FCC Tackles Broadband Transition With New Task Force

By Craig Galbraith Comments
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The Federal Communications Commission has formed a new task force with the goal of coordinating the Commission's efforts on IP interconnection, resiliency of 21st century communications networks, business broadband competition, and consumer protection with a particular focus on voice services.

The agency-wide Technology Transitions Policy Task Force will be led by the FCC's general counsel, Sean Lev, who will serve as interim director.

“The Technology Transitions Policy Task Force will play a critical role in answering the fundamental policy question for communications in the 21st century: In a broadband world, how can we best ensure that our nation’s communications policies continue to drive a virtuous cycle of innovation and investment, promote competition, and protect consumers?" said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

The nation’s broadband transition is complicated, the FCC noted. Communications networks are increasingly migrating from special purpose to general purpose, from circuit-switched to packet-switched, and from copper to fiber and wireless-based networks.

The task force will also consider recommendations from the Technological Advisory Committee on the PSTN Transition, coordinate with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners' (NARUC) Presidential Task Force on federalism and telecommunications, and evaluate the feedback from the Commission’s pending field hearings on Superstorm Sandy.

The task force will conduct a data-driven review and provide recommendations to modernize the FCC's policies in a process that encourages the technological transition, empowers and protects consumers, promotes competition, and ensures network resiliency and reliability.

“This is an important development," said NARUC Committee on Telecommunications Chair John Burke. "The telecommunications industry is evolving at a lightening pace, but as we’ve learned from recent natural disasters, even the most advanced network is no match for Mother Nature. Moreover, many of our friends and family live in rural, hard-to-reach areas. No matter the technology, we have an obligation to serve all Americans. We must not leave anyone behind in this digital evolution."

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