By: Henry Rademacher
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr spoke on the importance of embracing policies that foster innovation at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention on November 15.
Early in Carr’s remarks, he declared that the internet has not just been a boon for the U.S. economy, but a fundamentally transformative force for good in the world.
“Not since the invention of the printing press has a technology more fundamentally advanced the principles of freedom and liberty,” he said.
Carr pointed out that light touch regulatory policies have been in place for the majority of the time the internet has played a substantial role in the U.S. economy. It is his belief, and that of many others, that responsible regulatory policies have played a key role in the rise of corporations based around internet services and the benefits they have brought to the U.S. economy and taxpayers. He emphasized that today, the five largest corporations by market capitalization are all tech companies.
Carr addressed a number of instances where he believes the FCC was irresponsible in setting policy. These include the prohibition of cross ownership between newspapers and broadcast stations and attempts under the previous administration to block the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint.
Carr specifically endorsed the T-Mobile/Sprint merger, stating it “more than sufficiently pro-competitive to merit approval.”
Though he is satisfied with the current regulatory climate, Carr expressed that regulatory agencies must still be vigilant and decisive. Because the technology is evolving so quickly, he believes that regulators must act with an eye towards the future rather than focusing on the present.
“We need to regulate based on where these dynamic markets are going and that is the best way to preserve freedom and the benefits that free markets can bring to Americans,” he said.
Being too focused on the present can cloud our vision of the future, which can hold us back technologically. Carr explained that this is because we often assume the next big thing will just be a faster or better version of what we have today – a view that just reinforces the status quo.
“Henry Ford reportedly said that if he asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses,” he said.
While Carr believes that the U.S. is currently the leader in technologies like 5G, AI, robots, the Internet of Things and space travel, he emphasized that we could fall behind if regulators institute poor policy.
Photo credit: Tina Saey (flickr)