Business investment has been lagging. That’s one of the definitions of a slow-growth recovery. At an important wireless trade show in New Orleans this week, one of the few industries that has been producing gobs of investment might be tempted to rethink.
To meet demand of its customers for more and more bandwidth, AT&T laid out $39 billion for T-Mobile, a retreating, second-rank player, only to have the proposal nixed by Washington after many months of torture.
Verizon has been undergoing months of torture over its proposal to buy, for $3.9 billion, several blocks of spectrum sitting idle in the hands of cable TV companies.
Broadband history may be short, but it’s already starting to rhyme. In the early days, what were still known as the Baby Bells were treated as DSL monopolists, forced to resell access to their broadband lines to competitors at cost. Undermined, naturally, was their incentive to invest, especially to push network switches closer to residential neighborhoods, the secret to getting cable-like speeds from the old copper phone network.