IIA Comments in FCC Broadband Deployment Inquiry 

On September 17, the Internet Innovation Alliance submitted its white paper, Evolving Preferences – Consumer Preferences Tilting Towards Mobile Broadband, to the FCC for consideration in its annual inquiry into the deployment of advanced telecommunications capability. Some of the white paper highlights that IIA believes the FCC should consider include:

  • Distinctions between broadband delivery methods no longer matter to U.S. consumers. The market research shows that almost as many consumers prefer to access the Internet through mobile as through cable modems.
  • Consumers are willing to switch to mobile-only Internet access. Millions of consumers across all kinds of demographic groups have already done so – younger consumers, older consumers, consumers of all races, consumers living in cities and consumers living in rural areas.
  • A clear majority of consumers now use mobile devices for “bandwidth and data-intensive applications” like streaming multimedia content. Over 57% of consumers use their mobile devices to watch news and sports, as well as stream movies and television shows from services like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and other content providers.
  • Mobile devices now play an important role in completing homework assignments and applying for jobs.  Nearly 1 in 2 U.S. households with children have used mobile devices to complete homework assignments in the past year. And 1 in 4 U.S. consumers have used mobile devices to apply for a job in the past year.

Review IIA’s Ex Parte filing of the IIA white paper and CivicScience Consumer Preferences Report here.

IIA Files Comments in Support of USTelecom Forbearance Petition

IIA submitted comments at the FCC on August 6 in support of USTelecom’s request for forbearance from certain outdated requirements of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. USTelecom’s Petition seeks forbearance from regulatory mandates for outmoded technologies that will have no place in the next-generation networks of the future. In its filing, IIA highlights how, “in the BDS market, and throughout the range of communications technologies that serve American consumers and businesses alike, the past two decades have witnessed an explosion of innovation, deployment of new platforms and technologies, such as new cable services, Ethernet products, and a massive expansion of wireless technology.” IIA showed support for the USTelecom Forbearance Petition and urged the FCC to eliminate its outdated mandates, particularly those related to the BDS market, and grant the Petition speedily.

FCC’s New Frontier: Time to Auction 2.5 GHz Spectrum to Close Homework Gap

IIA Honorary Chairman Rick Boucher had an op-ed published by RCR Wireless on September 24, highlighting the ways that Internet usage continues to transform education.  Boucher also details the role that the FCC can play in supporting education by repurposing the currently-underutilized 2.5 GHz spectrum band and making it available in an auction.

The spectrum in this band is primarily held by educational and religious institutions, but most of it is leased by those institutions to mobile wireless operators, subject to limits under current regulations. The fact that this spectrum is leased to wireless carriers to the greatest legally-possible extent underscores that the best use for the spectrum is in helping to meet the needs of mobile data users.

Given these realities, Boucher says that it’s time to 1) conduct an incentive auction for the spectrum, placing it under the ownership of wireless carriers, 2) remove existing limits on the amount that can be utilized for commercial purposes and 3) adequately compensate educational institutions that participate in the auction.

You can read the full piece here.

Further Reading

Check out IIA Co-Chair Kim Keenan’s op-ed, “Privacy Topping Public Policy Priority List, At Last, With FTC Hearings,” published by Morning Consult on September 14.  Boucher also had a piece published by Bloomberg BNA on September 6, “Congress Needs to Put the Net Neutrality Debate to Rest to Help Close the Digital Divide.”  And IIA Co-Chair Bruce Mehlman authored an op-ed for Inside Sources on August 9,“Congress Got This One Right – Retire Old Regulations.”