Center News and Events: Recent Publications by iUvB502

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									                                                              Office of Technology Policy
                                                                                    and Programs


                               TELECOM/IT POLICY HIGHLIGHTS 7.03-8.03
                                                                           JULY-AUGUST 2003

Overview   Before Congress adjourned for the August recess, Congressional discussion over the new
           media ownership rules passed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last
           June was ongoing [Telecom/IT Policy Highlights June 2003]. A joint resolution
           disapproving of the rule submitted by the FCC with respect to broadcast media ownership
           [S.J.RES.17] introduced by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) could reach the Senate floor

           in early September. This follows the passage of legislation [H.R.2799] in the House that

           overwhelmingly supports the revising of the FCC’s decision [FCC 03-127] in June. The
           resolution is only one of many that are an attempt to modify the FCC decision to allow
           individual companies to own television stations that would broadcast to a majority of the
           nation’s viewers. As of September 4, 2003 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit in
           Philadelphia ordered an emergency stay of the rules.


           In other Congressional activity, the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the
           Internet chaired by Fred Upton (R-MI), held a hearing entitled The Regulatory Status
           of Broadband Services: Information Services, Common Carriage, or Something
           in Between? An analysis of the hearing is provided in the last section of this edition’s
           IT/Telecommunications Highlights.


           The FCC recently released the much anticipated Report and Order (R&O) [FCC 03-36]
           in late August that gives companies the right to lease components of their network at
           substantially less rates than is currently allowed. Existing discounted rates will be
           phased out over the next three years because of the new regulations. The FCC
           determined that the “high-speed Internet sector” will receive less regulation, while at the
           same time giving more authority back to the states to regulate their own voice services
           in the telephone market. Separately, the FCC adopted a Report and Order(R&O) [FCC
           03-168] that would make changes to the Hearing Aid Compatibility Act of 1988 (HAC
           Act). The changes require wireless manufacturers and service providers to make digital
           wireless phones available to individuals with hearing disabilities that use hearing aids.
           With this action the FCC, achieves a goal set by Congress to guarantee that equal
           telecommunications services for individuals with hearing disabilities are provided,
           especially with the rise of wireless calls to emergency services and the movement away
           from the use of analog services.
Legislative   Broadband Service Being Extended to All Mississippians
Activities

              06.26.03 – Following the passage of the Mississippi Broadband Technology Development
              Act earlier this year, BellSouth announced its intent to extend broadband services
              throughout the entire state. The new law provides incentives through tax credits of up to
              10% and sales tax exemptions of up to 100% to companies who expand their broadband
              capabilities to less populous areas of the state. BellSouth anticipates investing
              approximately $10 million dollars for the project. View legislation at
              http://www.mississippi.gov/frameset. jsp?URL=http%3A%2F %2F www.ls.state.ms.us.
              [Source: Office of Governor Ronnie Musgrove, USA Today]


              House Votes to Oppose New FCC Media Ownership Rules


              07.24.03 – The House of Representatives voted 400-21 to pass the Departments of
              Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies

              Appropriations, Act 2004 [H.R.2799]. Included in the appropriation act, is a provision

              that would block new rules passed by the FCC in June [See Telecom/IT Policy
              Highlights June 2003]. The bill would revert to the previous rules in place before the
              FCC’s June decision, preventing a company from owning enough broadcast stations and
              newspapers to reach out to more than 35 percent of the nation’s viewers and readers.
              There is strong support for a similar measure in the Senate, which could put the
              Republican controlled Congress at odds with President Bush. This vote by the House
              demonstrates that there is support to override a Presidential veto if the bill is signed into
              law. The Senate could vote on a resolution [S.J.RES.17] in the first few weeks of
              September, introduced by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), that could determine how
              strong support is within that body to bar the FCC ruling. See Telecom/IT Policy
              Highlights June 2003 http://www.gcatt.org/otp/research/ tiph/0603.htm. View passed
              House legislation at http://thomas.loc.gov/ cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:HR
              02799:@@@L&summ2=m&. View Senate resolution at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-
              bin/bdquery/z?d108:s.j.res.00017:. [Source: Library of Congress, New York Times]


              TOP Receives Approval from Senate Commerce Committee

              07.31.03 - The Senate Commerce Committee approved the National
              Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Reauthorization
              Act of 2003 [S. 1478], which reauthorizes the Department of Commerce’s Technology
              Opportunity Program (TOP) program for five years. TOP awards matching grants to
              public and non-profit organizations to demonstrate practical applications of
              telecommunications and information technologies. The Benton Foundation notes that
              NTIA and TOP have not had an official authorization in years. The bill now will have to
              pass the House and Senate, with ultimate approval from the President. View legislation
              at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:SN01478:@@@L&summ2=m&.
              [Source: Library of Congress, Benton Foundation]



