Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to adopt a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking aimed at “Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment.” It proposes reforms to pole attachments, and begins examining preemption of local and state barriers to broadband deployment. Bundled among these smaller issues, however, is an effort to potentially reverse the FCC’s Technology Transitions Order adopted in 2015.
The Federal Communications Commission has been on a bit of a crusade under Chairman Ajit Pai’s leadership so far, taking any steps they can to reverse or undermine Wheeler-era accomplishments, no matter the pushback. While he’s had some success (and is poised to take yet another stab at limiting broadband competition this morning), there’s another item on today’s agenda. Wrapped (somewhat deceptively) in language justifying deregulation with promises of infrastructure deployment, and lumped in with other valuable proposals, is an effort to gut important consumer protections implemented to ensure a smooth path through arguably the largest digital infrastructure project on the horizon: the tech transitions.
The two Orders the FCC will vote on today probably have more impact on the future of our communications infrastructure than the Title II reclassification of broadband, but like many technical topics, it hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves.
Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission confirmed the agency’s July 14 Open Meeting agenda, including an item on the phone network’s technology transition. This digital or “IP” transition involves all carriers transitioning the phone network from copper lines to fiber cables. Public Knowledge, which has long spearheaded efforts to ensure this massive phone network upgrade remains an upgrade for all Americans, commends the FCC on its progress.
Today, Verizon Wireless and INCOMPAS, a trade association representing telecommunications companies, sent a joint letter to the Federal Communications Commission urging the agency to adopt a permanent special access framework that accommodates new technology while encouraging the transition from legacy telecommunication services to internet protocol. Public Knowledge commends both Verizon and INCOMPAS for working together to craft a special access proposal that promotes competition and innovation in the marketplace.