Sunday, April 25, 2010

USA - Proposed Net Neutrality Regulations Could Lead to Decline in Employment

[prnewswire] Today, economist Coleman Bazelon of The Brattle Group released a new report, "The Employment and Economic Impacts of Network Neutrality Regulation: An Empirical Analysis," that highlights the effects proposed net neutrality regulations would have on the broadband industry and the U.S. economy. The research was sponsored by Mobile Future, the non-profit, non-partisan coalition of technology businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals dedicated to advocating for an environment in which innovations in wireless technology and services are enabled and encouraged.

The study found that the net neutrality regulations currently under consideration by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would negatively impact the broadband sector and job growth in the U.S.

Some key findings from the report:

* Revenue growth in the broadband sector could slow by about one-sixth over the next decade;
* Broadband sector jobs lost could be expected to total 14,217 in 2011, growing to 342,065 jobs by 2020;
* Economy-wide, 65,404 jobs could be put in jeopardy in 2011, with the total economy-wide impact growing to 1,452,943 jobs affected by 2020.

Today, 95% of the U.S. population can get fixed broadband at home, 98% have access to 3G mobile broadband services, and nearly two-thirds have adopted broadband. The majority of that adoption to date has been on fixed broadband networks, but over the next decade, mobile broadband is expected to be the main source of broadband growth. Consequently, it would bear the largest share of the economic burden caused by network neutrality regulations. In 2008, mobile broadband lines accounted for about one-quarter of all broadband lines, but would likely account for more than half of the losses over the coming decade if the proposed network neutrality regulations are put into place.

"The paper empirically examines the potential impacts of network neutrality regulations on revenue and employment in the broadband sector. The analysis finds that any constraining form of network neutrality regulations would limit broadband expansion, thereby limiting job creation and growth in the wireless sector," explains author Coleman Bazelon of The Brattle Group. "Broadband is the life-blood of economic growth. Any change in the rules restricting broadband providers should be carefully considered as the country searches for ways to get people back to work in sustainable jobs."

The wireless sector currently employs more than 260,000 Americans directly and 2.4 million indirectly -- from applications developers to retail store workers to network engineers. Together, their work contributes $100 billion annually to our nation's GDP. The prospect of lost broadband sector jobs being absorbed into other parts of the Internet economy is remote, as broadband firms employ more U.S. citizens per dollar of revenue than Internet content firms.

"The FCC recently laid out an ambitious plan to ensure that every American has access to broadband, but there are several factors, including potential net neutrality regulations, that could derail or deter progress toward many of the broadband plan's key economic objectives," said Mobile Future Chairman Jonathan Spalter. "Broadband deployment has been a boon to the economy even through this period of recession. The tremendous growth we have seen to date has occurred in an environment that encourages investment and innovation. As the Commission moves forward on these challenging issues, it is imperative that policymakers resist policies that could put economic growth and recovery at risk."

Proposed Net Neutrality Regulations Could Lead to Decline in U.S. Employment
see also report

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