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Regulatory   Controversial Broadband Rules Released by the FCC
Activities

             08.20.03 – As a part of its Triennial Review, a re-evaluation of the FCC’s
             telecommunications regulations focusing on promoting broadband development have
             been released in a Report and Order (R&O) [FCC 03-36].           In February the FCC voted
             3-2, with Chairman Michael Powell voting with the minority, to adopt controversial rules
             that gave individual states the authority to determine how competition will factor into
             their local telephone markets [See Telecom/IT Policy Highlights February 2003].
             The order’s most controversial component surrounds how much the incumbent local
             telephone companies will be required to share networks through voice and Internet. The
             order released deregulates the major local telephone companies, while giving the states
             very clear language to follow when determining if the voice market is competitive or not
             through their own authority. They also support deregulation if the markets are served by
             “three or more telephone switches that are owned by companies not affiliated with the
             dominate local telephone company.”


             The FCC notes that the former Baby Bell companies have argued that they have been
             subject to stricter rules than cable companies, which are ahead in providing high-speed
             Internet and moving forward in providing voice services. The former Baby Bell
             companies suggest that a level field for competition should be fashioned before further
             investment takes place on their part. In contrast, consumer groups argue that
             competition will become less with broad rules in place. View R&O at
             http://www.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/ Daily_Business/2003/db0821/FCC-03-36A1.txt.
             [Source: FCC, Washington Post, CNET Networks, Inc.]


             FCC and Industry Canada Reach Agreement


             07.25.03 – The FCC and Industry Canada have signed an Interim Arrangement in regards
             to the Wireless Communications Service (WCS) Arrangement. This Arrangement makes
             possible the use of WCS systems near the U.S. border with Canada for things like video
             distribution, programming, digital broadband, and Internet services. The Arrangement
             will support WCS licensees to engage in their own “cross-border” sharing agreements
             that will have governing authority over the guidelines set out by the WCS Arrangement.
             View the Interim Arrangement Concerning the Use of the Frequency Bands 2305-2320
             and 2345-2360 MHz By Stations in the Wireless Communications Service (WCS) Near the
             Canada/United States Border at www.fcc.gov/ib/sand/agree. [Source: FCC]


             FCC Releases Public Notice on Emergency Information and Accessibility


             07.18.03 – The FCC sent out a public notice [DA 03-2361] to video programming
             distributors, such as broadcasters, cable operators, and satellite television services of
             their responsibility to provide emergency information accessible to persons with hearing




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and vision disabilities. The FCC has received a number of complaints from people
asserting that video programming distributors are not fulfilling their responsibility to
make local emergency information accessible to viewers with hearing disabilities. The
complainants also report of the lack of visual information on critical details about the
direct paths of dangerous weather conditions, information regarding non-weather related
emergencies, and the precautions needed to respond to those conditions. Some
consumers have reported the blocking of critical visual emergency information by other
information on the screen. These complaints generally alleged that contacting
programming distributors resulted in little relief to complainants. In their press release
the FCC notes that, “in the case of persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, emergency
information that is provided in the audio portion of the programming must be provided
using closed captioning or other methods of visual presentation, such as open captioning,
crawls, or scrolls that appear on the screen.” The rule also applies to individuals who are
blind or have low vision. Emergency information that is provided in the video portion of a
regularly scheduled newscast or a newscast that interrupts regular programming must be
made accessible. View fact sheet at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/emergency
video.html. [Source: FCC]


HAC Act Exemption for Wireless Phones Modified by FCC


07.10.03 – Recently the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Report
and Order(R&O) [FCC 03-168, WT Docket No. 01-309, RM-8658] that would require
wireless manufacturers and service providers to make digital wireless phones available to
individuals with hearings disabilities that use hearing aids. The Commission made
changes under the Hearing Aid Compatibility Act of 1988 (HAC Act) to allow
benefits of wireless telecommunications to individuals with hearing disabilities. The
actions taken by the Commission achieves a goal set by Congress to ensure that equal
telecommunications services for individuals with hearing disabilities are provided,
especially with the rise of wireless calls to emergency services and movement away from
the use of analog services.


