Manufacturers appreciate efforts at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to bring closure to the debate over regulating the Internet. Providing certainty in this area will encourage the deployment of new broadband services and the jobs that go with them. But comments today by FCC Commissioner Julius Genachowski and his plan for the Commission to adopt a Net Neutrality Order at its December 21st Open Meeting just create more uncertainty. We share the views of Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker that the decision of “whether the Internet should be regulated is a decision best left to the directly elected representatives of the American people.”
Ensuring the deployment of new broadband lines and high-speed wireless data services is critical to manufacturers across the nation – these are the companies that can create the jobs we need to strengthen our economy. In the end, Congress needs to step in and adopt a comprehensive broadband policy, and it should be aimed at the deployment of services, open access and smart resource allocation, including policies that:
- Remove barriers to entry that prevent broadband providers from offering high-speed information services to homes and businesses;
- Balance the need for regulations against the potential to dampen private industry’s incentive to invest in broadband technology;
- Encourage federal and state regulators to monitor the rollout of broadband services;
- Support a federal framework to ensure fair, technology-neutral competition for all providers; and
- Allow for the continued public/private collaboration to improve the security of the network through incentive-based legislative and regulatory tools.
In the words of Commissioner Baker, “We all believe in an open Internet. It is open today, it is fast moving, and it serves as a vibrant growth engine for our economy and job creation. Let’s not rush to undermine it.”
Dorothy Coleman is vice president of tax and domestic economic policy for the National Association of Manufacturers.