Searching for the Perfect Broadband Regulatory Paradigm
Posted November 28th, 2012 by BfA Staff
With broadband technologies now the principal platform for 21st century communications and commerce, one of the most important issues facing the U.S. today is whether over regulation of broadband platforms will derail the Digital Revolution that has resulted in unprecedented innovation, investment and economic growth for America. At an event titled, “Internet Everywhere: Broadband as a Catalyst for the Digital Economy,” the Brookings Institution asked a panel of industry and academic experts to discuss the current and future economic potential of broadband platforms to bring the Internet everywhere to reality and fuel the digital economy.
Robert E. Litan, Director of Research at Bloomberg Government and Hal Singer, Managing Director and Principal at Navigant Economics, began the event by giving an overview of their new e-book: The Need for Speed: A New Framework for Telecommunications Policy for the 21st Century. The book examines the role of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the face of a rapidly changing technological landscape. With broadband technologies fueling a new age of telecommunications, next-generation IP-based systems are driving a convergence of once separate communications media. Historically, the FCC has regulated each of these media in a different manner. But Litan and Singer argue that the emergence of an IP-based world needs a new regulatory approach. The days of communications monopolies are over. Today’s dynamic broadband industry is far more competitive than the 20th century industries it is quickly replacing, requiring a reconsideration of the regulatory framework in which it operates. If the role of the regulator is to maximize consumer benefit, then it would be prudent to remove the regulatory barriers that impede investment in the next-generation, all-IP networks consumers have been choosing.