“At the FCC, our mission is to unleash the potential of communications technology –
including mobile broadband – to benefit our economy and our society. We believe in the
power of dynamic free markets to drive these benefits, and that government has an
important but limited role to play in enabling innovation and investment in
communications technologies and services, promoting competition, and empowering
These words were shared by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski during a speech delivered in Barcelona a couple days ago. While I appreciate the Chairman’s intention to make broadband access available to every American household, we shouldn’t give Spain the impression that there is another European country with a capital west of Portugal.
Chairman Genachowski’s statement gives the impression that the FCC controls private capital namely communications technology. Yes, to a certain degree, the FCC regulates or creates a framework for access to the telecommunications, broadcast, and cable television markets. It also sets the framework for accessing public rights-of-way, poles, and that great and limited national resource; spectrum.
The agency, along with the rules it promulgates, and the statutes that give it authority, do not best promote a flexible and dynamic market. Free markets unleash communications technology and the innovation and dynamism that come along with it when incented by consumers that are willing and able to not only purchase communications goods and services and producers willing and able to develop and sell these goods and services.
It is the FCC’s attitude, as captured by the statement from Mr. Genachowski’s speech, which has it frequently on the precipice of picking winners and losers. Leave the technology development to the markets, FCC. The industry, its investors, and consumers will leave the FCC to regulate market entry on a minimal basis and ensure the acquisition of spectrum necessary for keeping consumers connected.