Some of the specifics of the adopted R&O include, “adopted certain performance levels
set forth in a technical standard established by the American National Standards Institute
(ANSI) as the applicable technical standard for compatibility of digital wireless phones
with hearing aids; required digital wireless phone manufacturers to make available to
carriers within two years at least two HAC-compliant handsets with reduced RF emissions
for each air interface it produces; and required each carrier providing digital wireless
services, except for nationwide (Tier I) wireless carriers, to make available to consumers
within two years at least two HAC-compliant handsets with reduced RF emissions for
each air interface it offers; required nationwide (Tier I) wireless carriers to offer within
two years two HAC-compliant handsets with reduced RF emissions for each air interface it
employs, or to ensure that one quarter of its total handset models are HAC-compliant
with reduced RF emissions within two years, whichever option yields a greater number of



                                     4
handsets; and encouraged digital wireless phone manufacturers and service providers to
offer at least one compliant handset that is a lower-priced model and one that has
higher-end features.”


View press release at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-
236430A1.txt. View statement by Chairman Michael Powell at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov
/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-03-168A2.txt. [Source: FCC]


Rural Wireless Initiative Begins Between FCC and USDA


07.02.03 – A process to expedite the deployment of wireless services to rural parts of the
U.S. is now underway in a partnership between the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications
Bureau and U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Services Utilities (USDA/RUS). They
held the first of a series of events to “promote the exchange of information regarding
rural development and telecommunications and to encourage greater deployment of
wireless services.” The four goals of both agencies is to allow for exchange of product
and services information, develop uniform rules and processes to expand benefits for
rural areas, educate other agencies and partners in regards to what the FCC and USDA
can offer, and eventually expand the FCC and USDA partnership to other agencies. View
press release at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/ attachmatch/DOC-236116A1.txt.
[Source: FCC]


TRS State Programs Compliant in All 50 States


07.25.03 – The FCC certified the Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) for all 50
states, which will last through 2008. TRS enables individuals with hearing or speech
disabilities to use the telephone system and communicate with individuals without similar
disabilities. View press release at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/
DOC-237022A1.txt. Also, view information regarding TRS, state certification applications
and TRS complaint log summaries at www.fcc.gov/cgb/dro/trs.html.        [Source: FCC]


Wireless Rules Drafted to Protect Consumers


07.24.03 - The California Public Utilities Commission released its final draft proposal of
rules that would incorporate wireless carriers into state consumer protection laws. These
rules would allow for up to 45 days for a consumer to remove themselves from a phone
contract, outlines procedures for notifying customers about rates and restrictions, and
includes a privacy clause. The wireless industry has expressed its opposition to this
legislation arguing that in the long run costs for consumers will increase. The final rules
will be voted on in September. View revised draft decision at http://www.
cpuc.ca.gov/static/industry/telco/ 030723borwooddraftdec.doc and Bill of Rights Rule
Summary at http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/static/industry/telco/ summary.doc. [Source:




                                    5
           California Public Utilities Commission]

Items of
Interest   2003 Rural Telecommunications Congress in D.C.


           08.22.03 - The third annual RuralTeleCon conference, entitled "Rural Broadband: A
           Recommitment to America's Heartland," will take place September 28-October 1,
           2003 at the Hyatt Regency Washington, near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The
           RuralTeleCon Conference is co-sponsored by the Appalachian Regional Commission and
           the Rural Broadband Coalition. For more information view http://www.ruraltelecon.org/
           conference/index.php. [Source: The Benton Foundation]


           Blind Individuals May Receive Aid by New GPS Device in 2004


           07.07.03 – The European Space Agency (ESA) and other organizations have begun
           testing a personal Global Positioning System (GPS) that may help blind individuals get
           around better on their own. The device named “Tormes” was unveiled in Madrid Spain in
           June, with the capability of interacting with a GPS to provide verbal directions through
           the use of a Braille keyboard and a voice synthesizer. ESA has said that “Tormes” taps
           the space agency's own satellite navigation system, called “Egnos”, which verifies that
           signals received from GPS satellites are accurate. With “Egnos”, accuracy will improve to
           about 2 meters, and users are alerted about any signal problems. To avoid the “canyon
           effect,” ESA engineers created “Sisnet,” which relays the signals over the Internet using
           wireless networks. Despite increased accuracy, the device will not have the capability to
           alert blind individuals of small obstacles like stairs or street curbs. Final versions of the
           device are currently planned to be released in 2004. For further information view
           http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/SEMVQOS1VED_Improving_0.html. [Source: European
           Space Agency, Wired News]


           Georgia Local Government Advances Criminal Justice Network


           07.31.03 – Columbia County, Georgia, has protocol become one of the first localities in
           Georgia to implement the required TCP/IP in order to meet network security guidelines
           for state and federal criminal justice information. This will allow the county’s users to
           connect with the Georgia Information Crime Center, which connects with other local,
           state and federal law enforcement agencies. Vibren Technologies Inc. will build a secure
           network that will have a dedicated line to the Georgia crime center. Columbia County
           officials believe the new system will cost an estimated $200,000 to $250,000. Following
           the implementation of this phase of the project, encryption standards will be put into
           place so a “virtual private network” can be created for law enforcement officers and other
           users to have wireless access. [Source: Federal Computer Week]




