Free Press has been calling on its constituents to encourage the Republican-controlled Congress to vote against a House appropriations bill that would significantly reduce funding for the Federal Communications Commission. For Fiscal Year 2016, the FCC asked Congress for $388,000,000 in offsetting collections. This represents a $48 million increase over the FCC’s request for Fiscal Year 2015, which ends tonight at midnight.
House Republicans have been blatant about their unwillingness to fund the FCC’s net neutrality regime. So serious are they about taking the wind out of the so called open internet that they have a budget bill that would provide the FCC with only $314,844,000 for Fiscal Year 2016. If federal budgets represent national priorities, it is clear that net neutrality is not a priority for the GOP, whose members have railed against how onerous the rules are.
While the rules are burdensome, what is more telling is the FCC’s unwillingness to get out of the narrow vision box. The FCC is still stuck on the concept of encouraging competitive telecommunications networks. In the 21st century why would the FCC be concerned about a concept calling for a multiple number of firms providing point-to-point voice communications services via wire or wireline?
What the FCC should be concerned about is promoting the development of the information and data markets that are being created and transacted in over internet infrastructure. Information and data are the currency being exchanged on digital networks. Also the returns on stock that investors are seeing should be an indication as to where the economy via the internet is going.
According to data from Morningstar, the telecom services industry saw one-year returns on stock at 8.42%. Three-year returns were 9.82% while five-year returns were at 9.64%.
In the information technology services industry, one-year returns amounted to 10.93%; three-year returns came in at 10.41%; and five-year returns were 12.16%.
The internet content and information industry saw first-year returns of 17.04%; three-year returns of 23.90%; and five-year returns on 18.70%.
I don’t pretend to be a stock analyst but if the FCC really wants to encourage competition on the internet, shouldn’t the agency promote entry into the higher performing industries? If the FCC wants to convince me that they are interested in economic growth, their analysis should be based on the current reality of the internet economy and the data and information markets.