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NetCompetition Release on Comm Act Update House Submission

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 31, 2014

Contact:  Scott Cleland 703-217-2407

WASHINGTON D.C. – The following quotes addressing Chairmen Upton & Walden’s requests for input on modernizing the Communications Act may be attributed to Scott Cleland, Chairman of NetCompetition:

  • “A key organizing principle for modernizing the Communications Act is that modern is dynamic not static.
  • In a legislative context, “modern means dynamic, i.e. current, relevant and applicable, not static, i.e. based on a fixed assessment of a technology or marketplace at one point in time.
    • The “modern” problem here is simply that U.S. Communications law is static in a dynamic communications world.
    • Thus the “modern” solution is a dynamic law that fosters the dynamism of innovation, competition, and growth.”

The full text of NetCompetition’s one-page submission follows:  (PDF one-pager)

 

Modernizing the Communications Act -- Modern is Dynamic not Static

What’s Modern in Legislative Context?  Modern means dynamic, i.e. current, relevant, and applicable, not static, i.e. based on a fixed assessment of a technology/marketplace at one point in time.

  • Legislation can remain modern and stand the test of time only when based on dynamic principles/values like market competition, public safety, consumer protection, privacy, and universal service that are consumer-centered, and technologically and competitively neutral.
  • Legislation cannot remain modern, if based on regulating particular technologies or artificially-defined markets because the dynamism of innovation, competition and growth transforms them. 
  • “Modernizing” technology-based law would only repeat past mistakes of inherent obsolescence by re-imposing new static technological and market assumptions that predictably will re-obsolesce and thwart innovation, competition and growth – yet again in the future.
  • Legislators need to “not miss the forest” of convergence innovation and competitive ecosystems, “for the trees” of specific technologies or artificial temporary markets.
  • Simply, communications law modernization must replace static assumptions and thinking with dynamic principles, thinking and processes.

Modern Problem: U.S. communications law is static in a dynamic communications world.

  • Communications law based on static technology and market snapshots naturally cannot remain current, relevant, or applicable over time.
  • Most all problems with communications law can be traced back to static technology and market assumptions that inherently ignore the dynamism of innovation, competition, and growth.
  • Change is the only constant, so static technology and market assumptions inherently and increasingly obsolesce and distort over time.
  • Static laws that make technology/market snapshot estimates permanent favor: rent-seekers and arbitrageurs; and government picking winners and losers, rather than consumers/competition.

Modern Solution: Dynamic law that fosters the dynamism of innovation, competition, and growth.

  • A clean-slate rewrite based on consumer-centric principles that are technologically and competitively neutral and based on market economics and competition.
  • A clean slate repeal that variably sunsets all static-technology-specific communications laws and replaces them with dynamic, universal and timeless, consumer-centric principles and social values: market competition, public safety, consumer protection, privacy & universal service.
  • A universal economy-wide communications law is applied in a consumer-centric, technology-neutral way so that consumers can know what basic communications protections they enjoy regardless of technology, circumstance, or time period.
  • Law that requires modern management of our Federal spectrum resources and process; a clean-slate replacement of the current static, unaccountable, and dysfunctional spectrum process with a modern, dynamic, and accountable management of this critical communications resource.

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

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