Monday, February 02, 2015

The FCC is moving to preempt state broadband limits - The Washington Post

The FCC is moving to preempt state broadband limits - The Washington Post: Under Section 706 of the Communications Act, the FCC is authorized to promote the deployment of broadband in the United States. By ruling that the anti-municipal state laws constitute barriers to that mission, the FCC's draft order invokes Section 706 in preempting the laws.

But that theory has already been questioned by Republicans who believe private investment is a more effective tool for rolling out high-speed broadband. 

Private investment in theory might be effective -- if there was a lot more of it. The legacy, shareholder owned incumbent providers are constrained in their capital investment capacity by the demand for short term profits and high dividend obligations and debt loads. Witness Verizon, for example. The company stopped new build outs of its FiOS fiber to the premise infrastructure in response to shareholder concerns.

Private pension money might be brought into play as is the case with Australia-based Macquarie Capital, the financial partner of the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA). But so far no other similar financiers with the billions that are needed have emerged.

In summary, there really isn't any point in debating what's the best source of U.S. fiber to the premise telecommunications infrastructure funding. What's truly important is that there be an adequate and viable funding source -- something the nation is currently lacking.

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