Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

Ho, ho, ho...hum

I await today's FCC Triennial Review decision with all the anticipation and excitement of a Loverboy reunion concert at a local mall.

The decision is strikingly irrelevant to the marketplace today. It is as if the federal buggywhip administration came out with regulations just after the introduction of the Model-T. Of course, the buggywhip regulations would have some effect on the buggywhip manufacturers and consumers who did not yet have a Model-T, but the action has shifted to the automobile industry. Here, the action is not in compelled sharing of the legacy copper network, but in VoIP, fiber-to-the-home and -to the curb and wireless broadband.

To be sure, today's decision will have real reverberations. It will determine the allocations of regulatory rents between ILEC's and CLEC's. It will increase (or reduce) the risk premium for capital investment in the sector based on the signal its sends about the possibility of confiscation-by-regulation. It will set the tone on how long we will continue to rely on regulatory lobbying determine the success of business models. By all accounts, the answers to these questions will be depressingly familiar. The agony of the unbundling and pricing regime will be with us for some good time least until the D.C. Circuit gets the next whack at it. But, other than for the signals it sends, it is tough to care.

posted by Ray Gifford @ 10:17 AM | The FCC