WaPo Slaps the “The FCC’s visible hand”

by on March 21, 2010 · 2 comments

Great op/ed in The Washington Post today:

BY THE Federal Communications Commission’s own account, broadband use in the United States has exploded over the past decade: “Fueled primarily by private sector investment and innovation, the American broadband ecosystem has evolved rapidly. The number of Americans who have broadband at home has grown from eight million in 2000 to nearly 200 million last year.”

So it is curious that the FCC’s newly released National Broadband Plan faults the market for failing to “bring the power and promise of broadband to us all” — in reality, some 7 million households unable to get broadband because it is not offered in their areas. Such an assessment — and the call for government intervention to subsidize service for rural or poor communities — is premature, at best

Read the rest here or check out Adam’s appearance on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal or on the Diane Rehm Show.

  • Mike Wendy

    Key line in this op/ed:

    “But broadband networks have been built with billions of dollars from companies in the private sector with a legitimate right to extract profit from well-placed investments. These initiatives — and yes, the profit motive — have resulted in remarkable leaps in a few short years.”

    I do not get a sense from Washington these days that the above mentioned idea holds much weight. It certainly has fallen out of favor. As it pertains to the FCC's NBP, and pehaps more specifically to the Net Neutrality NPRM – I have this question: Lacking a market failure, and in light of significant broadband growth (unregulated at that) – how does the FCC reclassify broadband in a way that allows it to regulate it akin to common carriage? Does “Brand X” offer the key? Wouldn't that be “arbitrary and capricious” – especially in light of no market breakdown? Or, does “Chevron deference” get pushed to the edges?

  • Mike Wendy

    Key line in this op/ed:

    “But broadband networks have been built with billions of dollars from companies in the private sector with a legitimate right to extract profit from well-placed investments. These initiatives — and yes, the profit motive — have resulted in remarkable leaps in a few short years.”

    I do not get a sense from Washington these days that the above mentioned idea holds much weight. It certainly has fallen out of favor. As it pertains to the FCC's NBP, and pehaps more specifically to the Net Neutrality NPRM – I have this question: Lacking a market failure, and in light of significant broadband growth (unregulated at that) – how does the FCC reclassify broadband in a way that allows it to regulate it akin to common carriage? Does “Brand X” offer the key? Wouldn't that be “arbitrary and capricious” – especially in light of no market breakdown? Or, does “Chevron deference” get pushed to the edges?

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