Now that President Obama has been re-elected, it’s time to get down to business. We know that middle-class jobs are important for the economy to continue growing over the next four years. The broadband market becomes a launch-pad in opportunities to create needed jobs, if the right policies are set into motion. Let’s look at the technology landscape and determine how to achieve a robust and competitive marketplace which advances stated goals of bringing back higher tax revenues, which job creation can accomplish. Revitalizing the market with true competition should be the base of any tech policy initiative. If it does not meet that basic requirement, no need to bother.
Mobile: A Bright Light to Follow
A broadband plan to provide Americans with full access to fast broadband is certainly underway in the Wireless, Mobile marketplace. To that end, Julius Genachowski has done a remarkable job in denying large mobile mergers that promise less competition and higher consumer prices. He has promoted competition in this market and the results are astounding. Mobile growth continues to outpace spectrum allocations, but hopefully, the current plan of re-allocation through voluntary broadcast spectrum release is a useful policy to continue mobile growth. The recent purchase of Sprint (NYSE: S) by SoftBank (TSE: 9984) Japan will open the door for a more competitive landscape within the mobile industry. This type competition should be a model for all industries in the United States whether investment comes from internal or external sources. Competition creates jobs, through a simple economic model. In addition, let us not forget the potential for ancillary job creation through innovative start-ups and service companies which support a robust broadband landscape.
Broadband Wire Line
Broadband wire line is dormant, lagging in innovation, competitiveness, and price sensitivity, while not meeting the competitive criteria as a fast growing market. Due to unrelenting large mergers and acquisitions of the past decade, Americans are left with few broadband choices with dominate through companies which control a large part of the marketplace. This does not bode well for job creation, lower prices for consumers, or abundant access for such a large geographical space. United States policy metrics should address this issue, deciding whether to promote a more robust competitive environment in wire line broadband, or abandon this highly capital-intensive landscape for a wireless solution. A new wire line model, Google Fiber, is showing promise on broadband speed, connectivity, competition, and price in Kansas City. Local cities and governments have historically created public-private partnerships to improve broadband access. Private industry has fought these initiatives locally and will continue unless broadband market entry is made easier.
This type innovation and business risk should be encouraged and rewarded in the marketplace. It is not only imperative to our core economy, but more companies competing, beget more jobs created, leading to research and development, and ultimately lower consumer prices. This rudimentary formula, less for a better characterization, has to be on the broadband policy agenda. How do we create more competition within a highly demand driven broadband, wireless, and mobile environment which benefits both private and public sectors equally? That question must be implicit to broadband convergence from individual markets and into bundled services.
Working Together for All
As you have stated, solving our tough economic issues will require a bipartisan approach with both a Republican controlled House of Representatives, and a Democratic controlled Senate. Grid-lock : “The inability of two opposing groups to accomplish any sort of remedy or compromise on a political issue because one side manages to prevent matters from moving forward”, is not an option. All Americans should expect each political party to work together and compromise on important issues, broadband being just one of these. There are other more pressing issues which must be addressed, and you know the importance of meeting these head-on. Partisan rhetoric depicting (my way is the only way) politics is not an acceptable solution as elected government leaders. Voters have made their choice and expect bipartisan results. Making America great once again requires working together for all. Do not let Americans down, and best of luck on working toward a bipartisan agenda.
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