Cable’s leadership in broadband is no secret and in fact is one of the great telecom success stories in recent years. After all, the cable industry alone has invested some $170 billion in private capital to build broadband networks that are now available to 93 percent of U.S. homes. And the speed of cable’s broadband offering continues to increase – often at no cost to consumers – so that most cable broadband customers are enjoying a connection of 10 Mbps or higher, and some are utilizing the ultra-fast connections that exceed 100 Mbps. This is all great for U.S. consumers, our economy and global competitiveness.
But we are starting to see a very disturbing meme spread by some folks who think that the government should disrupt this success and inject rate regulation and price control over broadband networks. One such fierce advocate is Susan Crawford, a smart and respected former Obama Administration official who now is a law professor and commentator on broadband policy issues. Crawford took to the opinion page of last weekend’s New York Times to lay out her rationale, but it’s one that we find full of faulty analysis, leading to a disastrous prescription.
In a blog post titled, “Susan Crawford’s Broadband Blinkers“, Richard Bennett of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation provides a thoughtful and important rebuttal that shouldn’t be missed. Here’s a sample:
Crawford’s particular style of analysis is heavy on vague generalizations and light on substance. She talks about “high-speed connections” without ever specifying a rate, and refers to a number of common applications – such as filling out job applications on-line – as if they required massively reengineered networks when they clearly don’t.
Both columns are worth reading to understand where this debate is going, but let’s make sure that we have a firm understanding of the facts before we rush to conclusions that could devastate one of America’s few thriving industries.
Tags: Susan Crawford