Europe Shares Close Lower After Bullard Comments

If American policymakers had made different choices a decade ago, we might have avoided this fight altogether. If the market for ISPs was a little more competitive, consumers would have more choice and broadband providers would have less power to pick winners in the Internet economy. The question is, what would a more competitive broadband market look like? One way to find out is to look at what other countries have done. Experts point to Europe, where nations have committed themselves to something called local loop unbundling. That’s a fancy term for when major network operators are required to share the infrastructure they built with other service providers. In France, unbundling dropped the costs of starting a new ISP to attractive levels. Start-ups didn’t have to worry about laying their own cables; they just piggybacked off the existing ones. As the market flourished with more ISPs, according to the New America Foundation’s Danielle Kehl, some of those providers even began building their own Internet infrastructure that could compete with the big carriers. As a result, a 100 megabit-per-second, triple-play bundle now costs around $35 which is 17 times as fast and roughly half as expensive as the most cost-effective Internet plan in the United States. The U.S. market could have turned out much like that. In fact, with the telephone industry, it did. But then the FCC decided not to regulate broadband the same way.

Senior U.S. officials, and Rasmussen himself, have expressed growing concern that defence cuts pushed through by cash-strapped European governments have created a big gulf between U.S. and European military capabilities and risk weakening NATO. The European Union has also launched a debate, set to culminate in a summit of European leaders in December, on how Europe can strengthen its arms industry and bolster a common defence policy. In a speech to the Carnegie Europe think tank in Brussels on Thursday, Rasmussen will argue that a strong NATO needs “a strong Europe – with strong capabilities, strong defence industries, and strong political commitment,” NATO officials said. He is expected to urge European allies to strengthen their capabilities in key areas, saying they should acquire more surveillance drones, more large transport and air-to-air refuelling aircraft and more upgraded ship radars so they can be integrated into NATO’s planned missile defence system. As the United States turns its strategic focus increasingly towards Asia, it is banking on Europe to take more military responsibility in its backyard. But during the 2011 Libya conflict, European states had to rely heavily on the United States for air-to-air refuelling, intelligence and surveillance. Rasmussen will also say that Europe needs a strong defence industrial base, arguing that the continent’s defence industry remains too national and fragmented, NATO officials said. He will welcome proposals put forward by the European Union’s executive Commission in July to make the industry more efficient and competitive. The Commission proposed helping Europe’s defence industry cope with falling military budgets by funding research and aiding the development of new technologies with military uses.

The U.K. FTSE closed down 0.4 percent, the German Dax closed down 0.2 percent and the French Cac closed up 0.1 percent. Bullard emphasized in an interview with Bloomberg the role that economic data has played, and will continue to play in Fed decisions “This was a close decision here in September,” he told the network. Europe stocks started the day in negative territory, bringing an end to the broad rally which started after the Federal Reserve surprised markets by opting to maintain its $85 billion-per-month asset purchases. However, Bullard’s comments on Friday backed up the belief that the Fed still plans to taper soon. In Europe, German voters are preparing to go the polls in Sunday’s general elections . The current chancellor, Angela Merkel, is expected to win a third term in office, but the future composition of the governing coalition remains unclear. It is possible that Merkel might have to form an alliance with the rival Social Democrats party (SPD). In Asia, Indian equities led the region lower on the final trading day of the week, after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) unexpectedly raised interest rates. India’s Sensex index closed down 1.8 percent, Japan’s Nikkei index ended just below the flatline and Australia’s S&P ASX 200 fell off the previous day’s five-year high. (Read More: India unexpectedly hikes rates, shares tumble ) Elsewhere, die-hard Apple fans in Asia and Europe lined up outside stores for the launch of the tech firm’s latest handsets.