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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Free Press
Liz Rose, Communications Director
202-265-1490 x 32
Industry-Funded Study Is Baseless Attempt to Stoke Fear
WASHINGTON - July 20 - In response to the release this morning of the Progressive Policy Institute's study titled "The Coming Communications Boom," Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner made the following statement:
"This 'study,' like other industry-funded efforts that came before it, is completely void of any actual evidence supporting its sensationalist headline. It merely assumes that if the FCC has basic oversight authority, it will lead to bad outcomes, without any evidence or analysis. The public should be wary of such industry-supported works that claim to be able to predict the future, especially when their predictions directly contradict the historical record. The fact is that when the Bell companies were subject to the full weight of Title II, they increased employment by 15 percent. But once the FCC began dismantling these pro-competitive rules through massive deregulation, these companies shed nearly 40 percent of their workforce, even as their revenues increased and profits soared.
"The fact is the FCC's Third Way largely preserves the status quo, and will not stop the incumbent phone and cable companies from carrying out their stated plans to fire even more workers. However, this proposal will give the FCC the ability to protect the open Internet and promote competition online, which is a recipe for strong job creation from small business entrepreneurs -- the lifeblood of our economy. This is in contrast to the big phone and cable companies, whose businesses appear to be 'recession-proof,' even as these companies do nothing to prevent their hardworking employees from feeling the effects of the recession.
"Policymakers should recognize this 'study' for what it is -- part of a transparent attempt by the biggest phone and cable companies to raise unfounded fears about job losses in an election season. It's cynical politics at its worst, and we urge the FCC and Congress to move ahead with crafting policies that will finally bring competition to the duopoly market, which in turn will stimulate investment from companies that actually create, not destroy, jobs in America.
"With breathtaking hypocrisy, the phone companies tell Washington that if the government sets rules of the road, they will withhold investment in spite of record profits. But they tell Wall Street just the opposite: Time Warner Cable COO Landel Hobbs' told an investor conference, ‘Yes, we will continue to invest, yes, we will participate in the Notice of Inquiries and we will have an open, healthy dialogue with the FCC throughout the whole process.' Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said, `The government is not a big worry.' And a reporter from the investment newsletter SNL Kagan covering Roberts' remarks at an industry trade show wrote, ‘Given the potential impact of reclassification on broadband pricing, Roberts said he expects the industry to continue to invest, innovate and work through the government issues.' Truly competitive broadband companies making new investments and creating new jobs, like Clearwire and Harbinger-SkyTerra, have repeatedly stated their comfort with this FCC's approach.
"If the giant phone and cable companies spent as much on network investments as they do on lobbying, astroturf and propaganda, they might actually be creating jobs instead of shedding them at a record pace."
Link to chart with historical data showing jobs, investment
and revenues increased under Title II, while the era of deregulation
brought job losses and investment declines despite rising revenues. http://www.freepress.net/