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Research/   2003 World Radiocommunication Conference Results Reported
Reports

            07.10.03 – The International Bureau reported to the Commission on the results of the
            2003 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-03) that took place in Geneva,
            Switzerland. The U.S. envoy led by U.S. Ambassador Janice Obuchowski worked on
            outcomes that balanced U.S. interests, supported homeland security and expanded
            choices for U.S. consumers. The WRC-03 established voluntary guidelines for countries
            implementing public safety, more of a regulatory approach for the U.S. Global Positioning
            System, as well as protections against interference with military radars. Finally, the WRC
            made spectrum allocations and decisions with regards to “new satellite and terrestrial
            wireless services” that will permit short-range wireless communication and “broadband-
            in-flight” to provide Internet access to airline passengers. View press release at
            http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-236426A1.pdf. [Source: FCC]


            Broadband Expanding in Europe According to New Report

            The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has recently
            suggested in a report entitled "After the Telecommunications Bubble," that European
            countries promoting competition among telecommunications and cable providers are
            exhibiting faster adoption of broadband Internet services. Evidence is concluding that
            Germany, previously the leader in broadband growth, has been overtaken by a more
            competitive environment in Belgium, where 98 percent of the country has access to at
            least 3Mbps service. This is up to six times faster than the transmissions available in
            places such as France or Britain. The United States has fallen from 3rd to 10th in the
            OECD rankings, primarily because the prices and speeds offered by phone companies
            have not matched those offered by cable. Asian countries are using government subsidies
            to stimulate the markets and are having results in additional competition and lower
            prices, allowing the region to take the lead in broadband deployment. View report at
            http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/62/37/2635431.pdf. [Source: E-Commerce News,
            Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development]


            Market and Policy Issues of Broadband Dilemma Evaluated

            08.01.03 – Charles Ferguson, senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings
            Institution, authored a publication entitled “The Broadband Problem:
            Anatomy of a Market Failure and a Policy Dilemma.”           The book argues that the
            “Telecommunications Act of 1996 and federal policy have failed to provide sufficient
            levels of new entry, competition, and innovation in the local telecommunications market,
            which remains dominated by monopoly telephone companies. New entrants and Internet-
            based firms such as competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs), Internet service
            providers (ISPs), and enhanced service providers (ESPs) remain disadvantaged relative
            to the monopoly incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs). Flawed policy has also
            allowed ILECs to continue to engage in monopolistic practices, mergers, and
            anticompetitive conduct. Through a combination of inefficiency and rational monopolistic



                                                7
conduct, the ILECs are thus able to retard the deployment of new technology and
services through delaying tactics, regulatory procedures, litigation, and political influence.
Competition from the cable television (CATV) industry probably cannot fully address
these problems. The CATV industry cannot compete in most business markets. In
residential markets CATV’s competitive potential is greater, but CATV vendors’ incentives
to favor their own networks, services, and proprietary content raise major concerns
analogous to those raised by the ILECs.”


“The combined result of these market and policy failures is inadequate technological
progress, innovation, and productivity growth in advanced Internet services and in
telecommunications services generally. This significantly retards U.S. and global
economic growth, perhaps by as much as one percent per year. Ferguson believes
federal policy must be adjusted to ensure the robust infrastructure necessary for
advanced Internet services, electronic commerce, open-systems HDTV,
videoconferencing, and improved voice telephony. Ferguson recommends several policy
changes, including increased regulatory surveillance of ILEC conduct, antitrust actions
against ILECs, limits on conflicts of interest in government and academia, limits on CATV
control of proprietary content, and possibly tax measures to stimulate construction of
competitive infrastructure systems.” [Source: The Brookings Institute]


NCD Says Commercial and Private Websites Should Adhere to ADA


07.10.03 - The National Council on Disability (NCD) released a policy paper entitled
“When the Americans with Disabilities Act Goes Online: Application of the ADA
to the Internet and the Worldwide Web,” that concludes that the Americans With
Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to commercial and private websites. The law currently
requires government websites to be accessible to people with disabilities. The paper
notes that these requirements should also be applicable to commercial and private
websites, with an implementation process for website accessibility without disruption to
consumers and businesses. The NCD says that, “Through this process, the narrow legal
issues, bearing mostly upon the definition of the word “place” in Title III of the ADA, are
brought into clear focus. The paper then goes on to analyze the meaning and application
of this term, in light of the ADA’s legislative history, its plain meaning, and court
decisions applying this term in nontechnology-based settings.”


