The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is preparing to designate spectrum for 5G this summer, a step that will help establish America’s global leadership in next generation technologies. Meeting the 5G challenge will require building new fiber connections to thousands of 5G sites. Similarly, American businesses across the country need more fiber connections. To meet these challenges we will need FCC policies that incent companies to invest billions of dollars in the newest and fastest technologies, particularly fiber optic connections. To get to the right policies, the commission should pay particular attention to past strategies – both those that have worked and those that didn’t.
Sustainable competition comes from facilities-based providers, not resellers. As FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a recent interview, “you want to create an environment where people are going head to head…how can you ever win if you have to buy your capacity from your competitor?”
Some argue that increasing FCC price controls over business data services will help ensure rapid deployment of connectivity for 5G cell sites. Very recent history directly and emphatically contradicts such claims. In particular, 4G mobile deployment has been an unmitigated success in the U.S., bringing innumerable benefits to consumers and businesses in a very short period of time. In just two years, from 2009 to 2011, 4G mobile broadband availability from multiple providers increased from nearly zero to more than 70 percent of the U.S. population, according to national broadband map data.