Award Winning Blog

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Neutrality Regulatory Uncertainty and Wireless Carrier Capital Expenditures

            FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a host of “coin operated” researchers and their sponsors relentlessly claim network neutrality rule created substantial and measurable disincentives for wireless carriers to invest in infrastructure.  According to these stakeholders, regulatory uncertainty caused by the rules and judicial appeals to reverse them trump even the technology investment cycle.

            I never could understand how regulatory uncertainty occasioned by the appeal of the Restoring Internet Freedom has not had the same effect. Chairman Pai claims that investment has returned to pre-network neutrality levels thanks solely to his deregulatory efforts.  Never mind that these efforts have triggered the same kind of appellate litigation as when a prior Chairman sought to regulate broadband access.

            Wouldn’t it stand to reason that judicial appeals of deregulatory or regulatory initiatives would have the same disincentives?  Of course, it would, if one could creditably determine that network neutrality rules and litigation over them have a significant—or worst yet—a single and direct effect on network plant investment. 

            In several blog posts, I have stated the view that the cycle of next generation network investment matters regardless whether litigation exists.  Lo and behold here’s an article that confirms the obvious: carriers make substantial investments in next generation plant, such as 4G, then there is a lower investment burden as the new technology gets deployed and turned on. 

            Right now, after making a sizeable investment in 5G, Verizon can throttle down as it turns on its new network.  See Fierce Wireless, Amid 5G rollout, Verizon reduces spending on network (Oct. 23, 2018), available at:

            Someday, I hope stakeholders will realize that blatantly wrong assertions do not support their cause, nor does it convert skeptics.