Threatening job losses or reduced investment if regulators do X (X being anything from new consumer protections to price controls) has been a staple in the incumbent telecom lobbyist playbook for years. The threats are never actually tied to reality
, and in fact the data used to push these memes is often completely made up by paid PR magicians
. Still, that doesn't seem to matter in Washington DC -- and according to The Hill
, ISPs are headed to Congress next week to again threaten job cuts if faced with net neutrality rules:
The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) will fly in the leaders of more than 15 companies to meet with House Commerce committee leaders, including Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Rick Boucher (D-Va.), and FCC commissioners. The CEOs will come from companies such as AltaCom, Tellabs and Alcatel-Lucent, among others, according to Danielle Coffey, vice president of government affairs at TIA.
The problem is, carriers have already been cutting CAPEX and slashing jobs for a variety of reasons, none of which have a damn thing to do with net neutrality or even regulatory actions. In fact, outside of a few vague regulatory threats about high wireless bills and ETFs, the FCC has been a marginally-impotent entity in the telecom sector, completely unwilling to make tough decisions
that could truly impact carrier economics.
All the same, AT&T and Verizon have already frozen their next-gen broadband deployments for several reasons, including the sour economy, their hope of cashing in on USF "reform
" and broadband stimulus, and the simple fact they continually place short-term investor satisfaction above long-term company health. They've also been busily slashing tens of thousands of jobs
, predominately thanks to the slow but steady death of the landline.
These fairly myopic job loss predictions never bother to include the potential jobs saved
by protecting an Internet that isn't dominated by the nation's wealthiest carriers (AT&T, Verizon), striking prioritization deals with the nations' wealthiest ad and content empires (Google). It's not entirely clear how these kinds of threats keep working for companies who are continually slashing jobs and CAPEX; perhaps that's just one of the mysteries of our time.