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My National Broadband Plan Comments to FCC -- Press Release & Actual Filed Comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         

July 21, 2009                                                                                          

Contact:  Scott Cleland

703-217-2407

 

 

NetCompetition.org Files Reply Comments on National Broadband Plan NOI

Plan should ensure Government & private sector can work together and aren’t at cross-purposes

 

WASHINGTON – In response to the Federal Communications Commission’s Notice of Inquiry, NetCompetition.org today filed reply comments with the FCC regarding the National Broadband Plan.

 

In his comments, Scott Cleland, Chairman, NetCompetition.org, made three main points about the Plan; it should:

·         Affirm competition policy;

·         Set a high-consensus bar for defining problem(s) i.e. “demonstrable public interest harms;” and

·         Reject, like the Administration did in the NOFA rules: extreme net neutrality; a one-tier, “dumb-pipe” Internet; the call for an all-fiber Internet, and calls for grandiose speed targets.

 

Cleland said: A key challenge for the FCC in devising a National Broadband Plan will be to get the best out of both the private sector and the Government without the two being at cross-purposes.

 

Cleland added: “In devising the National Broadband Plan, the FCC has to answer these fundamental questions: what does the private sector do better than Government in broadband? And what does Government do better than the private sector in broadband?”

 

Lastly, Cleland said:  The ultimate equation of success that the National Broadband Plan will be judged by in the years ahead will be: Was the National Broadband Plan a "net plus" or a "net negative" from the original baseline foundation and trajectory?

 

 

NETCompetition.org is a pro-competition e-forum representing broadband interests.  See www.netcompetition.org 

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Reply Comments on National Broadband Plan – Notice of Inquiry (NOI)

GN Docket No. 09-51

 

 

I.                   What is the Broadband Plan Implementation Vision?

 

The FCC's main "fork-in-the-road" decision in developing its National Broadband Plan is whether to recommend to Congress to: Re-affirm the current competition vision/law/precedent for broadband policy and build upon the strong foundation and momentum of facilities-based competition in the marketplace? Or Design the more Government-centered broadband ecosystem policy recommended most prominently by FreePress/Open Internet Coalition members, and re-build the common carrier regulation regime of the twentieth century?  

What engine of choice will the FCC recommend to Congress: competitive forces and private investment? or Government forces and taxpayer money? In other words, will the FCC: affirm a competitive broadband ecosystem where consumers vote with their wallets about which innovations, technologies, and companies succeed or fail on the merits? Or Endorse a regulatory broadband ecosystem where regulators largely pre-determine which innovations, technologies and companies will be favored, and hence win or lose?  

The FCC has a tightrope to walk here. As the FCC learned with the implementation of both the 1992 Cable Act and the 1996 Telecom Act, heavy-handed economic-regulation can backfire and ultimately crash private investment and economic growth. Thus, the Plan must balance promoting the competition policy that has been proven to work with over 90% of the country, with the need to lift up the remaining part of the country where broadband competition has yet to prove economic.   

The ultimate equation of success that the National Broadband Plan will be judged by in the years ahead will be: Was the National Broadband Plan a "net plus" or a "net negative" from the original baseline foundation and trajectory?

Lastly, in devising the National Broadband Plan, the FCC has to answer these fundamental questions: what does the private sector do better than Government in broadband? And what does Government do better than the private sector in broadband? A key challenge for the FCC in devising a National Broadband Plan will be to get the best out of both the private sector and the Government without the two being at cross-purposes.  

·         For the full text of this argument:

o       http://www.precursorblog.com/content/whats-broadband-plan-implementation-vision-affirming-competition-policy-or-the-retro-genda

 

II.                Defining the Problem(s) is the Crux of the National Broadband Plan

 

First, the continued lack of an interoperable public safety network to allow our first responders, fire fighters and law enforcement to efficiently and effectively communicate and coordinate via broadband services to save lives and property, after attacks like 9-11 and hurricanes like Katrina in New Orleans, remains the most "demonstrable public interest harm" for the FCC Plan to address." It would be hard to imagine a National Broadband Plan that does not identify the long-unaddressed, high-consensus, urgent priority of interoperability for our first responders, fire fighters, and law enforcement as one of our nation's most "demonstrable public interest harms" to address most expeditiously.

Second, our Nation's lack of adequate cybersecurity is another highly "demonstrable public interest harm."In his Cybersecurity Address 5-29-09, President Obama said: "This new approach starts at the top, with this commitment from me:  From now on, our digital infrastructure -- the networks and computers we depend on every day -- will be treated as they should be:  as a strategic national asset.  Protecting this infrastructure will be a national security priority.  We will ensure that these networks are secure, trustworthy and resilient.  We will deter, prevent, detect, and defend against attacks and recover quickly from any disruptions or damage." "In short, America's economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cybersecurity." ..."It's about the privacy and economic security of American families." "...this is also a matter of public safety and national security." From the White House Cyberspace Policy Review: "The digital infrastructure’s architecture was driven more by considerations of interoperability and efficiency than of security. Consequently, a growing array of state and non-state actors are compromising, stealing, changing, or destroying information and could cause critical disruptions to U.S. systems." In short, while security may have been an afterthought or a lower priority for the Internet before, President Obama has made it clear that cybersecurity threats are a "demonstrable public interest harm." In other words, if the broadband Internet/cyberspace is not safe and secure, other Internet priorities/benefits cannot be achieved. 

Third, given that the FCC's original statutory purpose includes "promoting safety of life and property" and given the fact that the broadband Internet has helped facilitate widespread and massive digital theft of intellectual property via p2p applications, I will be surprised if the IP community cannot make a persuasive case to the FCC that current mass digital IP theft is a "demonstrable public interest harm." 

Fourth, anything that would prevent reasonable network management to maintain a reliable broadband Internet infrastructure for communication and commerce would be another "demonstrable public interest harm." Any actions that would prevent broadband providers from being able to mitigate denial of service attacks, viruses, worms, spam, zero-day-threats, and other malware, and manage network congestion would clearly undermine the necessity of reasonable network management. Simply, reliability is a demonstrable prerequisite for fulfilling the fourteen purposes Congress enumerated in its call for a National Broadband Plan:" "advancing consumer welfare, civic participation, public safety and homeland security, community development, health care delivery, energy independence and efficiency, education, worker training, private sector investment, entrepreneurial activity, job creation and economic growth, and other national purposes."

·         For the full text of this point: http://www.precursorblog.com/content/defining-problems-crux-national-broadband-plan

III.  What do Broadband Stimulus Decisions Signal about Future of Broadband and Net Neutrality?

The Administration implicitly rejected extreme net neutrality.

The Administration explicitly rejected a one-tier, "dumb-pipe" Internet.

The Administration implicitly rejected calls for an all-fiber network.

The Administration explicitly rejected calls for mandating grandiose speed targets.   

The Administration favored facilities-based competition/investment over artificial resale competition.

 

·         For the full argument and evidence of this point: http://www.precursorblog.com/content/what-do-broadband-stimulus-decisions-signal-about-future-broadband-net-neutrality-policy

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Scott Cleland

President, Precursor LLC,

Chairman, NetCompetition.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths