Indeed, now-former FCC commissioner Michael Copps has always been one of the most vocal leaders of what, back in 2007, I called the "Talking Broadband Down Crowd". I explained then, and many times since, why the claims of Mr. Copps and his allies were not factually grounded -- but, in the service of advocating broadband regulation, the "talking broadband down crowd" persisted in downplaying U.S. broadband progress. Here is an March 2013 FSF blog entitled, "Europe Lags Behind U.S. in Broadband Speeds and Connectivity," with facts and figures refuting the "U.S. Lags Europe" storyline.
In the face of accumulating new data, I have the sense that former Commissioner Copps already may have begun to abandon the "talking broadband down" argument in favor of other (equally unpersuasive) arguments.
In any event, he should. Because now comes a newly-published study by Roslyn Layton, PhD Fellow for the Center for Communication, Media and Information Studies at Aalborg University, and Michael Horney, a Research Associate at the Free State Foundation. Their study, entitled, "Innovation, Investment, and Competition in Broadband and Impact on America's Digital Economy," is a must-read for anyone interested in broadband policy. This most certainly includes, of course, those interested in the FCC's net neutrality proceeding.
I commend the entire Mercatus study for your close attention. But in the meantime, here is a brief summary of their conclusions:
Presently, there is far too much loose talk about imposing public utility regulation on U.S. broadband providers under Title II of the Communications Act -- the same form of regulation imposed on the railroads in the late nineteenth century and Ma Bell throughout much of the twentieth century. I understand that Mr. Copps and his acolytes are serious about wanting the FCC to adopt this draconian approach. But my sense, perhaps wrongly, is that many of those suggesting that the FCC should adopt public utility regulation of broadband really don't believe the FCC would take such a fateful step or they don't really appreciate the consequences.
In either event, those urging such a course should read and carefully consider the new study by Aalborg University's Roslyn Layton and the Free State Foundation's Michael Horney.