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Singer: Right Broadband Policy Requires an Overhaul of FCC's Mission

Upgrades in broadband capabilities will only continue, however, if regulators provide a transparent regulatory environment that affirmatively encourages network owners to invest the capital necessary to build out next-generation digital infrastructure. Innovation does not pay for itself, and government is certainly not in a position to fund our nation’s broadband future with taxpayer dollars.

Policymakers can hasten our digitally connected future and expand economic opportunity for all by removing the regulatory underbrush that diverts capital away from advanced broadband networks and slows down the ability of companies to compete against each other.

Government can also lower barriers to new investment by deploying more spectrum for wireless broadband, and by permitting broadband operators to experiment with new delivery arrangements for websites, subject to a case-by-case review of any valid claims of discrimination.

Today’s communications landscape looks entirely different from yesterday’s, and the future promises untold innovation, faster speeds and greater access to high-speed Internet. To accommodate and nurture this evolution, the country needs a fresh and carefully tailored regulatory paradigm that fosters investment, innovation and competition throughout the broadband ecosystem.

Until Congress gives the FCC a new direction, we will get one report for wireless broadband services, another report for wireline services and confused Internet policies.

Hal J. Singer is managing director at Navigant Economics. He is co-author with Bob Litan of “The Need for Speed: A New Framework for Telecommunications Policy for the 21st Century.”

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