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There's a reason why Europe didn't invent Netflix

Netflix Inc.House of Cards (tv program)Bill Clinton

Netflix's multiple Emmy nominations are evidence that the Internet economy continues to thrive ("Baltimore-made 'House of Cards' makes history with major Emmy nominations," July 18). But surprisingly, critics of the industry are looking right past this evidence to demand that regulators tinker with the marketplace.

Despite the trillion-plus dollars invested in America's broadband networks since President Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunication Act in 1996, pro-regulation advocates claim investment has dried up. Despite being one of only two countries with competing wired broadband technologies and nearly total coverage of blazing-fast LTE wireless networks, we are told that America's Internet market lacks competition. Despite top 10 global rankings in peak speeds and in connections faster than 10 Mbps, critics claim that we have fallen behind on speed. Despite an "app economy" that has created 752,000 jobs for entrepreneurs from all walks of life, critics allege that smartphones are not driving economic growth. And yes, despite the dozens of choices for watching online video and the financial and critical success of companies like Netflix, we hear that America's broadband networks threaten the success of companies like Netflix.

The proposed cures for these "ills" range from forcing ISPs to share their lines with competitors to having the government build rival broadband networks with taxpayer funds. But neither solution is bearing fruit in Europe, where speed and competition between technologies lag behind the U.S. But perhaps most tellingly, applications like Netflix aren't being invented in Europe. The U.S. continues to be a hotbed of online innovation precisely because our Internet infrastructure is in excellent health.

Sincerely,

Jose Marquez, Norcross, Ga.

The writer is national president and CEO of Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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