Many authorities, including those that are opposed to the view that the ADA should apply
to e-commerce, are cited and discussed. But based on all the authorities, the paper
reaches the conclusion that the law does clearly contemplate the coverage of the Internet
by Title III of the ADA. Finally, the paper explains the practical and economic arguments
that should guide those who may be called upon to apply the law, suggesting strategies
by which the accessibility principle can be broadly implemented without disruption and
with benefit to consumers and business alike.” View paper at http://www.ncd.gov/




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newsroom/publications/adainternet.html. [Source: National Council on Disability]

Report on 2002 Cable Industry Prices Released


07.08.03 – The FCC has released its annual report that outlines information on monthly
charges for the basic service tier (BST) and cable programming service tier (CPST), in
addition to monthly charges for equipment, installation fees, reconnect fees, and fees for
digital service.


“The report shows that the overall average monthly rate for cable programming services
and equipment increased by 8.2% from $37.06 to $40.11, over the 12-month period
ending July 1, 2002. This compares with a 5-year compound annual rate of increase of
7.1% from July 1997 to July 2002. Specifically, the 8.2% increase reflects average
increases in monthly charges of 3.7% for the BST, from $13.93 to $14.45; 10.8% for the
CPST, from $19.88 to $22.02; and 12.0% for equipment, from $3.25 to $3.64, over the
same period. The average number of channels increased from 59.0 to 62.7 channels, an
increase of 6.3% for the year ending July 1, 2002. To reflect this growth in channels, the
FCC calculated the average rate per channel. On this basis, the average overall monthly
rate per channel increased from 65.6 cents to 66.4 cents per channel, an increase of
1.2%. Over the same period, the consumer price index increased by 1.5%. Thus, in real
terms, the per channel rate fell by approximately two-tenths of one percent.”


“The report also compares prices charged by cable operators facing effective competition
with those of cable operators not facing effective competition. Both groups increased
their average monthly rate for programming and equipment by 8.2% over the 12-month
period ending July 1, 2002. As of that date, cable operators facing competition were
charging, on average, $37.84 while operators not facing competition were charging
$40.26. The difference in average monthly rates between the competitive and
noncompetitive groups (the “competitive differential”) was 6.4% for 2002, close to the 5-
year average differential of 6.5%. On a per channel basis, competitive and
noncompetitive cable operators, respectively, charged 63.7 cents and 66.6 cents per
channel as of July 1, 2002, a differential in average monthly rate per channel of 4.6%.”


View full report at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-03-136A1.txt.
[Source: FCC]


Report on Community Technology Centers Released to the Ford Foundation


08.18.03 – A report released in January 2003 entitled “Community Technology
Centers as Catalysts for Community Change,” authored by Stephen Davies, Vice
President of Project for Public Spaces, Inc. (PPS), Randal D. Pinkett the President and
CEO of Building Community Technology (BCT) Partners, Lisa Servon of New School
University, and Andrew Wiley–Schwartz PPS assistant Vice President.



                                   9
According to the authors, “This report presents the findings from our exploratory
research into how community technology centers (CTCs) could function more effectively
as public spaces and as forces for positive social change at the community level. In
understanding the dynamics of their work at present, we hope to inform community
technology researchers, practitioners, and funders as to the ways in which the movement
can leverage its accomplishments of the past in order to serve communities more broadly
as it looks toward the future.” Goals of this research were to: “understand the extent to
which CTCs already think of themselves and act as public spaces in the communities they
serve; investigate perceptions of a gap between community development and
community technology work; explore the ways in which CTCs, as public spaces, can
catalyze broader positive community change and the strategies they are employing to do
so; identify the characteristics of CTCs that are most amenable to carrying out this
kind of work; discern what specific kinds of support CTCs require in order to do this kind
of work; and make recommendations regarding actions CTCs can take, and that funders
can use to establish priorities for CTCs.”


Some of their recommendations include bridging the community development/community
technology gap, provide funding to select CTCs that are acting as broad community
agents, and fund locally-driven strategies with regional connections. View report at
http://www.bctpartners.com/resources/CTCs_as_Catalysts.pdf. [Source: Building
Community Technology Partners]


Spectrum Deregulation Discussed in Recently Released Working Paper


08.01.03 - Michael Rothkopf, Professor at Rutgers Business School and Rutgers Center
for Operations Research and Coleman Bazelon, Economist and Vice President of Analysis
Group, Inc. have released a working paper on behalf of the New America Foundation
Spectrum Policy Program entitled “Interlicense Competition: Spectrum Deregulation
Without Confiscation or Giveaways.” According to the authors, the paper “proposes
an auction mechanism for distributing additional usage rights: interlicense competition.
Derived from an auction procedure used by the Interior Department for the auction of
mining leases, this mechanism grants license relaxation rights using competition, while
ensuring that the government still obtains the fair value of the licenses it is granting.
Interlicense competition overcomes the fact that the holders of existing usage rights have
a strong competitive advantage over any challengers.”      View paper at http://www.
newamerica.net/Download_Docs/pdfs/Pub_File_1329_1.pdf. [Source: New America
Foundation]


