FCC Puts Consumers First in Tech Transitions

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Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve two items to protect consumers and encourage technology transitions in the phone network.

In one item, the FCC proposed rules to establish how the agency will evaluate carriers’ proposals to transition their networks to new technologies. In the second item, the FCC proposed rules to ensure reliability and accountability in 911 service in response to frequent interstate 911 outages due to technology transitions. Public Knowledge joins the Benton Foundation and the National Consumer Law Center, on behalf of its low-income clients, in commending the FCC for using its authority to put consumers first in technology transitions.

The following can be attributed to Jodie Griffin, Senior Staff Attorney at Public Knowledge:

“Public Knowledge applauds the FCC’s decision to begin the process of establishing rules that protect consumers and give certainty to all stakeholders in the technology transitions. Strong rules that ensure the transitions will be a true step forward for everyone will encourage people to adopt new technologies, safe in the knowledge that new technologies will be as good or better than what customers had before.”

The following can be attributed to Amina Fazlullah, Director of Policy at the Benton Foundation:

“We are also glad to see the FCC solicit comment on reports from customers across the country of carriers forcing people off existing services or upselling them to more expensive packages. As the FCC unanimously confirmed in January, universal access to affordable, basic service is a fundamental value of our phone network, and customers should not lose access to basic service as a result of network upgrades.”

The following can be attributed to Olivia Wein, Staff Attorney at the National Consumer Law Center:

“We have already seen too many examples of technology transitions that unexpectedly make our network start fraying at the edges. IP technologies have led to business practices that leave rural customers unable to send or receive phone calls. Software glitches have caused millions of people to lose 911 access for hours at a time. Fixed wireless services have left behind people dependent on heart monitors and small businesses using credit card processors. The FCC is now taking steps to ensure these network transitions are handled responsibly, and that the transitions will be a true step forward for everyone.”

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