In a paean to deregulation, a group of top telecommunication companies and trade associations sent a letter to the White House Friday, complaining that the Federal Communications Commission isn't doing enough to reduce federal rules.
Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner Cable and Verizon joined organizations like CTIA and Broadband for America in arguing that the FCC, which regulates all of them, is not sufficiently following President Obama's order to review, and if necessary, cut regulations.
While the group lauded FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's pledge to review the agency's rules, current efforts are "plainly insufficient to carry out the President's vision of meaningful regulatory reform," the letter reads. The companies go on to call for a "far more rigorous and comprehensive effort to ensure that the governing regulatory framework is appropriately tailored to today's broadband marketplace, and that outdated and needlessly burdensome rules do not stand in the way of continued investment and innovation."
The FCC's regulatory framework is unsuited for a "dynamic" modern marketplace, the group asserts, and then goes on to outline half a dozen proposals to encourage broadband deployment.
The companies say the FCC should rely less on regulations and more on market forces.
"Markets adapt far more quickly to change than regulators; indeed, the FCC's rules frequently risk becoming obsolete as soon as the ink is dry," the letter states. "The FCC therefore should supplant market forces only where there is demonstrable evidence of market failure and/or consumer harm."
The companies accuse the FCC of relying on speculation rather than facts, and calls on the agency to make decisions more quickly. Also on the list? Admonitions to "embrace a renewed respect for the limits of agency authority" and "yield to more competent authorities," including a specific call for the FCC to stay out of merger processes that the Department of Justice is also involved in.
The letter concludes by urging the FCC to immediately slash regulations, including what the group calls "innovation-destroying technology mandates" and "needlessly burdensome" reporting requirements.
An FCC spokesperson declined to comment.
The letter was signed by representatives of AT&T, CTIA, Comcast, NCTA, Time Warner Cable, the U.S. Telecom Association, and Verizon. The honorary co-chairs of Broadband for America, including former FCC Chairman Michael Powell, also signed the document.