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On Meet the Press yesterday, Broadband for America Honorary Co-Chair Harold E. Ford, Jr. asked an important question: “Why not give the broadband community some certainty around new regulations or a lack of new regulations?” Such questions are important to keep in mind as the US Government considers regulatory changes possibly this year.

In “To Regulate or Not? The Penultimate Broadband Question,” Broadband for America highlighted a report by the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies that investigated how regulation influences investment in broadband infrastructure. In short, it was found that that the incentive to invest is not only affected by current regulations, but also by expectations regarding future regulatory interventions. If providers have more certainty that regulation will reduce the returns on investment in the future, then this signal of "strong" regulation curbs investment.

Deploying a high-speed network requires an enormous investment. Given the high levels of capital involved, the Phoenix Center report concluded that, “effective stimulus of broadband investment requires regulators not only to make prudent decisions today, but also to signal to investors that the future is a favorable investment climate…”

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