Industry-Funded Study Is Baseless Attempt to Stoke Fear

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

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

Industry-Funded Study Is Baseless Attempt to Stoke Fear

WASHINGTON - 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/resource/telco-title-ii-history

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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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