State Broadband Deployment Policy Rankings Unveiled


07.07.03 – Recently the Technology Network (TechNet), comprised of over 200 CEOs and
senior executives of the technology and biotechnology industries, released an assessment



                                    10
                of state policies that have a direct influence over broadband deployment. According to
                the assessment, Michigan was first on the list, while Georgia was not listed in the 25
                rankings provided. The report ranks the top 25 states “based on the extent to which
                their public policies spur or impede broadband deployment and demand, and includes a
                Best Practices Guide to the most innovative state broadband initiatives.” “The State
                Broadband Index calls on states to consider a range of policies critical to broadband
                deployment, including: legislation that standardizes and expedites rights-of-way
                permitting; adoption of a state-wide broadband strategy and creation of a lead
                broadband agency; comprehensive infrastructure mapping; policies to enable wholesale
                municipal networks; innovative initiatives that increase private sector deployment;
                financial incentives to reach underserved communities; and demand-promotion efforts
                including enhanced e-government.” View report at http://www.technet.org/resources/
                State_Broadband_Index.pdf. [Source: the Technology Network]




                07.21.03 - The House Committee on Energy and Commerce
Congressional
Hearing         Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet
Analysis
(OTP/GCATT)     Hearing Discussing “The Regulatory Status of Broadband Services: Information
                Services, Common Carriage, or Something in Between?”


                At issue was whether local telephone companies’ provision of broadband services is
                subject to outdated and “unhealthy” regulation in an environment where other competing
                forms of broadband such as cable and wireless are relatively unregulated. The debate
                over whether local telephone companies should receive equal treatment is posed with
                one side arguing that equal treatment will encourage investment, stimulate job creation,
                motivate head-to-head competition, deliver more choices, options and services to
                consumers. Those opposed to further deregulation argue that network owners would
                have full authority over choice as to whom may use their networks, what cost would be
                set and take place on the terms of the network owner. Opponents believe that less
                regulation would impair consumer interests. Those with the opposing view express that
                Congress will have removed barriers that promote competition, protect consumers, and
                ensure public safety services.


                View archive at http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/ram/07212003telecom. ram.


                Highlights of Key Testimony:


                Following the opening of the meeting, Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) stated that
                regulatory barriers should be taken down in regards to broadband services. He noted
                that the regulatory classification of broadband access to the internet (information




                                                    11
services) is unregulated and does not carry burden of things such as law enforcement.
Upton believes a distinction must be made between information and telecommunications
services. He stated that, “It makes no sense to tie one hand behind the backs of the
telephone companies seeking to provide the same service as the cable companies, or for
that matter, satellite TV companies, wireless companies, or hopefully, in the not to
distant future, powerline carrier companies."


Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) comments that brisk competition is necessary and that the
FCC reinterpreted the current statute applying to information services. He believes the
telecommunications industry continues to suffer because of a lack of high speed services
and its large position as a part of the national economy.   He felt that roadblocks should
be eliminated that inhibit competition through legislation in Congress, regulatory acts by
the FCC, and at the state level as appropriate. Regulatory mismanagement of broadband
and applying old rules to new broadband facilities discourages investment, he
emphasized. According to Rep. Dingell, if cable broadband deserves Title I treatment, so
does wireline broadband, when it comes to regulation of telephone companies.


Robert Nelson, Commissioner on the Michigan Public Service Commission
believed that the 1996 Telecommunications Act is now bearing fruit, the framework is
working, and now is not the time to undo rules. He briefly discussed the negative impact
the proceedings could have on his state of Michigan, in their efforts to promote
broadband deployment and economic growth in the telecommunications market.
When it comes to the reclassification of broadband services on voice services, Nelson
stated that, “If the FCC proceeds in making this new paradigm shift in the current rules,
the requirement that ILECs [incumbent Local Exchange Carriers] provide DSL as a
telecommunications service regulated under Title II of the Communications Act, and
consequently their obligations under FCC’s Computer II and III rules to provide non-
discriminatory access to non-affiliated ISPs, will be eliminated.” Also in his testimony he
expressed that, “As voice traffic continues to migrate to the broadband platform, all of
the consumer protections attendant to even the most basic common carrier voice service
will no longer automatically apply if the FCC declares that broadband services are a
“deregulated information service” instead of a common carrier service, as it is currently
classified.”


