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Providers don't want to be under FCC regulatory control

Part of the billions of taxpayer dollars that president Obama set aside to help the economy and improve the technology used in many parts of the government is allotted to greatly improving the internet infrastructure in America. Millions of Americans around the country have no access to broadband or simply can’t afford access.

One of the first steps towards overhauling the national broadband infrastructure will be the unveiling of a new broadband plan by the FCC on March 17. The FCC began working on the national broadband plan back in April 2009. The FCC is looking at multiple methods of funding a national broadband plan including reallocation of funds collected in the Universal Service Fund. Last week, the FCC announced that it is aiming for nationwide broadband speeds of 100Mbps, but ISPs are already saying it will be hard to hit that speed in the next ten years.

Reuters reports that the FCC's national broadband plan is set to be unveiled on March 17 to Congress. The plan hopes to bring affordable and fast broadband internet access to the 90 million Americans who lack service today. According to the FCC, the major barriers it sees to broadband adoption by more Americas are cost, digital literacy, and relevance.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement, "In the 21st century, a digital divide is an opportunity divide. To bolster American competitiveness abroad and create the jobs of the future here at home, we need to make sure that all Americans have the skills and means to fully participate in the digital economy."

Cost is one of the main barriers to broadband cited by the FCC. Subscribers to broadband access around the country pay on average $40.68 per month while those bundling with other services at about $37.70 monthly. The cost of getting a computer in the home is also part of the cost barrier to getting broadband for many Americans. The FCC has not yet said how it plans to overcome the cost issues to broadband adoption or the other barriers for Americans.

As the FCC gets ready to unveil the national broadband plan next month, broadband ISPs are speaking out against any new regulations form the FCC over their networks. The FCC has been urged to place ISPs under the same regulatory umbrella that telecom providers operate under by digital rights groups. A decision on an old case currently before the federal appeals court could possibly derail the FCCs plans for national broadband reports the 
Washington Post.

Digital rights groups urge the FCC to place the broadband providers alongside phone providers with regulatory controls. The FCC is waiting on the federal appeals court to offer a ruling on whether it has authority over broadband providers. The appeal if from a 2007 case against Comcast where the FCC found the ISP violated open-access guidelines prohibiting network providers form slowing or blocking websites.

AT&T and Verizon are two of the largest broadband providers in the country. Both firms penned a 14-page document along with trade groups arguing that classifying broadband service providers along with phone services would be to "extremist" and add too many onerous ruled for the broadband industry.

The paper written by the companies stated, "The proposed regulatory about-face would be untenable as a legal matter, and, at a minimum, would plunge the industry into years of litigation and regulatory chaos."



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RE: It's about time
By JediJeb on 2/23/2010 4:14:46 PM , Rating: 2
This is true, if it were not true I would agree with the post above about the cost, but since they took the money and are now complaining about the cost almost 15 years later I do not feel sorry for the broadband providers. Most of the money if I recall went to AT&T and the Bell splitoffs from them.

Where my sister lives here in Ky, there is a small local Telco that has provided more or less FioS service that is broadband internet, telephone, and Digital TV all over one wire to towns of less than 1700 people. They are now working to spread it out to the rest of the rural parts of the county. The same company was also one of the first to offer cell service outside of the larger cities in the state and still dominates at least 1/3 of the state in cell service. If a small private company can do something like this, there is no excuse what so ever for a company like AT&T or Verison to do the same.


RE: It's about time
By HrilL on 2/23/2010 6:39:26 PM , Rating: 2
that small company might not be public and doesn't have to do whats best for the share holders. Problem with the big ISPs is the CEO isn't going to do anything revolutionary. Big companies stick to the status qua and try to suck as much out of their customers while giving them as little as they can.


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