Encouraging Announcement on Competition in Broadband Access

BY Heather Greenfield
February 19, 2014

Washington – The announcement by Google today that it will significantly expand its gigabit fiber networks is timely and hopefully will be a practical example of the benefits of competition in this area.  Google has selected nine metro areas for possible expansion.

The following is a statement that can be attributed to Ed Black, President & CEO of the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA):

“It is increasingly essential that all Americans have access to a high-quality, affordable Internet connection.  CCIA has long sought to support policies that encourage new entrants and competition, which can foster reasonable pricing and innovation.

“CCIA welcomes Google’s newly announced plans to significantly expand its gigabit fiber offerings.  This follows a recent announcement that C-Spire has its own plans for gigabit Internet access in three Mississippi communities that demonstrated the strongest interest.   As a raft of recent economic studies have illustrated, these new networks will be a boon not only to the cities served by these high-speed offerings but also the public at large who will benefit from new pockets of digital innovation and creativity.

“With meaningful broadband competition seriously lacking, more buildouts of high-speed networks are a positive development.  Over the past decade, the U.S. has fallen behind many developed economies in both overall broadband speeds and price-per-megabit.  Given the foundational importance of broadband as an input to the 21st century economy, this trend must be reversed.

“CCIA encourages all cities and towns to begin the process of becoming fiber ready.  By taking a few common sense steps, such as making necessary data about city infrastructure easily available and providing a streamlined process for achieving the necessary certifications and clearances, municipalities across the country can make it easier for companies such as Google and C-Spire to build new, high-speed networks.

“In Kansas City and Austin, where Google has built or is building gigabit networks, incumbent providers have aggressively lowered prices and increased broadband speeds in response to the new entry into the marketplace.  These offerings have attracted waves of entrepreneurs and capital into both cities.  We hope other companies will also seriously consider entering markets where insufficient competition exists.”

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