Last June, I stated my case that FCC Chair Julius Genachowski is good for mobile marketing. Today, I re-iterate my case, though with a bit more guarded enthusiasm due to greater education on my part.
I originally was highly in favor of Network Neutrality which was one influence in my support for Genachowski. Since that time, I've had the opportunity to hear both sides of the story - especially after having a good chat with two representatives of the CTIA when we were all in Los Angeles for the Mobile Marketing Association Forum last November.
How would you feel if a complete stranger moved into your house, ran his business out of your house and make millions every month. Meanwhile, you're stuck with the mortgage payments, the utility bills, the food bills, and oh - by the way - you have to clean up after him. And you don't see a single penny of that money much less even get a thank you. I'm sure that you wouldn't even allow this stranger anywhere near your property. But what if the government said that you had to, and there was nothing you could do about it? That, my friends, is Network Neutrality in a nutshell.
The network infrastructure providers maintain that Google and others like them have made vast fortunes freeloading on their groundwork. Meanwhile companies like Global Crossing, Level 3, and Nortel Networks took a beating in recent years.
The FCC's recent inquiries into competition in the mobile wireless industry is another cause for raised eyebrows. As long as the inquiry remains an inquiry and does not devolve into intervention, then I'm okay with that. I believe in free market principles - not "fair market" principles. There is no such thing as "fair". Only little children and socialists believe that "fairness" is a reality.
So even with this dose of reality, I still am a fan of Julius Genachowski.
Genachowski's recent speech at the Innovation Economy Conference in Washington D.C. gives me reason for hope.
He displayed a fascinating insight when he equated his vision of the impact of universal broadband to the impact of universal electricity - something that we today take for granted (at least until the lights go out).
"Broadband is reshaping our economy and our country more fundamentally than any technology since electricity. Indeed, there are echoes in the current moment of the era when electricity became widely available in America, unleashing a torrent of innovation. Ubiquitous electricity extended the day into the night. It brought us refrigerators and washing machines; radios and televisions; phones, wired and wireless; data processors, then computers. These and other electricity-driven appliances transformed virtually everything about how we live and how we work."
"Ubiquitous high-speed broadband, like other transformative general purpose
technologies, can spark innovation of every kind -- many we can imagine, and even more we can’t. Indeed, broadband offers particularly powerful opportunities for accelerated innovation through the broad and fast collaboration and information-sharing it enables.
Because of its power to propel innovation, broadband can be our platform for economic prosperity and opportunity for all Americans. It can be our engine for enduring job creation and economic growth. Our Internet ecosystem has already created millions of jobs, and universal broadband can accelerate that. Studies show that increases in broadband penetration translate into increases in GDP." (my emphasis added)
"...we see huge opportunities -- and real risks -- around mobile broadband. Much of what we see suggests that mobile broadband can be the preeminent platform for innovation in the next decade. To be the global leader in innovation 10 years from now, we need to lead the world in wireless broadband."I think Genachowski "gets it." He clearly understands what's happening in the world today and where it is heading tomorrow.
Check out this quote from the closing of this speech:
"While invisible, spectrum is the lifeblood of our wireless networks and a critical part of our innovation infrastructure. In recent years, the FCC has authorized a three-fold increase in commercial spectrum. But experts anticipate a 30-fold increase in wireless traffic. Given that spectrum can take many years to reallocate and build out, if we don't start the process now, we'll pay a steep price in innovation down the road.I totally love the idea of opening up an unlicensed spectrum to facilitate innovation incubation. By lowering the barrier to broadband spectrum access, the FCC helps to make it easier for entrepreneurs to develop world-changing inventions.
To meet this spectrum challenge, the FCC will have to encourage more efficient uses of spectrum and devices through innovative spectrum policies. We’ll look at increasing spectrum flexibility and opening secondary markets for licensed use. And we’ll look to unlicensed spectrum as well, so that entrepreneurs and inventors have some open space in which to dream up the next miracle wireless technology.
By recognizing the economic value of broadband - including mobile wireless broadband, Genachowski bodes good news for the growth of the mobile marketing industry.
I'm not a starry-eyed follower of Genachowski, but so far so good.