Finally he noted that nothing in the 1996 Act requires that many of the public interest
safeguards should be left to the FCC to decide “unilaterally” how to regulate transmission
services to further the Act’s goals. It is not clear to him how the FCC “could simply assert
its Title I ancillary authority to extend basic consumer protections applicable to Title II
services to Title I services.” He thought the Congress should bear in mind the following
issues before making any final decisions: the impact on intra-platform competition; the
current demand for existing facilities; impact on state proceedings to promote
competition    and   broadband   investment;    the   impact   on   state/federal   universal




                                   12
service/protections that apply only to common carrier services; and the impact on citizen
access to internet content.


Charles Davidson, Chairman of the Florida Public Service Commission pointed out
how less regulation can enhance the lives of children as was seen in a December 2002
President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report that cites how
broadband telemedicine can help reduce mortality rates in intensive care units by 15-
20%. Overall policy, he feels, is consistent with 1996 Telecommunications Act. National
policy is best suited to reflect “the notion that technological parity should result in
regulatory parity.” At the 2002 Waco Economic Forum, President Bush noted that the
private sector will provide broadband and government should remove all hurdles.
Davidson believes that if technological parity should occur with regulatory disparity, it will
create another hurdle for greater deployment through fewer choices for consumers and
less investment into the more “burdened” product.


Testimony may be viewed at http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/Hearings /0721
2003hearing1024/Davidson1604.htm.


Tom Tauke, Senior Vice-President of Verizon, initiated his testimony by reiterating
the importance of broadband. He believes that the pinnacle to reach is “fiber optic
deployment into neighborhoods and homes.” He stated that Verizon believes that the
“task of rewiring the country with fiber optics makes DSL deployment look like pocket
change.”


Tauke emphasized that a new approach that takes account of competitive broadband
deployment is necessary. He identified four needs on the part of government to do its
part to “reform current regulations that affirmatively hold back investment:” 1) a
Triennial Review order on broadband that is clear and the FCC to finally declare that
broadband technologies will not be subject to the unbundling rules that were devised for
a voice network; 2) a sound national policy that permits all infrastructure providers to
compete; 3) the FCC needs to classify broadband services as it has classified comparable
services provided by the dominant cable companies; 4) the FCC needs to reform the
“irrational and destructive” pricing rules that are taking away money that could otherwise
go to support new investment.


He concluded by saying, “The key to reinvigorating the telecommunications industry is to
send strong, consistent signals that uncertainty in policy is about to end and national
policies will be adopted forthwith that support, not impede, investment. We're ready to
do our part. If the government soon makes the right policy changes, broadband can be a
true American success story and help to re-ignite the economy.”


Testimony may be viewed at http://energycommerce.house.gov/




                                    13
108/Hearings/07212003hearing1024/Tauke1605.htm.


Thomas Jones, Willkie Farr & Gallagher (Representing Allegiance, Conversent and
Time Warner Telecom), believes reclassification of Title II broadband threatens
Congress’s telecommunications policy goals in two ways: 1) reclassifying services out of
Title II (reversing decades of precedent), the FCC would eliminate the ILECs' obligation to
sell broadband loops to their competitive local exchange carriers’ (CLEC) competitors and
2) reclassifying the broadband transmission used to provide ILEC Internet access as a
Title I service threatens many core social and national security policy objectives
established by Congress. For part two, he cited that “the FCC's proposal could cause
statutory requirements regarding universal service, privacy, access to the disabled and
unauthorized changes in service providers to become inapplicable to broadband.
Moreover, the requirements of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act
(CALEA) might not apply to transmissions delivered over broadband, including voice over
IP.”


Testimony may be viewed at http://energycommerce.house.gov/
108/Hearings/07212003hearing1024/Jones1606.htm.


Robert Sachs, CEO/President of the National Cable and Telecommunications
Association, in his testimony noted three items: 1) the widespread availability of
broadband Internet service across the U.S. is largely the result of the cable industry's
massive investment of private risk capital; 2) the cable industry has enhanced internet
because the FCC has avoided unnecessary regulation; and 3) the cable industry supports
policy that promotes broadband competition over that of regulation and “that any
government intervention should be aimed at deregulatory parity that says regulate down
and not up.”


