Genachowski’s pro consumer failure is really a success

Karl Bode wrote a piece for Broadband DSL.com arguing that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius was a failure for consumers because of the chairman’s alleged timid approach to implementing strong net neutrality rules, meeting the goals of the national broadband plan, and declaring broadband to be a Title II telecommunications service.

Mr. Bode was very harsh in his assessment of Mr. Genachowski’s legacy at the FCC, but what he describes as a failure for consumers is a win for entrepreneurs, broadband companies, and their customers.  For example, by failing to have the court buy off on Mr. Genachowski’s argument that broadband is a Title II service, broadband providers were able to avoid onerous regulations that should be kept with old school public switched telephone service.  Imagine applying a fair and reasonable standard to pricing in a technology and marketing environment where enterprise customers want the ability to scale services to their demand needs only to find its broadband provider has to endure delays while the FCC assesses changes in his rates.

Or imagine a broadband carrier wants to market a certain package of services to certain end user customers only to be delayed as the FCC has to approve this change in service.  Consumer would suffer under a Title II regime because of the inability to get connected at a faster rate.

Mr. Bode also took issue with Mr. Genachowski’s approach to competition in the broadband industry, insinuating that Mr. Genachowski only gave competition lip service and did not establish a regulatory regime that would encourage competition.

What Mr. Bode and probably Mr. Genachowski continue to ignore is that competition has less to do with the number of firms in a market and more to do with whether those firms are price takers.  Consumers see mobile as a valid alternative for broadband access, especially in a climate where cord cutting at home has gotten more prevalent.  Competition for broadband access service is alive and well, whether in the form of DSL services from Verizon and AT&T; cable modem services from Comcast; or mobile services from T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, or MetroPCS.

The real competition on the Internet is not about broadband access, but about the number of data providers on the Internet, and that is a market that Mr. Genachowski and the august body at the FCC need dare not tread.

If there is a sub-par legacy left by Mr. Genachowski, it stemmed from him trying to give Mr. Bode and others in his “pro-consumer” camp what they wanted.

About Alton Drew

Alton Drew brings a straight forward and insightful brand of political market intelligence. Alton Drew graduated from the Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in economics and political science (1984); a Master of Public Administration (1993); and a Juris Doctor (1999). You can also follow Alton Drew on Twitter @altondrew.
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