Does FCC Have Broadband Napoleon Complex?


Does the FCC have a Napoleon complex when it comes to proving it is big enough to handle the broadband challenge? Well, sort of.Invoking everyone from Shakespeare to Napoleon, FCC broadband advisor Blair Levin said Tuesday that any of the FCC’s proposed solutions in the national broadband plan have to live in a real world where those solutions will require “substantial private investment.”Speaking at a broadband conference in Washington, Levin said that “any viable solution to better, faster broadband requires substantial private investment,” and that “if there is no indication in our record that a proposed solution will promote such investment, then that solution is a theoretical exercise, not a viable answer.”While most everyone agrees that advancing broadband distribution and adoption is a plan worth having, one of the cable and telecom industry’s biggest concerns is that the specific government actions to effectuate that plan could wind up discouraging the very private investment it depends on.Levin quoted a Napoleonic take on the part of that iconic “grant me the serenity” prayer about accepting the things we cannot change and changing the things we can: “[I]n order to govern, the question is not to follow a more or less valid theory but to build with whatever materials are at hand. The inevitable must be accepted and turned to advantage,” said Napoleon by way of Levin.