CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent slammed an opinion piece, “How to Get America Online”, which was published by New York Times.
In the piece, Susan Crawford, who has served as President Obama’s Special Assistant for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy, argues that access to Internet services in the United States is hindered by a regulatory environment that favors large corporations like AT&T and Verizon, leading to an anti-competitive environment that ultimately hurts consumers.
Crawford argues that “both the wireless and wired markets for high-speed Internet access have become heavily concentrated, and neither is subject to substantial competition nor oversight.”
“Companies like Time Warner Cable routinely get their way when they seek to prevent local officials from encouraging competition,” Crawford writes. “At the federal level, Verizon Wireless is keeping the F.C.C. in court arguing over the scope of its regulatory powers — a move that has undermined the agency’s authority.”
In a letter to the editor, Largent refutes Crawford’s claims, noting the wireless industry’s many achievments here in the United States.
“The United States has only 5 percent of the world’s wireless subscribers, yet we have almost half of the world’s LTE (Long Term Evolution) network subscribers,” Largent wrote, adding that Crawford “seems to ignore all this by making the unfounded and absurd suggestion that the United States is ceding its technological advantage to other countries.”
“The United States is the hub of wireless innovation. Ms. Crawford’s assertions simply do not comport with the reality,” Largent wrote.
Crawford argues that the results of the anti-competitive practices of the United States regulatory system are many.
“As a result, prices are too high and speeds too slow. A third of Americans opt not to buy high-speed Internet access at home, often because they can’t afford it,” Crawford wrote.
In a follow-up blog post, Largent says posits that 98 percent of Americans have access to 3G wireless service today, and more than 90 percent have access to 4G wireless service, adding that Bank of America Merrill Lynch recently reported the United States is currently responsible for 25 percent of the world’s wireless capital investment.
“That’s just the wireless service providers’ capital investment. It doesn’t count spending by companies that employ more than 519,000 people in wireless application-related jobs here in the U.S,” Largent argues. “It doesn’t include the spending by the many software, firmware and hardware companies that help make up the wireless ecosystem in the U.S., including the global manufacturers who have located their R&D facilities in Texas, California and other states.”
Largent goes on to champion the need for more spectrum, which he say “also means a significant economic boost.”
“By bringing 500 MHz of spectrum to market (as the FCC’s National Broadband Plan advocated), the U.S. will see an increase of: $166 billion in GDP; at least 350,000 new jobs; $23.4 billion in government revenues; and $13.1 billion in wireless applications and content sales,” Largent wrote.