy focuses upon incentivizing private investment in broadband, and enabling network providers to manage their own networks based upon market demands, skeptical consumers can be convinced of the value of broadband, and develop a sense that their connections are safe, secure and high-quality.

“The bottom line is that universal broadband access will be accomplished by encouraging the private investments that have achieved such breathtaking progress in just over one decade, not by imposing counterproductive overregulation,” Mr. Lee concluded.

Click here to read the full text of CFIF’s comment to the FCC.

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