Does the FCC need to rescue the internet?
By Tom Gurr,
Pacific Technology Alliance
Is the Internet broken? It appears the FCC would like you to believe that it is. They are in the midst of pursuing an aggressive regulatory overhaul to “fix” the Internet that we all use and enjoy today. But the courts won’t give the FCC the regulatory authority it wants and it looks like Congress is not in a hurry to do it either. So the FCC has decided to make an end-run around the courts and Congress to re-classify the Internet as a “telecommunications service” in order to apply regulations to the World Wide Web that were designed for rotary telephone service in the 1930s
So, is the internet on the brink and does it need saving by the FCC? Let’s look at some key facts:
1. Since 2003 annual investment in deploying a faster improved internet to more American homes and businesses has been over $27 billion
2. This investment has accounted for over 400,000 new jobs annually
3. Average annual private investment in the NEXT 6 years in estimated to be $30 billion creating over 500,000 new jobs
4. The adoption of a high speed connection has risen to 63% in 2009 up from 55% in 2008
5. The price of a high speed connection has dropped significantly in the last decade (e.g. Verizon’s DSL has dropped 81% from 2001 to 2008)
In the midst of one of the worst economic downturns in our lifetime the Internet has been the brightest spot in an otherwise bleak outlook. Now the FCC is seeking to overhaul the entire regulatory structure and give itself stringent new authority that most financial experts agree will kill critical, job-creating investment. And when the federal government has so many other priorities, the regulation of the Internet seems like a distraction from the critical work underway that affects people’s daily lives.
The Internet has transformed our lives, and improved nearly EVERY aspect of our day to day operations. It has improved education, provided better public safety and delivered life saving healthcare procedures to remote communities previously unreachable. Additionally, the Internet and new technologies that use it to bring services to Americans and create thousands of jobs. The FCC has estimated it will take $350 billion to bring high-speed Internet to all Americans. Public policies should encourage more investment to connect people to the benefits of the Internet, not distract from its continued growth or destroy its success.
A growing source of jobs and investment in a slumping economy that has steadily improved our lives over the last decade and looks to do even more in the next decade — that doesn’t sound broken to me.
The Economic Impact of Broadband Investment by Robert W. Crandall and Hal J. Singer, 2010,