Surge of Broadband Investment Threatened by Utility Regulation

Patrick Brogan

U.S. broadband providers invested $78 billion in network infrastructure in 2014, according to a new analysis of capital expenditures data for wireline, wireless and cable broadband providers. The 2014 investment expenditure was $3 billion, or 4 percent, greater than the $75 billion invested in 2013 and $14 billion, or 22 percent, greater than the $64 billion invested just five years ago in 2009 amidst the financial crisis.Of the 2014 total, the wireline industry invested $28 billion, or 36 percent of the industry aggregate, compared to 43 percent for wireless and 21 percent for cable.

From 1996 through 2014, broadband providers have made $1.4 trillion in capital investments with wireline providers investing more than $720 billion, or 52 percent of this total, compared to 32 percent for wireless and 16 percent for cable. These surging investment levels have taken place during a period of light regulation, which has come to an abrupt end with the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision(link is external) to impose public utility rules on broadband providers. It is difficult to predict the near-term impact of this decision on investment, but numerous economic analyses(link is external) forecast negative long-term consequences on investment, innovation and other long-term economic benefits that come with broadband investment. Continue reading

Google says: Net Neutrality ensures right to equally slow content

As telecoms trade groups file briefs in Federal courts, objecting to the FCC’s classification of ISPs at “common carriers,” (as they did with the railroads, long ago, when Rockefeller was hustling the lines to screw his competitors), Google pointed out that all Net Neutrality means is the right for all content to be served equally slowly.

Milo Medin, a VP at Google Fiber, highlighted some of the ways in which policy could improve access to abundant broadband. His comments were reported on Fierce Telecom. Continue reading

HBO, Showtime, and Sony want to buy fast lanes for their web TV services

The FCC acknowledges that all packets are not equal, and that some can benefit from a little prioritization over other packets that are not time sensitive. OTT providers can take advantage and benefit from this fact to deliver a quality of service equivalent to the incumbent providers.

By Jacob Kastrenakes and Ben Popper

Online television is taking off in a major way, and now some of the biggest providers are looking for assurances that they can keep delivering their content reliably. According toThe Wall Street JournalHBOShowtime, and Sony have all been speaking with internet providers, including Comcast, about the possibility of being treated as “specialized services,” separating them out from other internet traffic and essentially giving them a fast lane to consumers. Though fast lanes are explicitly prohibited under the FCC‘s new net neutrality rules, these fast lanes actually fall in a strange gray area that’s yet to be explored. Continue reading

Critics warn feds will choke off online TV

By Julian Hattem

Opponents of new regulations from the Federal Communications Commission are warning that the agency will inadvertently ruin the future of TV.

In comments filed to the FCC this week, industry and advocacy groups warned that the plan would unnecessarily interfere with the free market and stunt the growth of a nascent service. Continue reading

Rural Tennesseans Limited in Internet Choices

Jamie McGee,
Tullahoma, Tennessee

Tullahoma, Tennessee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s usually between the 10th and the 15th day of the month when Clifton and Joanna Miller’s satellite Internet account hits its data cap. Clifton, a lawyer, and Joanna, a sixth-grade math teacher, are unable to work from home. Their 16-year-old daughter, who depends on access for homework, takes a laptop to her grandmother’s house nearby to complete her assignments until a new month begins.

The Millers’ house is less than a mile from Tullahoma‘s city limit, but under state law, the Tullahoma Utilities Board cannot extend its high-speed fiber Internet network outside its electric service footprint. They would settle for basic broadband from other providers, but those companies — AT&T and Charter Communications — don’t reach his neighborhood. Continue reading

CenturyLink, Frontier, TDS and others remain divided on new net neutrality rules

English: Frontier Communications logo at Front...

English: Frontier Communications logo at Frontier Building Rochester, New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL), Frontier Communications and TDS, three telcos that have a long heritage of serving Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets, are taking diverging paths on what they think about the FCC‘s passing of new rules to reclassify broadband service under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act and Section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

Serving as the third largest ILEC that serves a mix of both large metros down to rural markets, CenturyLink has taken a similar stance as its larger ILEC brothers AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ), saying that the new order could have achieved its goals without a new source of regulation.   Continue reading

US Telecom: FCC’s Move Has Global Implications

Logo of the United States Telecom Association.

Logo of the United States Telecom Association. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The FCC’s decision to reclassify broadband Internet access as a telecommunications service will now subject the Internet to international telecom rules, as governed by the United Nations and the ITU, and could prompt other countries to implement similar regulations, claims the head of the major lobbying organization for telecom companies. (See FCC Adopts Title II Internet Regs for Net Neutrality.)

Walter McCormick, president and CEO of United States Telecom Association (USTelecom) , says his organization will be filing a court appeal as soon as details of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ‘s new rules are made public, claiming the federal government is overstepping its authority in a way that is “unnecessary and unwise.” Continue reading