Friday, April 6, 2007

Government controls on Internet growth, broadband expansion would kill investment

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Art Brodsky’s commentary (‘‘Access to high-speed Internet is an economic matter,” March 16) told readers the phone and cable companies were keeping secrets. Not so.

At a Feb. 27 legislative hearing, they made it no secret that it is the forces of free enterprise that have fed the rapid development and expansion of the Internet and stimulated broadband deployment.

Maryland delegates recently were considering imposing government controls on Internet growth and broadband expansion. The phone and cable companies strongly opposed the idea because government regulation would kill investment and stifle innovation.

Internet regulation would leave Maryland consumers with a doubtful broadband future and limit their enjoyment of high-bandwidth applications, such as video-streaming, that are becoming commonplace in daily Internet experience. YouTube, the new and popular video-streaming site, in its infancy is already using as much bandwidth as the entire Internet did in 2000.

U.S. companies plan to invest some $70 billion this year upgrading broadband infrastructure. For every $100 million invested in new networks, as many as 1,000 new jobs are created. For Maryland’s economy and its consumers and businesses to get their fair share of that investment, the state must maintain a regulatory climate that’s enticing.

An unneeded overlay of burdensome government controls isn’t exactly appetizing.

Maryland needs broadband investment. Marylanders want the latest Internet innovations. Maryland will be well served by the wise decision delegates have made to forego net regulation.

Scott Cleland, Washington, D.C.

The writer is chairman of, a net neutrality forum funded by broadband companies.