USTelecom: Broadband Capex Down $1B in 2015

Broadband capital expenditures (capex) was down almost $1 billion—to $76 billion—in 2015 over the year before. That is according to USTelecom’s annual broadband investment report.

Of that, wireless accounted for 43%, wireline 35% and cable at 22%. By contrast, from 1996 to 2015, cable's slice of the pie was 17%, wireless 33% and wireline 51%, so the landscape is changing as wireline's share of capex has declined and wireless and cable's have grown.

ISPs, including USTelecom, have argued that the imposition of Title II regs would result in decreased investment, though FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has suggested that would not and has not been the case.

USTelecom pointed to a Progressive Policy Institute report earlier this year that showed sluggish growth and attributed it in part to regulatory uncertainty.

The uncertainty now is just how long it will take either a Republican FCC or Congress to reverse the Title II decision.

The report shows modest increases in capex between 2012 and 2014 before last year's decline.

Over the 20 years the report covers, broadband industry capex has totaled $1.5 trillion.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.