Testimony may be viewed at http://www.ncta.com/pdf_files/RJSTest721.pdf


David Baker, VP of Law and Public Policy for Earthlink, suggested that the FCC may
be misconstruing the law and tilting towards common carrier providers. He stated, “The
effect would be far reaching because the common carrier transmission services that are
the foundation of the information economy would no longer be required to be made
available to information service providers upon reasonable request on non-discriminatory
terms and conditions. Network owners would be free to arbitrarily decide who can use
their networks, at what price, and on what terms. This would not only work against
consumer interests, but vital communications links that can be reached today under court
order by law enforcement agencies would suddenly be beyond reach because laws like
the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) would no longer apply.
Congress would have to re-write an entire body of laws that have been carefully enacted
over the years to promote competition, protect consumers, and provide for public




                                   14
safety.”


Testimony may be viewed at http://energycommerce.house.gov/
08/Hearings/07212003hearing1024/Baker1608.htm.


Debbie Goldman, Policy Committee Chairwoman of Alliance of Public Technology
(ATP), called for the FCC to develop a regulatory framework that allows investment for
all Americans. She included a APT report entitled "A Broadband World: The Promise of
Advanced Services" [http://apt.org/confer/ broadband-world.pdf], that highlights
broadband technology. She notes that universal and affordable broadband must be
made available.


Summary of her testimony from the Alliance of Public Technology [may be viewed at
http://www.apt.org/policy/72103.html]:
          The FCC must create a regulatory framework for broadband that encourages
           deployment and investment and ensures universal affordable access.
          A common regulatory framework must be applied equally to all broadband
           services and providers, regardless of the technology.
          The FCC took a step in the right direction in the Triennial Review by freeing
           wireline carriers from unbundling and retail price regulations. This will encourage
           investment in next generation technologies.
          The framework must continue the openness of the narrowband Internet
           environment, where content providers have nondiscriminatory access to the
           networks and users have access to the information sources of their choosing.
           The principle of nondiscriminatory interconnection must be maintained.
          Consumer protections, such as accessibility requirements for people with
           disabilities, must be maintained in the broadband world.

          All broadband providers should contribute to the universal service fund.
          The appropriate regulatory definition for broadband is found in Section 706 of
           the Telecommunications Act, the only section to specifically address advanced
           telecommunications technology.
          The FCC should use the umbrella language of Section 706 to craft a new
           regulatory framework for broadband, rather than stretching regulatory
           definitions written for separate technologies to fit broadband services.
          This approach allows for a single regulatory treatment for all broadband services
           in a technology neutral platform and reduces regulatory barriers to deployment
           and investment.

Committee Attendees:


The Honorable Fred Upton, Michigan, Chairman
The Honorable W.J. "Billy" Tauzin, Louisiana
The Honorable Edward J. Markey, Massachusetts




                                      15
The Honorable John D. Dingell, Michigan

Panel Attendees:

Mr. Robert Pepper Ph.D.
Chief, Policy Development
Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC, 20554


Commissioner Robert B. Nelson
Michigan Public Service Commission
Chairman, Committee on Telecommunications
National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners
6545 Mercantile Way
Lansing, MI, 48911


Mr. Charles M. Davidson
Commissioner
Florida Public Service Commission
2540 Shumard Oak Boulevard
Tallahassee, FL, 32399

Mr. Thomas J. Tauke
Senior Vice President
Government Relations
Verizon Communications, Inc.
1300 I Street, N.W.Suite 400 West
Washington, DC, 20005

Mr. Thomas Jones
Willkie Farr & Gallagher
1875 K Street, N.W.
Washington, DC, 20006-1238

Mr. Robert Sachs
President & Chief Executive Officer
National Cable & Telecommunications Association
1724 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W
Washington, DC, 20036

Mr. David Baker
Vice President
Law and Public Policy
EarthLink, Inc.
1375 Peachtree Street
Atlanta, GA, 30309

Ms. Debbie Goldman
Policy Committee Chairwoman
Alliance for Public Technology
919 18th Street NWSuite 900
Washington, DC, 20006

Mr. Paul Misener
Vice President for Global Public Policy
Amazon.com
126 C Street, NW, Suite #3




                                    16
             Washington, DC, 20001




                                                                             Office of Technology Policy

Newsletter                                                                                and Programs
Info
                                                     TELECOM/IT POLICY HIGHLIGHTS 7.03-8.03
                                                                                      July-August 2003


             Jason R. Anavitarte, Editor (jason.anavitarte@gcatt.gatech.edu)
             Telecom/IT Policy Highlights presents legislative, regulatory, legal, and other items of
             interest pertinent to information, telecommunications, and related technology policy and
             research. For additional information regarding the information provided in this report, or
             if there are newsworthy items that should be included in future editions, please feel free
             to contact Jason R. Anavitarte, Research Specialist [jason.anavitarte@gcatt.gatech.edu],
             or Paul M.A. Baker, Ph.D., Assoc. Dir. of Policy Research [paul.baker@gcatt.gatech.edu].




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