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Extreme Networks: mHealth Reduces Hospital Stays: March WOW Wireless at Work

While the positive financial impact of mobile health, or mHealth, helps hospitals and patients, Extreme Networks’ Director of Healthcare Solutions Bob Zemke says the real benefit of mHealth is helping patients spend less time in a hospital.

That Didn’t Take Long …

The FCC has yet to release the Net Neutrality Order and we are already seeing in the New York Times mobile providers around the globe trying to capitalize on the expected loss of investment and innovation in the U.S. wireless market.

In a sadly foreseeable development, reports surfaced that European telecom executives believe that the FCC’s decision means that their carriers could “jump ahead in developing new businesses … while their U.S. peers are mired in regulatory uncertainty.”

One executive gloated about the opportunities around the Internet of Things and connected life: “There is a real opportunity to re-launch European innovation in the so-called industrial Internet.  A window will exist for Europe to take the lead in connected devices if policymakers set the right net neutrality rules.”

A window for the United States to keep its lead in 4G can still happen if Congress moves quickly to end the uncertainty and doubt surrounding the FCC’s action.

Just when we should be celebrating the near-nationwide deployment of 4G, and as wireless carriers are engaged in fierce, disruptive competition, America’s wireless industry now must step back and re-assess their investment strategies in the face of a new era of far-ranging and uncertain (indeed, unknowable) regulation that the FCC has ushered in.

The investment harms from a Title II regime are real, and the only question is just how significantly our mobile leadership will suffer as a result.

U.S. wireless carriers invested $260 billion in the last decade, and that doesn’t include the over $90 billion spent to purchase spectrum at auctions.  Let’s pull out one year for additional context.  In 2013, U.S. carriers spent about four times more on network infrastructure per subscriber than the rest of the world.

The decisions that carriers make to invest at this level provided Americans and our economy with tangible, real-world benefits.  This amount of investment means our wireless 4G LTE networks cover more people (nearly all of the U.S., compared to just over half of the E.U.), offer faster speeds (30 percent faster than Europe), and see more use (twice as much data than in the E.U.).  The wireless economy accounts for nearly four million jobs – with good salaries – and that positions the U.S. to be at the forefront of mobile innovation for years to come.

Capital-intensive companies make investment decisions based on a number of factors, including regulatory trends and certainty.

But some parties chose to mischaracterize data and gloss over actualities in their fervor for increased government involvement in the mobile Internet.  They point to the fact that the FCC only classified mobile broadband as a Title I service in 2007, suggesting implicitly in a filing before the agency and explicitly in a blog post that Title II applied to wireless broadband prior to that – and then cherry-pick data to try to argue that Title II reclassification would not only fail to harm capital spending, but actually increase it.

This is simply false.  Just because the FCC waited until 2007 to formally declare mobile broadband to be a Title I service does not mean that it was a Title II service before that.  The FCC had never treated mobile broadband as a utility service and the Commission’s 2007 order merely provided explicit analytical support for its pre-existing regulatory approach.  In fact, new and novel mobile wireless services have been shielded from monopoly era, Title I mandates since 1993, when Congress adopted a deregulatory approach to mobile wireless services.

Thus, using 2007’s decision as some sort of demarcation line makes no sense as in any analysis of wireless providers’ historical investment.  A more logical demarcation point might be 2002, when the FCC classified cable broadband as an information service, a decision that signaled a clear recognition that the agency would treat all forms of broadband as Title I services.  Carriers began deploying wireless broadband a year later, and the data show that mobile broadband has been a bigger driver of capital investment than wireless voice.

As a refresher on the facts, from 1992 and 2002, when cellular licenses converted from analog to 2G digital technology, carriers invested $138.8 billion.  From 2003 to 2013, with the introduction and widespread deployment of 3G and 4G mobile broadband networks wireless carriers invested $284 billion according to Census Bureau data.  Comparing investment between those ’92-’02 and ’03-’13 periods, whether using real or nominal dollars, wireless carriers invested significantly more to deploy mobile broadband.

BlogChart1Using constant 2013 dollars, mobile broadband-era investment was 63 percent higher than in the voice-centric wireless era – $314.5 billion compared to $193.3 billion.


Will wireless providers stop investing entirely under the FCC’s new regulations?  Of course not.  Because mobile broadband has never been classified as a Title II service or subject to such open-ended regulatory mandates, we just don’t know yet the order of magnitude decline in capital investment.

But we do know that more regulations decrease investment, not simply as a matter of textbook economics, but because we can look across the Atlantic to see the results of a failed experiment in heavy-handed government involvement in the mobile industry.  Over the past four years – as LTE technology became available, U.S wireless carriers invested 74% more in their networks on a per capita basis than mobile operators in the EU5 as well as on an overall basis ($121.2 billion versus $69.7 billion).  Thanks to this investment, U.S. carriers have blanketed the country in 4G already, reaching 98% of all Americans, while LTE coverage in Europe only reached 63% last year, and is not expected to reach 83% until 2020 – eleven years after the launch of Europe’s first LTE system.

We welcome a debate on the appropriate level of government involvement in wireless networks, but let’s move beyond unsupported claims that greater regulation won’t have any impact on wireless investment.

Patient-First Health Care By Wirelessly Connecting Doctors and Americans: March WOW Policy Point

From improving communications between doctors and patients to relaying real-time data about a patient’s health, wirelessly connected devices empower people to take control of their health and wellness.

CTIA Statement After the FCC Vote on the Open Internet Proceeding

Following the FCC vote on the Open Internet proceeding, I said: 

“The FCC’s Net Neutrality decision was disappointing and unnecessary: consumers across the U.S. have – and will always have – access to an open mobile Internet. By ignoring the fundamental differences in wireless networks and disregarding the intense competition throughout the ...

CTIA Statement on the Reintroduction of the Internet Tax Freedom Act in the Senate

Following the reintroduction of the Internet Tax Freedom Act in the Senate, I said:

“Since the Internet Tax Freedom Act was first enacted almost 17 years ago, ITFA protected American consumers from having their broadband access subject to the myriad of discriminatory taxes and fees that apply to traditional telecommunications services, ...

CTIA Response to the Introduction of the FCC Process Reform Act

Following the introduction of the FCC Process Reform Act in the Senate, I said:

“CTIA welcomes introduction of Senator Heller’s bill. The FCC Process Reform Act and the FCC Consolidated Reporting Act are each much-needed improvements to the FCC’s processes and on their own or as part of a package would ...

CTIA Statement on the Reintroduction of the Wi-Fi Innovation Act in the Senate

Following the reintroduction of the Wi-Fi Innovation Act in the Senate, I said:

“CTIA appreciates Senator Rubio’s and Senator Booker’s leadership in pushing to make additional spectrum available for unlicensed use. Freeing additional spectrum in the 5 gigahertz band will help meet Americans’ increasing demand for mobile Internet access and support ...

Mobile Usage Continues to Increase + Projections Say Skyrocketing Demand = More Spectrum Required

Earlier this week, Cisco published its Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Forecast Update 2014-2019 and its VNI Mobile Forecast Highlights 2014-2019. This latest data once again confirms two trends with important implications for spectrum policy: more people using more devices and more data-heavy applications are ...

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