May Argues for Removal of Impediments to Deployment
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Reducing regulations currently impeding the deployment of broadband Internet would not only lead to greater connectivity for Americans, it would provide a needed boost to the U.S. economy, according to the Progress & Freedom Foundation’ s Randolph J. May, who says Congress should pass legislation similar to the Tauzin-Dingell bill under consideration in the House today.
In an op-ed appearing in the Hartford Courant, May blames the Clinton-era Federal Communications Commission for misinterpreting the landmark Telecommunications Act of 1996 in a way that regulations intended for ordinary phone service have been applied to high-speed Internet services such as DSL. The result has been much less investment by both the former Bell’s and new entrants than would otherwise have occurred.
“Simply put, under current regulations, the Bell companies lack the incentive to modernize their local networks because they are required to share their facilities with their competitors at below-cost prices,” May writes. “Not surprisingly, not only does this sharing requirement deter Bells from investing in new broadband facilities, it deters new entrants from doing so as well. After all, why would the competitors invest in constructing new facilities when it is less costly just to lease shared facilities from the Bells at regulated rates?
“When the House takes up consideration of the Tauzin-Dingell bill today, it has a chance to rectify this situation,” he continues. “By passing the Tauzin-Dingell bill, Congress can infuse the broadband market with the competitive boost it needs to bring the benefits of broadband to all U.S. consumers and businesses.” May cites studies that show greater broadband deployment could create as many as 1.2 million jobs and contribute as much as $500 billion per year to the economy.
May, a Senior Fellow and Director of Communications Policy Studies at the Foundation, is recognized as an expert on telecommunications policy. He has published numerous articles and essays on telecom issues, and has been cited by numerous national media outlets, including The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and InteractiveWeek. May also writes for leading national publications and law reviews on a wide variety of topics ranging from communications and administrative law to constitutional theory. His column on regulatory issues appears regularly in Legal Times.
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.