Press Release

Public Knowledge Sees Broadband Grant Conditions Helping Consumers

July 1, 2009 , ,

The following statement is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge:

“We are pleased that the requirements for the broadband grant program include strong non-discrimination and interconnection conditions so that some lawful Internet content and applications are not favored over others. These conditions will help consumers and create vitality in the services created by the program.

“We are also glad to see strong disclosure requirements for practices or methods carriers might employ to allocate capacity among different applications or providers.

“We have some reservations about the ability of carriers to offer so-called 'managed services.' The point of the stimulus program is to ensure widespread access to the broadband Internet. We are concerned that carriers may use 'managed services' to cannibalize content from, and shrink the available network capacity to, the Internet, for customers of the new networks.

“We note that grant applications will be graded on the extent to which they exceed the minimum requirements for interconnection and non-discrimination and offer wholesale access. We suggest that points be deducted from application scoring for excessive offering of 'managed services' which are not bound by the non-discrimination rules.”

Public Knowledge actively participated in creating the grant conditions. The organization filed comments with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration advocating open and non-discriminatory networks conditions. PK President Gigi Sohn and Communications Director Art Brodsky testified at the roundtable session NTIA and the Agriculture Department sponsored in March. See our earlier press release for details.