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Market forces work! Clearwire/Sprint Wimax deal proves broadband competition remains robust

Net neutrality proponents who argue broadband competition doesn't work and see a "duopoly" in every shadow, were confronted with powerful market evidence recently that their take on the broadband competitive facts is flat wrong. 

The big Wimax consortium announcement this week by Clearwire, Sprint, Google, Intel, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House, is obvious evidence that:

  • National broadband competition and consumer choice continues to increase; and
  • Congress' and the FCC's rejection of net neutrality legislation and regulation encourages investment in broadband deployment to all Americans most quickly.

This free-market, innovative business model development, which Google has embraced with a $500m investment, takes even more wind out of the sails of the net neutrality movement.

  • Coming on the heels of Verizon's "any device/any application inititiative with its new 700 MHz spectrum, AT&T's public committment to open devices and applications, and Sprint and T-Mobile's open involvement with Google's Android operating system -- this new wireless/Google/Intel/cable consortium shows that competition and the free market are working well.
  • The last thing consumers or the market needs is the government torpedoing this success by trying to insert itself in between consumers and their providers to regulate what they can and cannot get on the Internet. 

This WiMax announcement also reconfirms that competition is inexorably increasing and producing differentiated innovation and differentiated choices for consumers

  • In stark contrast to the regulate-first crowd that expects that all consumers should demand the exact same broadband experience, and that diversity of choice in price, speed, features, and technologies isn't really "competition" because its not the exact same offering, this WiMax announcement heralds continued broadband platform competition and innovation.
    • This announcement is good for competition, innovation, and consumers because it sets up more real competition between 4th generation broadband technologies: WiMax vs LTE -- just like technology competition between GSM and CDMA standards has benefited consumers. 
    • Each technology brings different strengths to the market, so these will be differentiated broadband competitive offerings, which is good because consumers are served best when they can choose among technologies what best meets their personal needs. 
      • This uniquely American style of communications competition, where we let market forces decide which technologies come to market and not bureaucrats like European countries do, has made America the most competitive wireless market in the world and benefited American consumers with the second lowest prices in the world and the most wireless usage in the world by far. 

It is also interesting that Google exercised its free market right to invest in this consortium and in return secure the benefit of being the consortium's "exclusive web and local service provider."  

  • Hopefully, Google appreciates the benefits of the freedom to enter exclusive arrangements to competition and innovation and that exclusive commercial arrangements are not necessarily a bad thing for competition and/or consumers. 
  • Hopefully, this signals a backing away in Google's public policy support for net neutrality, where Google takes a hard-line against absolutely any kind of discrimination/exclusive arrangements.
  • Hopefully, Google has seen the light that freedom, free market competition, and technology/business models innovation are a vastly superior approach to net neutrality's one-size-fits-all, backward-looking, permanent regulation of broadband architecture and business models.