Data in FCC Wireless Report Reveals Need to Protect Consumers

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Liz Rose, Communications Director, 202-265-1490 x 32

Data in FCC Wireless Report Reveals Need to Protect Consumers

WASHINGTON - The Federal Communications Commission's
just-issued annual report on the wireless industry does not conclude
that the market reflects "effective competition." In contrast to past
years, the report - released at the agency's monthly open meeting today
-- makes no conclusions at all, but instead contains expanded analysis
of various aspects of the wireless market.

M. Chris Riley, policy counsel at Free Press, made
the following statement: "The data in the FCC's wireless competition
report adopted today demonstrates what we have been arguing for years:
The wireless market has substantial obstacles to effective competition,
and these obstacles restrict consumer choice, service quality, service
price, innovation and investment. Although we are glad the Commission is
no longer blind to a broken market, we are disappointed that it
apparently lacks the political courage to acknowledge these problems by
concluding that the market does not demonstrate effective competition,
an apparent side-stepping of the congressional requirement to conduct
such an analysis. But we maintain hope that the Commission will follow
this report, and the many notices and letters the agency has issued,
with immediate action to remedy these problems.

"Consumers deserve better in
the mobile marketplace after being price-gouged on data plans and
swindled in the fine print of their phone bills. In today's wireless
market, meaningful choice and fair prices for consumers are sorely
lacking, particularly in the nascent wireless broadband market. 
Furthermore, the deck is stacked against smaller carriers because of the
massive power of the dominant incumbents - AT&T and Verizon - that
have formidable advantages in spectrum holdings, exclusive device deals,
vertical integration with backhaul networks, and vastly more resources
for marketing and lobbying.  The market is largely controlled by two
companies, and it will not dig itself out of this mess and magically
produce competition. Oversight and reform are badly needed. The agency
should initiate policies and rules that foster competition and
innovation and create an environment where wireless carriers have to
compete with one another over service price and quality."

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Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net

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