The FCC says that it is doing everything it can to promote greater competition between broadband providers. However, it would appear as though the competition isn’t quite living up to the expectation that the committee hoped for. This news comes as smaller broadband companies continue to chastise the Chairman Tom Wheeler, and the rest of the FCC for a lack of fair mechanisms put in place to actually promote competition between larger and smaller entities.
Wheeler pointed out that after an incredibly hard year for the committee, and the Internet as a whole, after a controversial decision on Net Neutrality that competition was going to have to play a “foundational” role in “the modern FCC.” He expanded on that thought process by pointing out that, “We’re not going to let up on protecting and promoting broadband competition…As I have made plain on innumerable occasions, competition is paramount.”
However, some people disagree. T-Mobile is currently arguing that the FCC is working against the smaller players by not allowing them to actually compete in the larger marketplace. This week, it is expected that Tom Wheeler and the FCC will rule against a provision that would put greater amounts of spectrum in the hands of smaller players like T-Mobile.
Right now, Verizon and AT&T have the biggest stakes in this game, and this is something that many believe is a fundamental problem with the system as it stands. There are too many big players with too much power, and those powers end up controlling the space as a whole. While this isn’t something that can really go away instantaneously, this is something that will undoubtedly be talked about for a very long time.
Wheeler said in a statement released this week that, “Small businesses, including women- and minority-owned businesses and rural service providers, should have the opportunity to share in this growth, but they have faced significant barriers to meaningful participation in the industry.” It was this statement though that invigorated the argument so greatly.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere came out vocally against those words, and pointed out that Wheeler and the FCC has done little to actually promote competition. He said in part, “Your recent blog proposes a low-band spectrum reserve that is too small to support a robustly competitive market and is really frustrating.”
The problem right now is that the big players in the market, like AT&T and Verizon, can outspend everyone else without any hesitation. So, no matter what they do in terms of actual innovation, or how little they actually do for innovation, the end result is AT&T or Verizon winning. This is a problem that many believe isn’t going anywhere, and small players like T-Mobile or Sprint are going to have to keep fighting hard to even earn a small place at the table.