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A growing number of economists are describing the current slump as a form of secular stagnation, where diminishing outlets for capital investment have slowed economic growth, reduced the demand for labor and stalled the economic recovery. While the technology sector remains one of the few areas of the economy where innovation and growth continue at a rapid pace, the Federal Communications Commission is moving forward with a series of new rules that may shackle this important part of the economy. From new mandates for municipal broadband to redefining what broadband means, to proposals to turn the Internet into a common carrier, the FCC is working to reshape how Americans connect to the Internet.
In a recent speech before a tech start-up incubator in Washington, D.C., FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler focused on the need to provide faster broadband connections to American consumers. His comments reinforce the FCC's push for changing the definition of "advanced telecommunications capability" from a broadband speed of 4Mbps to 10Mbps. In fact, Wheeler goes further in his speech, noting that "a 25Mbps connection is fast becoming ‘table stakes' in 21st century communications." Pushing even further, Wheeler states that it is "unacceptable" that 40 percent of American homes do not have access to 100Mbps connections - even though a majority of homes already have access.