In my post immediately below, I suggested that in the interest of stimulating new investment and the creation of new jobs, the candidates in tonight's presidential debate should prod the FCC to rule quickly that broadband networks will not be required to be unbundled and shared among competitors. Most analysts expect that such a ruling will have a very positive impact on the overall economy and employment.
Speaking of jobs, AT&T just announced last night that it plans to layoff 7400 additional people by the end of the year. No one likes to hear of job cuts anywhere, least of all, of course, those directly affected. Everyone wishes those laid off the best during the necessary transition to new positions. But the layoffs should not obsure the larger point: The way to create sustainable jobs is not through regulators establishing regimes based managed pricing regulatory arbitrage. Indeed, from the beginning, it was assumed that the FCC's UNE regime was intended to be a transitory, not permanent, managed competition device. It does no good--or makes no sense--to blame AT&T's job losses on a regulatory regime that was never intended to last as long as it has, and which has never been lawful for as long as it has lasted.
The reality is that we are entering an era in which we can anticipate competition among facilities-based providers that will be required to invest gazillions of dollars in new networks and in the people who will operate the networks and the innovative applications running on them. As I said yesterday, the overall economy will benefit greatly, if the regulators will get out of the way.