Wednesday, September 14, 2016

FCC Commissioner Pai's deeply flawed "Digital Empowerment Agenda"

Ajit Pai, a member of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, has proposed a "Digital Empowerment Agenda" relying on tax incentives to promote telecom infrastructure investment. Pai's proposal is deeply flawed because it:
  • Assumes tax breaks combined with regulatory streamlining will eliminate the massive telecom infrastructure disparities in the United States. Pai need only ask legacy incumbent telephone and cable companies (and Google Fiber) why he's misguided. They will tell him the primary impediment is the return on infrastructure investment is too far in the future in certain areas and neighborhoods to justify investment. Net present value is zero or below. That's a fundamental challenge of the investor-owned, vertically integrated business model to when it comes to infrastructure capable of supporting modern advanced, telecom services. Tax incentives and regulatory streamlining may help the math, but aren't alone going to make the business case for investment and eliminate disparities.
  • Reinforces existing infrastructure disparities by offering incentives for landline infrastructure in some areas of the nation but only mobile wireless in others that is inadequate for premise service.

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