In the wake of the FCC releasing its un-finalized Staff Report on the AT&T and T-Mobile merger, Geoffrey Manne of Forbes writes:
As everyone knows by now, AT&T’s proposed merger with T-Mobile has hit a bureaucratic snag at the FCC. The remarkable decision to refer the merger to the Commission’s Administrative Law Judge (in an effort to derail the deal) and the public release of the FCC staff’s internal, draft report are problematic and poorly considered. But far worse is the content of the report on which the decision to attempt to kill the deal was based.
Over at the Wall Street Journal, columnist L. Gordon Crovitz calls the proposed deal between the two telecom companies a “private-sector solution to a government-created problem” — specifically, a lack of spectrum for wireless:
We live in an era when innovation in technology requires more regulatory humility. If a company wants to serve consumers better by risking its capital to buy spectrum through an acquisition, it should be allowed to proceed. Company executives can then be blamed if they either underinvest or overinvest in spectrum. FCC lawyers should stick to writing briefs.
So long as regulators apply rules for mature industries to new technologies, we will have problems such as spectrum scarcity and industries kept artificially inefficient. Until regulators change their ways, blame a meddling FCC when calls get dropped on your mobile phone.
Meanwhile, on their blog, the the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (who are also IIA members) are disappointed in the White House:
The President and the FCC say they want to see mobile broadband deployed throughout the nation. Mr. Obama certainly needs the jobs that come with broadband investment for his re-election effort. Yet, the administration works to stop a merger that would help to achieve these goals.
And Nicole Palya Wood, Legislative Director of fellow IIA Member the National Grange is confused by the FCC’s stance that investment in expanding broadband won’t create jobs:
Two weeks ago, the FCC created a new $4.5 billion broadband fund and the National Grange celebrated this reform of the Universal Service Fund for dedicated broadband. What I find confusing is that the FCC claimed this investment in wireline broadband to 7 million new potential customers, would create “approximately 500,000 jobs and $50 billion in economic growth.” However, their staff report on the merger rejects the argument by AT&T that an investment of billions to deploy 4G mobile broadband service to 55 million more Americans over the next 6 years would help to create jobs. Does that mean that once again, it is okay for big government (armed with my tax dollars) to come in riding on the white horse of job creation, but when big business tries to do it somehow the increased commerce they create disappears?