Next President Needs To Support America's Infrastructure Investment Heroes
The Progressive Policy Institute had released its annual Investment Heroes Report giving highlights to the 25 companies who are investing the most capital in the United States. Highest amount of domestic expenditure are the broadband companies that has $48 billion in total. AT&T and Verizon still remains on rank 1 and 2 for the fifth year straight. These two companies invested more capital in the U.S for $35 million than all internet and technology companies combined.
Though the investment of these two companies wis giving high;ere very impressive, policy makers should also take note that AT&T had reduced its capital investment by 16.7 percent while Verizon reduced its investment by 14.4 percent in the first half of the year 2016 compared to the first half of the year 2014.
While broadband providers were still the leaders in domestic investment last year, this sector's investment heroes cut U.S capital spending 1.3 percent in 2015 as compared to 2014, and the FCC's ongoing consideration of even more burdensome regulations threatens to curb their investment further.
Broadband investment is not for the faint of heart. Composing a high speed reliable broadband networks takes an enormous commitment of capital and resources and a highly skilled and capable work force and once a leading proponent of fiber to the home networks is reportedly halving its work force and is rethinking of its deployment strategy that is due to unexpected cost.
The government isn't a reliable option either. It has a role to play in supporting connectivity in rural and underserved communities, but the prospect of securing a steady flow of tax funding to build and maintain a nationwide, 21st century communications infrastructure appears bleak. Despite historically low interest rates, federal and state governments don't appear to have the money or expertise to maintain existing public infrastructure, let alone take on new broadband responsibilities.
The American Society of Civil Engineers' most recent report cards gave the U.S. a D+ grade on its crumbling public infrastructure. Yet spending on public construction has hit record lows as a percent off GDP to seemingly endless federal and state budget shortfalls. The result has been massive gaps in funding for public infrastructure, including systems for drinking and wastewater that have a direct impact on public health and safety.