A little over a decade ago, I joined Comcast to help build a new business that was going to take on one of the most concentrated markets in communications – data services to businesses – and I’ve been working ever since to bring new and innovative products and services to business customers. Business data markets are engines of economic growth and job creation and competition in them is just as critical as in residential markets.
Today, more than ever before, the incumbent telcos like AT&T and Verizon are facing robust competition from cable companies like ours, as well as from CLECs, fiber providers and others. The marketplace for dedicated business data services has become increasingly competitive in the past few years. We are now doing everything from creating intranets for multi-location businesses like healthcare facilities and school districts, to providing "backhaul" links for wireless carriers, to enabling banks to set up private connections for ATMs and creating incredible experiences for fans at stadiums like those in Atlanta and Sacramento. Comcast alone has invested over $5 billion this decade to be a new competitor in these markets.
It doesn’t just take investment, hard work and good business sense to succeed in this market. It is also essential to have policies that support investment and innovation to keep the benefits of competition flowing to consumers. The proposals in the latest FCC order, which minimize burdensome and outdated regulations, are needed to make sure private industry keeps investing in the necessary infrastructure for this marketplace.
Light-touch regulation will continue to promote the surge in entry and investment by new competitors and encourage innovation, such as the deployment of Ethernet services that are driving price reductions and increasing service quality. And consumers benefit with faster wireless Internet access at their favorite café or while they watch their favorite team; schools and universities have better connectivity; and doctors to have instant access to patient medical records.
The FCC’s goal should be to encourage network investment, innovation and competition. The proposed order will do just that. It will help ensure that all providers can obtain a return on investment to fund further network enhancements and expansions. Competition will continue to flourish, and American businesses and their customers will continue to reap the benefits.
The proposed order will encourage greater network investment in less-populated areas and help bridge the digital divide in this country as well. Just as consumers in small towns often lack access to cutting-edge broadband technologies, the same is true for businesses in these communities—and for schools, libraries, and other anchor institutions. Comcast and others are making strides in offering faster and more competitive business broadband services throughout the country. And with better broadband connectivity, businesses and anchor institutions in these areas will be able to seize new economic opportunities and create more jobs.
We appreciate the FCC’s commitment to affirming and expanding pro-investment policies that have allowed us to bring more competition to cities and towns across the country. With this regulatory framework, Comcast will continue to invest in new facilities and services and will continue to serve as a key driver of competition in the years ahead, providing the innovative solutions that will drive American business growth and success from Main Street shops to Downtown office towers.