Tuesday, August 31, 2004

What should the Telecom Act of 2006 look like?

The first proposal on this is saw at the 2004 Spring VON in the Telecom Policy Forum presented from Kathryn C. Brown (Verizon)

Kathryn stated in her presentation:

Title I (similar to ECS) is the appropriate regulatory classification for all broadband services to encourage maximum investment and innovation.

However, all participants in the broadband value chain should embrace a set of connectivity principles which ensure that consumers:
-Can gain access to any content on the internet
-Can run the applications they choose
-Have adequate information regarding their service capabilities
-Can attach any devices to their broadband connection that do not harm the network

FCC (the regulators) will retain authority under Title I (ECS). If needed, they can step in and take action these principles are being violated and the public interest is harmed.

Tim Wu now posted 6 similar principles on Lawrence Lessig's Blog

Six Principles

1. Codification of the right to use the the applications and network attachments of one's choice (otherwise known as Network Neutrality or Network Freedom).

2. Total and final destruction of the vertical regulatory classifications (Title II for common carriers, Title III for wireless, Title IV for cable), replacement with a simple horizontal model.

3. Full and clear preemption of most state and local regulation -- ideally, with limited exceptions.

4. Directed spectrum reform -- of virtually any kind.

5. Any VoIP rules that don't kill VoIP.

6. Abandonment of '96 Act "Unbundled Network Element" approach to telephony competition -- the litigation costs just aren't worth it.

I've left out alot here, but these are what I see as steps forward. Many other issues are battles over the division of existing rents -- particularly the battles over voice

He also points to some papers floating around- see there.

David S. Isenberg comments on this on his isen.blog in the following way:

"I think this is a constructive first step, and a good conversation starter. So let the conversation begin!

My main beef is that the Six Principles are sadly missing a prolog. What and who should the network be for? It needs a "we hold these truths to be evident" clause. I would propose that it should say something like:
Because communication is inherently valuable and essential to all human beings, the Internet should be designed, coded, and regulated to optimize its connectivity and usefulness to all humans everywhere. Governments should make no law, and coders should write no code that negates, countervenes or diminishes this central value.

Such a prolog informs the reader of the Six Principles e.g., *who* has the right laid out in Principle #1.

A couple other points:
Re #4: Spectrum reform of any kind? Really???
Re #5: One person might think that Regulation X would kill VOIP, while another might think that the very same regulation would make VOIP safe, or make it more acceptable, or something.
Re #6: Abandoning the UNE strategy is one way to go, but putting real teeth in it, e.g., the government will step in if you don't (the way Japan successfully unbundled) is another way to go.

To sum up my first impressions: Tim Wu's attempt is valiant and important, but naive and incomplete. (My first reactions to it, above, are equally naive and incomplete.) We needs a lot more work to create a viable guide to the next telecom act!"

Definetely ;-)

In Europe, a similar discussion is going on with the consultation on VoIP by the European Commission: Public consultation on the regulatory treatment of VoIP under the EU regulatory framework.

Since the comments should be sent in today latest, the will hopefully soon show up on the EU webpage

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