Promote competition in the ISP market
FCC PROMOTES LOCAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPETITION
That was the headline! Way back in 1999. Today, in 2014, in Arvada, Colorado (a large, densely populated suburb of Denver), I have exactly one (1) choice for wired Internet service: Comcast.
Clearly the FCC, affirmed by the courts, at one time recognized that telecommunications services are valuable, if not essential, to 21st century life, that they are a natural monopoly (because we can't very well bury 3 or 4 or 5 sets of cables owned by different companies to every house) and that they require regulation to make competition possible. Yet a decade and a half later, Century Link has just STOPPED offering service in my area, leaving me with a single provider.
While other countries manage to provide fast, cheap Internet for just about every citizen (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/05/internet-speed-united-states-digital-dividen1855054.html), the US lags far behind and is getting worse.
There's a lot of focus on wireless these days, but the network we use most (and yes, are Smartphones are usually connected to our wifi, not the cell network) is still our home Internet service, and this essential product is only becoming more important.
Does the FCC not have a vital role in making sure everyone has affordable Internet access?