– Highlights the Importance of Private Investment, Touts Consumer Benefits of Broadband –
WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 21, 2009 – The Internet Innovation Alliance, a broad-based coalition that has long supported a comprehensive national broadband strategy to achieve universal broadband availability and adoption, today released the following statement on its feedback to statements filed with the FCC regarding a National Broadband Plan:
“Too many of the first-round comments filed with the FCC suggested that broadband in America is an unmitigated failure. Such a dim view of our current status could prompt policy makers to seek radical course changes that undermine much that is going right. While there is much to be done to reach the goal of ubiquitous availability and adoption of truly high speed internet service in America, we must identify and build on the parts of our system that have worked so far as we continue to work towards 100 percent availability and adoption.
“The IIA submitted a new study released by Compass Lexecon economists Jon Orszag, Mark Dutz and Robert Willig as an ex parte filing in Docket No. 09-51. Among other findings, this study revealed that broadband usage in 2008 (66.6 million households) is nearly six times that in 2001, and that landline broadband alone benefits consumers by more than $30 billion.
“We also must focus first on what we do know, such as roughly 10 million households have no broadband choices, with the vast majority residing in rural areas that hold little incentive for private investment. According to Orszag, broadband is an experience good; once people experience it, they value it much more highly than they ever thought they would. Orszag’s finding informs the significant adoption gaps: about 40 percent of households choose not to invest in broadband, often because they have yet to experience its benefits. Initial efforts and investment by the government should therefore encourage adoption and catalyze investment in unserved communities where private returns would not justify it. Federal stimulus grants must enable further robust public and private investment across platforms, including wire line, wireless, cable and other new technologies, so that these benefits may expand both in their scope, and more importantly, in the number of people they reach.
“The Internet Innovation Alliance again applauds the work of federal agencies like the FCC as they work toward the goal of universal broadband access and adoption. Once clear policies and guidelines are established, public and private groups can work together to bring broadband technology and its myriad of benefits to all Americans. In light of the many broadband achievements over the previous ten years, we are confident that we can achieve the goal of 100 percent adoption within the next ten years.