Proposed FCC regulation Limits Indian Country’s Access to Internet

Ross Racine (Blackfeet)

When the FCC reclassified broadband services, they stated that they were not going to get into price regulation. As expected, they did not keep their word and are now manipulating the prices in a free market. What Ross mentions below are the unintended consequences of price regulation.

By Ross Racine

When it comes to internet access, Native American and Alaskan tribes are among the least connected in our country. An analysis by the White House Council of Economic Advisers found that along with the rural South, portions of the Southwest, predominately home to Indian communities, are amongst the lowest connected regions.

In today’s connected world, it is crucial that the federal government promote internet connectivity across the nation. But the Federal Communications Commission is considering a regulation that would have the opposite effect.

THE FCC PROPOSAL, WHICH WOULD REDUCE RATES THAT PROVIDERS OF BROADBAND SERVICES CAN CHARGE, IS AIMED AT STIMULATING COMPETITION. IN REALITY, IT WOULD HAVE THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCE OF DRIVING AWAY INVESTMENT IN BROADBAND – ESPECIALLY IN RURAL AND TRIBAL REGIONS. THIS WOULD ONLY INCREASE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE BETWEEN THOSE WITH AND WITHOUT INTERNET ACCESS.

We were heartened when President Obama, in the heart of Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma, announced ConnectHome, his plan to connect thousands of people living in public housing to the internet. The President recognized that the U.S. has “a special obligation to make sure that tribal youth have every opportunity to achieve their potential not just for the benefit of themselves and their communities, but for our entire nation.”

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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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