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US and other government policy interventions in broadband


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Diane Cornell, VP at Inmarsat, argues that national broadband policy considerations should be developed from an appreciation of the specific problems to be solved (for example, the need for national competitiveness, innovation, rural development, job creation, affordability and uptake issues) and should stem from defining the goals for broadband deployment. Government intervention has a major role to play, but governments should not "hold their thumbs" on the scale and subsidize unpromising approaches.

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US and other government policy interventions in broadband

  1. 1. U.S. and Other Government Intervention in the Broadband Market – Approaches, Implementation, and Impacts International Institute of Communications Telecommunications and Media Forum December 1, 2009 Diane Cornell Vice President, Government Affairs - Inmarsat
  2. 2. What problem(s) are you trying to solve? <ul><ul><li>National competitiveness/innovation? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rural deployment? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Affordability/uptake? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jobs creation? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All of the above (and more)? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Broadband market intervention tactics should flow from defining the goals </li></ul>
  3. 3. International Comparisons Can Help Inform Government Broadband Policies <ul><li>Focus should be on what approaches work to achieve defined goals </li></ul><ul><li>The point should be what approaches will further X country’s broadband goals – not who’s ahead of whom </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural, geographic and other differences among countries are obviously important, but still there are enough experiences out there now to make studies of different broadband policies useful </li></ul>
  4. 4. Public vs Private Sector <ul><ul><li>Private sector’s broadband deployment will likely be more cost effective, innovative and sustainable than Government-run networks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But Governments may need to play a role </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>in ensuring necessary inputs are available </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>in “jump-starting” research incentives & funding – where needed </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>in fostering affordability where economics do not support private sector solutions </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Governments Should Not Hold Their Thumbs on the Scale <ul><ul><li>Allowing the most efficient broadband solution to emerge for particular circumstances should lead to the most cost-effective approach </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>terrestrial “wireline” technologies will work best in many environments </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>terrestrial wireless is most cost effective for users seeking mobility or in less dense areas </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>satellite is the best solution for harder-to-reach areas </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If governments don’t subsidize less cost-effective options for a certain environment, more resource will be available to address other needs – like affordability </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Governments Have a Key Role in Ensuring Spectrum is Available for Wireless and Satellite Broadband Infrastructure <ul><ul><li>Spectrum inventory is a necessary initial step </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Longer-term spectrum planning is a critical tool </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Services and applications that can be effectively provided via fixed terrestrial infrastructure should be moved to “wired” infrastructure over time </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wireless services should be provided in spectrum that is most suitable for that service </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Terrestrial mobile wireless operators need spectrum low enough to cost-effectively support mobile services </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Satellite operators need globally harmonized spectrum in order to operate given their multi-national footprints </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Government’s Role in Spectrum <ul><ul><li>Reallocation/refarming will be necessary to provide for additional spectrum for broadband </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sharing techniques are controversial but should be encouraged in appropriate circumstances </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. What’s different about the United States’ broadband challenge? <ul><li>Less spectrum available for commercial operations than other nations </li></ul><ul><li>An extremely expensive and highly inefficient Universal Service framework that imposes a USF charge on all consumers </li></ul><ul><li>USG policies encouraging inter-modal facilities-based competition have resulted in multiple competing “wired” and wireless players in most markets </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Diane Cornell </li></ul><ul><li>Vice President, Government Affairs </li></ul><ul><li>Inmarsat Inc, Washington, D.C. </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>(202) 248-5155 </li></ul>