Broadband Investment Increases By $1.5 Billion In 2017

Date: October 24, 2018
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Broadband Investment Increases By $1.5 Billion In 2017

Broadband is an economic driver.  It supports 10.8 million U.S. jobs and is responsible for $1.6 trillion in investment since 1996.  As the world becomes more dependent on the Internet, broadband investment is critical to modernizing the country’s network infrastructure and expanding access, particularly in rural America.

Such investments however, are put at risk by onerous Depression-era regulations that wrap the Internet in red tape.  Since the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which repealed the Title II classification, investment has rallied, increasing by $1.5 billion in 2017.  In 2015 and 2016, during the time the Internet was classified under Title II, investment decreased by $3.2 billion, marking the first time that investment fell since the 2008 recession.

Broadband for America supports a free and open Internet that ensures everyone has access, but antiquated Title II regulations do not fit the bill and jeopardize broadband investment and innovation.  Congress must take comprehensive and bipartisan action in partnership with stakeholders to enact a common-sense solution to net neutrality, that protects the resiliency and future economic prosperity of the nation’s network.

Broadband Investment Rebounds With Repeal Of Title II Internet Regulations:

“Since 1996, Wireline, Wireless, And Cable Broadband Providers Have Invested More Than $1.6 Trillion To Build The Competitive And Innovative Broadband Infrastructure Underlying Our Nation’s World Leading Internet Economy.” (Patrick Brogan, “U.S. Broadband Investment Rebounded In 2017,” USTelecom, 10/18/18)

In 2017 With The Restoring Internet Freedom Order, Broadband Investment Increased By $1.5 Billion To $76.3 Billion. “USTelecom’s annual broadband capital expenditure report (1996-2017) shows broadband provider capital expenditures grew to $76.3 billion in 2017, compared to $74.8 billion in 2016, an increase of $1.5 billion.” (Patrick Brogan, “U.S. Broadband Investment Rebounded In 2017,” USTelecom, 10/18/18)

Broadband Investment Fell $3.2 Billion In The Years Title II Regulations Were Imposed On The Internet. “The 2017 increase comes after a two-year decline during which annual broadband capital expenditures fell a total of $3.2 billion, from $78.0 billion in 2014 to $74.8 billion in 2016.  This spending dip began when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) moved to impose common carrier regulatory classification – commonly known as Title II – on broadband providers in 2015.” (Patrick Brogan, “U.S. Broadband Investment Rebounded In 2017,” USTelecom, 10/18/18)

Industry Experts Highlight Harm Of Title II Regulatory Approach On Broadband Innovation & Investment:

Former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell: “While I Was An FCC Commissioner, I Kept My Grandmother’s Black 1950s-Era Rotary-Dial Phone On My Desk.  It Was A Constant Reminder Of How Title II Freezes Innovation In Place.  Applied To The Modern Internet, This Utility-Style Approach Could Threaten The Growth Of An Industry That Supports Nearly 11 Million Jobs And Billions Of Dollars In Economic Investment.” (Robert McDowell, “Lawmakers Must Level The Field For All Players In The Internet Ecosystem,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/19/18)

Greater Green Bay Chamber Vice President Of Government & Community Relations Jayme Sellen: “Instead Of Trying To Put Handcuffs On Internet Innovation, Congress Must Come To A Bipartisan, Comprehensive Legislative Solution To Protect The Internet … Without A 21st-Century Fix For This 21st Century Technological Problem, Those Title II Depression-Era Utility Regulations Will Discourage Investment, Hinder Innovation And Put Jobs At Risk.” (Jayme Sellen, “Depression-Era Regulation Not The Answer For Free And Open Internet,” Green Bay Press Gazette, 7/13/18)

Florida Internet & Television President Brad Swanson: “For The Brief Time Title II Regulations Were In Place, Immediate Evidence Of Their Destructive Influence Mounted … At A Time When Consumers’ Demand For Connectivity Is Exponentially Growing, The Last Thing The Government Should Do Is Stunt The Industry’s Ability To Invest In New Broadband Infrastructure Or Technologies.” (Brad Swanson, “Net Neutrality Debate Could Strike A Blow To Florida’s Economy, Local Job Creation,” Sun-Sentinel, 7/17/18)

Former Michigan State Senator Mat Dunaskiss: “While Michigan Has Already Made Inroads Toward Expanding Access To Broadband, Timely And Widespread Availability To Broadband In All Corners Of The State Is Still Jeopardized By Hampered Investments As A Result Of The Depression-Era Regulations.” (Mat Dunaskiss, “Internet Access Drives Economy And Jobs,” The Detroit News, 7/31/18)

Alaska Department Of Commerce, Community And Economic Development Mike Navarre: “Plain And Simple, The Debate Over Net Neutrality Needs To Be Settled At The Federal Level.  The Most Meaningful Way State Government Can Ensure A Free And Open Internet Is To Focus On Something We Can Actually Accomplish: Investment In Infrastructure To Expand Internet Capacity, Particularly In Rural Alaska.” (Mike Navarre, “Let’s Focus On Internet Issues Alaska Policymakers Can Fix,” Juneau Empire, 7/16/18)

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