Clyburn: FCC Needs To Insure Speed, Price Competition

FCC Commissioner wants to ensure that there at least two broadband offerings in every market
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FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn plans to tell the House Energy & Commerce Committee that the national broadband plan should make sure there are least two broadband offerings in every market to insure price and speed competition.

That is according to a copy of her prepared written testimony. "Competition is the lifeblood of investment, innovation, and affordable prices," she tells the committee, adding that absent that competition, cable operators and others have no incentive to improve their service or facilities.

She referred to a cable executive who she said recently told investors "there is simply no need for the company to roll out the faster Internet speeds available today in areas where it does not have competition from another high-speed provider."

She said the same goes for price. "There is little question that where there is limited or no competition, consumers pay higher prices for broadband." She referred to recent price increases for basic service, though she did not single anyone out.

"When these across-the-board increases occur, our role as stewards of the public interest requires us to examine the market carefully and take appropriate action where necessary."

In her statement on the release of the broadband plan, Clyburn talked of a fourth major concern--the impact the proposed broadcast spectrum reclamation proposal could have on diversity. That concern was not echoed in her prepared testimony.

"That should not be read as an indication that the issue is less important," said a source close to Clyburn, who added that she would work within the commission to insure that the issue continued to get attention. "She was focusing on issues that would require congressional action at the outset," said the source.

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