Reclassifying Broadband as Telecoms Could Hurt Internet Industry, Prof Warns
Posted at 5:13 p.m. on June 6, 2014
Should the FCC reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service? It’s a key point to be resolved as the FCC contemplates its rewrite of net neutrality rules.
Christopher S. Yoo, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who came out with a study this week on European versus U.S. broadband deployment, said reclassification “could have adverse consequences for the U.S. Internet industry,” in an interview with Technocrat.
Basically, the European regulatory approach, which treats broadband like a utility, may have crimped broadband deployment there.
Yoo’s report says 82 percent of U.S. households in 2012 had access to networks of 25 megabytes per second compared to 54 percent of EU households.
And “disparities between European and U.S. broadband networks stemmed from differing regulatory approaches,” the report said:
Europe has relied on regulations that treat broadband as a public utility and focus on promoting service-based competition, in which new entrants lease incumbents’ facilities at wholesale cost (also known as unbundling). The U.S. has generally left buildout, maintenance, and modernization of Internet infrastructure to private companies and focused on promoting facilities-based competition, in which new entrants are expected to construct their own networks.
That all suggests that telephone-style regulation seems to defer investment in high-speed broadband while the U.S.’s light regulatory approach appears to be more effective in promoting it, Yoo said.