Muni Nets Pan Title II

By: John Eggerton

Some of the municipal broadband nets the Obama administration is keen on giving a boost have asked the Federal Communications Commission not to apply Title II regulations for a start.

In a Feb. 10 letter to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, more than three dozen of those said the balance of power is in favor of the edge providers, like Netflix, Amazon or Hulu, which are not subject to the new rules beyond being able to complain about the conduct of Internet service providers, not smaller operators.

“Because we lack the incentive and ability to harm Internet edge providers, there is no basis for the Commission to reclassify our Internet service for the purpose of imposing any Title II common-carrier obligations,” they wrote, “but most particularly the core common-carrier requirements contained in Sections 201, 202 and 208.”

Those are the three that could conceivably allow the FCC to regulate rates through a case-by-case complaint procedure, they argue. They also say that even if this FCC does not do that, it is “cold comfort” since a future FCC could. They also point out that liability for violations through the complaint process, including the recovery of damages, is very troubling.

“Our ability to repay current debt obligations and raise capital at attractive rates could well be adversely affected if we lose control over our retail rates or the use of and access to our networks,” they said. “Because our rates must be set to recover costs, we would be forced to flow these additional costs of service through to our subscribers.”

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About Mark Milliman

Mark Milliman is a Principal Consultant at Inphotonics Research driving the adoption and assisting local governments to plan, build, operate, and lease access open-access municipal broadband networks. Additionally, he works with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to increase the value of their intellectual capital through the creation of strategic product plans and execution of innovative marketing strategies. With more than 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry that began at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Mark has built fiber, cable, and wireless networks around the world to deliver voice, video, and data services. His thorough knowledge of all aspects of service delivery from content creation to the design, operation, and management of the network is utilized by carriers and equipment manufacturers. Mark conceived and developed one of the industry's first multi-service provisioning platform and is multiple patent holder. He is active in the IEEE as a senior member. Mark received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
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