"National" broadband policy a stalking horse for regulating Internet

Watch out when Big Government advocates call for a "national" anything!

  • House Telecom Chairman Ed Markey is calling for a "national broadband map."
  • Senator Rockefeller (WV) and others are calling for a "national broadband plan."  


A "national broadband plan" is a codeword for a 1970's-style government "industrial policy" where the government decides what technologies consumers get and which companies will succeed of fail. 

  • Industrial policies proved economically disastrous -- and thankfully were abandoned in the US -- allowing our economy to flourish.
    • Look no further than the mess of the current French economy, which is the world's petri dish for "national" industrial policies. 
    • Their economy and employment situation is one of the leading basketcases of Europe.

My first big problem with this "national" thinking is that there is no national broadband problem.

  • The US has more facilites-based broadband deployment, investment and competition nationally than any other country -- by a wide margin.
  • Is deployment perfect nationwide? of course not.
    • If there is a broadband problem it is in some isolated rural areas.
    • We may have a "rural" broadband problem but not a "national" broadband problem!

My second big problem is Senator Rockefeller's call for a new "national" goal of 10Mbps broadband by 2010 and 100 Mbps by 2015.

  • What this really is, is a stalking horse plan to re-regulate and turn the competitive broadband industry into a more regulated utility-like industry.
  • Why do I conclude this?
    • First, those speeds are basically a de facto call for a fiber nation.
    • Does everyone want or need fiber?
    • Should the government devalue the mobility of wireless and devalue perfectly fast coaxial cable or DSL speeds that can exceed 10Mbps but not reach 100Mbps?
    • Why does it make sense to choose one technology over another and kneecap the competitive incentives to meet the diverse needs, means and wants of the American people?
    • A uniform national goal like that won't or can't be met by the marketplace because it is not based on market forces but regulation and subsidies.
    • Why mess up the nation's unique broadband and Internet success by forcing regulatory one-size-fits-all policy on our extremely diverse nation? 

By arbitrarliy choosing speeds and arbitrarily setting timetables for deployment, the government is setting itself up to take a much more proactive and interventionist role in heavily regulating and managing broadband competition into a utility-like system.

  • The huge mistake policymakers like Senator Rockefeller and Chairman Markey and others are making is that they fantasize that they can bring in Big Government to manage the broadband sector and the Internet and that there would be no unintended consequences or investment disincentives that would result from their plan for massive government intervention in the marketplace?
    • Don't they remember the disaster of the 2000 market bubble where FCC Chairman Hundt's heavily managed CLEC "competition" resulted in a disastrous bankruptcy of an entire business segment?
    • Government and regulators have an abysmal track record of trying to outperform the marketplace in delivering benefits and value to the American consumer.

Watch out when Big Government advocates call for "national" anything.

  • "Nationalizing" industries is what they do in Venezuela not America.