Mobile

Mobile Future: Proposed Net Neutrality Regs Put Damper on Broadband Jobs, Revenue

4/23/2010 5:21 PM Eastern

Mobile Future, a group pushing for marketplace, rather than government, spurs to broadband deployment and adoption, says proposed net neutrality regulations will put a damper on jobs and revenue in the broadband sector.

That is according to a study by Brattle Group economist Coleman Bazelon and paid for by the group, which includes AT&T, various chambers of commerce, the Hispanic Technology & Telecommunications Partnership and others who have registered reservations about the FCC's plans.

According to Bazelon, the FCC's proposed expansion and codification of network neutrality guidelines, which would include a specific rule on nondiscrimination, could slow revenue growth in the broadband business by a sixth over the next two years, and result in the loss of almost 15,000 jobs in 2011 alone, over a third of a million broadband jobs in the next 10 years, and over 1.4 million jobs in the greater economy.

"The analysis finds that any constraining form of network neutrality regulations would limit broadband expansion, thereby limiting job creation and growth in the wireless sector," says Bazelon.

If Bazelon's name sounds familiar, it may be because he is the same economist whose study of the value of reclaimed broadcast spectrum to the government and in the hands of wireless carriers was submitted to the FCC to support reclaiming it from broadcasters.

"This industry funded research is based on deeply flawed assumptions, and amount to nothing more than anti-net neutrality propaganda," said Free Press Research director Derek Turner. Free Press has long argued that marketplace self-regulation is not sufficient to protect a free and open Internet. "The study's central premise that net neutrality rules would lower broadband industry revenues by one-sixth over the next decade incorrectly attributes the past impacts of telephone regulations on DSL growth, and erroneously assumes that light-touch net neutrality rules would have the same overstated impact. The Mobile Future study also completely ignores the practical reality that we have for years, and are now, living in a world of defacto-net neutrality, where revenues are soaring. AT&T was put under a strict net neutrality regime as a result of their merger with Bell South, and their revenues saw healthy growth during that time," says Turner.

"With network neutrality, content innovation will prosper, furthering demand for high-capacity, ubiquitous Internet access, which in turn will stimulate ISP investment and increase the need for and the value of more jobs," he said. "But without network neutrality, ISPs will be incentivized to reduce network investments and jobs, in order to make congestion the norm."