I look at broadband companies as having a double mandate. First, they have to provide a service to their broadband customers, within the constraint of a competitive market. Second, they have to maintain the very communications and information structure the Federal Communications Commission is required to ensure pursuant to the Communications Act.
The government is not going to build it, nor should we expect it to. The FCC has created a mechanism that reimburses broadband companies for the high costs of deploying to and serving rural and other high-cost consumers. Although the FCC is responsible for ensuring universal access by every American household to a nationwide communications network, it is still left up to the market to distribute those services via the price mechanism.
Recent comments in FCC Docket No. 12-69 would try to persuade the FCC that the agency should somehow influence how broadband providers price their broadband access services. Such requested influence would be a violation of the principles of free markets and capitalism that this nation has adopted for centuries.
In addition, reinvestment in the networks the FCC expects to be deployed and maintained requires a sufficient revenue stream to do so. Commenters have always expressed issues with the size of AT&T and Verizon, yet offer no reasonable or feasible alternatives to how a large number of current customers are to be served. Conducting a séance to conjure the ghost of Harold Green seems to be the ultimate goal of commenters who question the market size of the industry’s two largest players.
Until commenters can introduce an economic model that surpasses our current free market apparatus for determining price and output for broadband services, the FCC can best serve the consuming public by politely discounting their arguments.