This was another great event sponsored by Silicon Flatirons but there was really nothing new said that has not been already written. The cable companies politely object to a potential change in regulation while supporting the National Broadband Plan. Many panelists tossed around the statement that there is 95% broadband penetration in the U.S. which is a number that is highly suspect. I am more inclined to trust the OECD numbers more.
LONE TREE, Colo. — Some at the top level of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may believe a new legal framework for its authority over broadband services will help keep its ambitious National Broadband Plan afloat, but some cable industry policy pundits wonder if the move might produce the opposite effect.
The FCC’s reclassification effort could “totally sidetrack [the Commission] from getting some pieces of the broadband plan done,” warned Steve Morris, VP and associate general counsel of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) , a speaker Thursday afternoon here at a “Future of Cable” conference hosted by the Colorado Cable Telecommunications Association and Silicon Flatirons, a law and tech center based at the University of Colorado. (See NCTA Reacts to FCC NOI.)
Not much to say here other than the administration is bent on regulating the Internet despite the wishes of Congress and the people. I am going to look into the option to leave broadband access a Title I service and providing some additional monitoring powers to the FCC. It may be the best option to insuring that broadband providers do not start limiting access to sites they do not approve while maintaining the freedom and innovation that is still fueling Internet growth.
The Federal Communications Commission has taken the first step toward figuring out how it’s going to regulate broadband after losing an important legal battle earlier this year.
At an open meeting Thursday, the FCC voted to open a proceeding that seeks comment on three options for redefining the FCC’s role in regulating broadband. The FCC is asking for comments on these new proposals, which it hopes will put it on firmer legal footing, after a federal appeals court ruled in April that the agency did not have authority to sanction Comcast for violating Net neutrality principles. Comcast had been caught throttling BitTorrent transfers on its network.
Let the games begin. Mr. Stephenson makes this idle threat without articulating the reasons why AT&T’s U-verse service would be harmed by Title II regulation. I will state the reasons why it is bad for the industry for him. First of all AT&T is worried that changing the regulatory structure will not allow them the pricing flexibility to compete with other providers such as the cablecos. Secondly, the FCC may mandate that AT&T unbundles its infrastructure to competitors. If I were AT&T’s CEO, I would be worried about these things. True, Chairman Genachowski stated that the FCC would not do these things, but politicians and bureaucrats are always making promises they do not keep. The picture is not any better for competitors entering these markets, the regulatory hurdles may provide barriers to entry for them. If the FCC is to promote broadband competition (not sure this is their goal), then converting broadband services to a quasi-Title II managed service is going to have the opposite effect.
Back when Google announced it was looking for cities to test its fiber-to-the-home trial network, we profiled a host of municipalities that tried every possible publicity stunt in the book to get the search engine giant’s attention. These included a North Carolina city council member who promised to name his offspring after Google’s co-founders, along with the mayor of Topeka… who tried to rename his town “Google, Kansas.”
I agree with the premise of the report that net neutrality as it is currently defined will stifle competition. AT&T has publicly stated that it will halt U-verse deployments if net neutrality is passed. Verizon has already capped its FiOS project. The warning signs are already there. The Internet is a vital component to the U.S. economy as it transitions from a manufacturing-based to knowledge-based economy. Any potential threat to its vitality must be stopped. There are several assumptions in this study that I believe are overstated or flawed. Even if they are corrected, the result will be that as the FCC has defined net neutrality, jobs will be lost in our economy. The Internet must remain open and accessible for all users despite methods of access. On the other hand, the FCC must not be heavy-handed in regulating it as not to impede innovation. All of these points bring me back to my assertion that open-access municipal networks will go a long way to continue the freedom and innovation of the Internet.
Broadband experts warn of depressed network investment, limits on new business models, and deterred rollout of broadband-enabled services
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)– According to research released today from Charles M. Davidson, director of The Advanced Communications Law & Policy Institute at New York Law School, and Bret Swanson, president of technology research firm Entropy Economics, new regulations for providers of broadband Internet service could result in the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs. The new Internet regulations, the report estimates, could also reduce U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by tens of billions of dollars per year. The report, “Net Neutrality, Investment & Jobs: Assessing the Potential Impacts of the FCC’s Proposed Net Neutrality Rules on the Broadband Ecosystem,” examines the extent of likely damages to investment, jobs, and U.S. GDP resulting from the implementation of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposed net neutrality regulations.
The analogy to rural electrification that Adelstein makes is apt because just like electricity, broadband services are vital to the growth of all communities. The other parallel is that deployment of broadband is a local matter. Once again this administration is saying the right things but not following up with any action. The National Broadband Plan has some nice goals, but there is little discussion of implementation. Subsequent discussions at the FCC revolve around continuing to milk the ability of the copper in the ground. Yes that will increase rural penetration somewhat cost-effectively at the expense of being behind in bandwidth delivered. We need to build these networks targeting mid-century needs, not 20th century needs.
Mytheos Holt, Reporter-Researcher, BroadbandBreakfast.com
WASHINGTON, June 15, 2010 – Today’s broadband expansion throughout the United States faces similar challenges to wiring the nation with electricity decades ago, and the nation’s businesses, consumers and government must work together to tap into the resources that high-speed internet access offers.
In the keynote address prior to BroadbandBreakfast.com’s panel on challenges to adoption and availability of rural broadband, Rural Utilities Service Administrator Jonathan Adelstein stressed a number of areas where his agency could improve its broadband outreach, while offering a vision for the future and a historical context for the present debate.
Mr. Kessler hits the “nail on the head” by stating that competition will increase broadband penetration and solve net neutrality issues, but threatening regulation is not the way to achieve his goals. Only by introducing more service providers in each market will the objectives be achieved. The “beat them with a stick” approach does not work most of the time.
Regulatory uncertainty is spoiling the rollout of Steve Jobs’s latest inspirations.There’s a better way to spur broadband competition.
AT&T’s Picturephone, shown at the 1964 World’s Fair, was a huge flop. Apple’s new iPhone 4, announced this week, has a front-facing camera for video chats. It might succeed, except that AT&T isn’t providing enough bandwidth capacity.
First, the company won’t allow two-way video to work over its data network. Second, AT&T just made bandwidth-intensive video expensive by dropping iPhone and iPad’s $30 per month unlimited data plans and replacing them with a two-tiered plan of $15 a month for under 200 megabyte usage or $25 for two gigs. Not that I have a problem with AT&T charging me or the 2% of its customers who are heavy data users. I can always sign up with a competitor. Oh, wait. There are none. AT&T has an exclusive contract with Apple.
Sarah Lai Stirland, Assistant Managing Editor, BroadbandBreakfast.com
NEW YORK, June 10, 2010 – A long-running feud between a municipal utility in Lafayette, La. and Cox Communications appears to have revived itself Wednesday when LUS Fiber filed a lawsuit against the National Cable Television Cooperative. LUS Fiber charges that the cable group is unfairly denying it membership, thus depriving the Lafayette utility from millions of dollars in savings when buying television programming.
The dispute’s worth tracking because LUS Fiber is one of a growing number of municipalities around the country that has built a publicly-financed fiber-to-the-home network, the economics of which are still unproven. The project is being watched closely by others in the telecom industry across the country: An executive from Google’s gigabit-per-second fiber-to-the-home project in April made her only conference trip of the year to visit and inspect LUS Fiber’s 100 megabit-per-second fiber-to-the-home roll-out.