FCC Chairman Genachowski 'Out of Touch' with Broadband Reality

FreePress

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Timothy Karr, 201-533-8838

FCC Chairman Genachowski 'Out of Touch' with Broadband Reality

WASHINGTON - On Wednesday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski delivered a speech to the Broadband Acceleration Conference touting the value of broadband and the need for continued investment in its infrastructure. He promised to cut the “red tape” that stands as “a significant obstacle to broadband deployment.”

He went on to say, “Overly burdensome rules and regulations can slow down deployment and raise costs. It also can limit businesses' ability to invest in new technologies and hire new workers.”

The chairman went on to describe the ways that his FCC has been working to remove obstacles and spur innovation and investment, including a review of all telecommunications regulations, a data review initiative, a shot clock for tower siting applications, ease of access to utility poles, and loosened restrictions around mobile satellite spectrum.

Free Press President Josh Silver made the following statement:

"Julius Genachowski's statements today are further evidence that he’s more interested in appeasing the giant phone and cable companies than in solving the real problems in the American broadband market.

“Our country is lagging behind in broadband quality and adoption not because of overly burdensome regulations, but because our markets lack the competition needed to spur investment and lower prices. Unfortunately, Chairman Genachowski is completely uninterested in creating meaningful policies that will tackle the competition problem or help the 100 million disconnected Americans get online. While Mr. Genachowski pointed out that 'not all rules are bad rules,' it’s cold comfort from an FCC chairman who continues to provide giveaways to and create loopholes for the likes of Comcast, Verizon and AT&T.

"While we welcome action to rationalize the pole attachment regulations, it is a stretch to suggest that lowering these rates would spur enough broadband investment to move the needle in an appreciable way. This is simply a top policy priority of AT&T and the phone companies, not because it’s holding back investment, but because they fully intend to pocket what savings come from this regulatory gift. Similarly, while improvements can be made to the tower siting process, it's hard to see how this action will help ensure that the two-thirds of Americans who have yet to see the benefits of the mobile Internet revolution actually get online.

"Just today, the Pew Hispanic Center released data showing that overall home broadband adoption has stalled, and that the adoption gap between white and minority households remains unacceptably large. These Americans have been stranded on the wrong side of the digital divide for far too long. They, and we, are wondering when Julius Genachowski and policymakers in Washington are going to put their needs ahead of the regulatory wish list of AT&T."

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