Some interesting quotes from FCC

Some interesting quotes from FCC Chairman Michael Powell’s Congressional testimony yesterday (from the New York Times):

“Broadband very likely holds the key for the long-term recovery of the telecommunications industry and for our nation’s long-term economic growth and its ability to compete on the global stage.”

“I’m not a libertarian, or I would not have taken this job.”

“It’s not regulation versus deregulation. We need to do both. We need to do both well.”

The last two may surprise some people, but they are entirely consistent with what Powell has said all along. People view him as an ideological conservative because he came into office talking about deregulation. In reality, he’s unusually respectful of government.

It’s the first quote that is really the problem. Sure, broadband is important. But statements like this create the impression that the fate of the US economy hangs on whether DSL and cable modem penetration grows. As it’s now being deployed, “broadband” is too slow, too expensive, too asymmetric, and too restricted to be the driver of economic growth that Powell and others envision. That’s the issue we should be debating.