December 12, 2013
Earlier today, the Federal Communications Commission heard a status update on the Technology Transitions Policy Task Force’s work to make near-term recommendations related to the Commission’s expectations and role in what is referred to as the IP transition: the ongoing transitions from copper to fiber, from wireline to wireless, and from time-division multiplexing (TDM) to all-Internet Protocol (IP). The following can be attributed to Benton Foundation Director of Policy Amina Fazlullah:
The Benton Foundation commends the work of the Technology Transitions Policy Task Force. Today’s presentation is an important, positive step on a long road to transitioning to all-IP networks. We are glad to see the emphasis the FCC is placing on the universal deployment of broadband networks, promoting public safety, protecting consumers, and preserving and enhancing competition and interconnection. There’s strong consensus that the transition must embrace these core values. As the Commission considers the next steps in managing the transition, Benton asks that it also include in a new Network Compact additional values that are dear to consumers and crucial if vulnerable communities – children, seniors, low-income and minority households, and people and businesses in rural and remote areas – are to enjoy the full benefits of IP networks:
- Affordability: Since enactment of the Communications Act of 1934, the availability of world-class networks at affordable rates has been a key policy goal.
- Accessibility: The 54 million Americans with disabilities must be able to make full use of broadband networks and the video and voice services that run over these networks.
- Diversity: In addition to ubiquitous availability, Americans must have the ability to access and distribute content that reflects the country’s diversity of viewpoints.
- Openness: Consumers must retain their rights to utilize any legal applications, content, devices, and services of their choosing on the broadband networks to which they subscribe.
- Speed: Consumers need fast networks that allow them access to, and choice of, a full range of services to meet their needs.
- Innovation: For consumers, the promise of the IP transition is new services and ways to collaborate and communicate that are better and more advanced than current basic telephone communications.
While there’s no doubt that the nation is on the verge of a bold digital opportunity, smart policy decisions, not just capital investments, are needed if every American -- regardless of zip code, race, disability or income – is to get a chance to tap into a world where voice, video and information are available faster and in more and better ways than ever before. The Task Force advanced us on that path today; now is the time for the full Commission to act.
The Benton Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting communication in the public interest. These comments reflect the institutional view of the Foundation and, unless obvious from the text, are not intended to reflect the views of individual Foundation officers, directors, or advisors.