The FCC’s 706 report discounts the significant efforts being made by the private sector — despite uncertainty for investment stemming from a persistently weak economy and repeated attempts by the Commission to exercise greater direction and control over this inherently unpredictable yet consistently innovative sector — to continue building out broadband infrastructure, particularly next-generation wireless networks, to connect all Americans. Last year, wireless service providers invested nearly $26 billion in the creation and maintenance of the mobile infrastructure that puts better health care, education and job opportunities in reach for consumers. Of course there is more work to do.
Contrary to the FCC’s assertions, more government control over the telecommunications industry with new rules is absolutely not a prerequisite for closing the digital divide — in fact, fixed regulations are inherently inimical to the competitive, innovative, rapidly-changing reality of modern telecommunications. Instead, the FCC and policy makers need to adopt a more flexible approach that is humble in scope and recognizes the fast-paced, innovative environment in which industry operates.
Most new regulatory initiatives of the past five years have hindered innovation and high-tech leadership, whereas deregulatory efforts have helped them. Minimal government intervention will support the Internet’s continued, consumer-driven growth and bring us closer to reaching President Obama’s goal of 4G wireless coverage for 98 percent of the population by 2015.