IIA Calls for Comprehensive Reform of Monopoly-Era Regulations Inhibiting the IP Transition in Comments to FCC on AT&T Petition
Says Requiring Carriers to Maintain Dual Networks Is Counterproductive, Siphoning Investment away from Next-Generation Networks
WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 28, 2013 – In comments on the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) focusing on the November 7, 2012 petition by AT&T, the Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA), a broad-based coalition supporting broadband access and adoption for all Americans, offers recommendations to accelerate the transition to an all-Internet Protocol (IP) network:
IIA believes the Commission’s long-term goals should be:
(1) Accelerating the IP transition by removing regulatory barriers that no longer make sense,
(2) Encouraging investment in advanced infrastructure and broader deployment of IP to all Americans, and
(3) Ensuring no consumers are “left behind,” losing access at least as good as they already have.
From the Alliance:
“The evolution from circuit-switched TDM telephone networks to capacious, IP-enabled platforms is transforming the telecom marketplace and creating extraordinary consumer opportunities. The world of ‘plain old telephone service’ is long-gone. In its place, today’s telecom consumers enjoy incredible innovation and furious cross-platform competition. The FCC should combine the IP transition elements of the various FCC proceedings into a single, logical framework that would enable all interested parties to have a clear understanding of, and better ability to participate in, the FCC’s proceeding.
“While the era of the telecom monopoly is long over, monopoly-era regulations persist. One of the most counterproductive, monopoly-era regulations still on-the-books is the requirement for legacy carriers to continue maintaining redundant legacy copper (non-IP) networks, even when they are no longer needed for the carrier to serve its customers. Faced with an extensive series of legacy obligations, incumbent network operators can either continue maintaining dual networks, siphoning investment away from IP networks, or work with policy makers at the Commission and in Congress to modernize telecom regulations to better fit with actual market realities and technological trends.
“To accelerate the IP transition this year, the FCC should quickly approve AT&T’s proposed plan to establish demonstration project trials in selected communities, much like the closely-observed Wilmington, North Carolina market trial in advance of the nationwide, digital TV broadcasting switchover in June 2009. Beta trials are the norm in industry when it comes to the initial roll-out of products and services. They enable market participants to test and better understand consumer acceptance and reactions, leading to more robust future offerings. We can only benefit from such a look-before-we-leap.”