The Federal Communications Commission recently led discussions on proposed Net Neutrality Rules including, broadband speeds to be adopted for those companies using federal dollars to upgrade their networks. This comes at the same time the FCC is proposing to provide the underpinnings of a governmental mandate to; serve the underserved.
This is yet another dangerous road the FCC is attempting to navigate from a top-down regulatory standpoint, and could simply derail the original efforts to have success in the broadband investment philosophy it generated.
Here are the perilous implications:
- Mandating ISP speeds on the front end of legislation could impede private investment from taking on the challenges of serving sparsely populated or lower demographic areas
- Creating an open and share all approach for content access will again scare off potential investors who will be suspect of reaching respectable returns on their money
- The burgeoning internet advertising market will be hampered, or even stopped, from investing in the very sector the FCC is attempting to help grow and prosper
These are the important issues related to recent discussions on Net Neutrality to be addressed, but need to be considered while proposing to regulate an industry on the verge of creating just the applications and services that consumers want with internet connections. My message to the FCC is; do not blow the very opportunity to let private investment create the infrastructure, content and applications which you have incented them to accomplish, by over regulating those companies into inaction.
It continues to be evident that the best incentive would be to take a hands-off approach to regulation while providing the capital incentive for the networks to build out their infrastructures. What scares Wall Street more than anything is the prospect of heavy regulation that will stifle investment opportunities. This has a negative effect on company stocks, shareholders, and the willingness of private investment to flourish, and in essence, get the job done.
The FCC should be promoting a healthy investment and competition environment rather than a heavy-handed regulatory approach for the future of Internet access. This would create the (win-win) situation the government agency is looking for, whether it realizes the implications, or not.