Wednesday, January 11, 2017

US Telecom head fundamentally misstates key obstacle to telecom infrastructure

The Next National Infrastructure Push Must Be Powered by Broadband - Morning Consult: Clarity. Broadband companies have invested more in America’s infrastructure over the last two decades than any other sector of our economy – $1.5 trillion and counting. Yet these same companies in recent years have suffered a case of Washington whiplash. On one hand, heady (and wholly accurate) talk about broadband’s importance to all citizens. On the other, increasingly regressive policy decisions that undermine that potential and are widely credited with 2015’s decline in capital investment in U.S. broadband networks. We need to reverse this troubling trend by establishing policies that encourage investment in new and better broadband.
This opinion from Jonathan Spalter,  president and CEO of the trade association USTelecom, is remarkable in that it fundamentally misstates what is a business problem as a public policy problem for telecommunications companies. The biggest obstacle facing the industry when it comes to investing in telecommunications infrastructure is its own business model. It's out of sync with the long term return on capital that comes with high cost telecom infrastructure, seeking lower risk short term gains. That's not public policy. That's just plain microeconomics.

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