Inquiry 2000 Proceeds on Deployment of Advanced Services
BY KIM SUNDERLAND
The FCC has initiated a second inquiry into whether advanced services are being deployed in a reasonable and timely manner.
Commission Chairman William E. Kennard says the FCC
(www.fcc.gov) particularly is interested in deployment rate for rural and inner-city areas, and for people with disabilities.
The inquiry will provide data to help the commission determine whether advanced services are being made available on a widespread basis. Reply comments for the inquiry are due April 4, and the FCC will issue during the summer its second report on the matter.
During the inquiry, the commission also wants to receive recommendations on how to accelerate the availability of advanced services if deployment is not up to par.
“Let there be no doubt, this agency is very focused on the rapid deployment of broadband in all communities,” says Commissioner Susan Ness.
Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth said he hopes those submitting comments “suggest where some (regulations) can be removed,” rather than to ask for more regulations.
The FCC issued in February 1999 its first report on advanced services. At that time, it concluded deployment of advanced services was “reasonable and timely.” However, it also said it was difficult to reach a firm judgment “given the early stage of deployment” at that time.
Since that first report, the FCC says deployment has increased substantially. It says high-speed services are used by more than a million residential subscribers, and that it is encouraged by the many companies that are investing into high-speed service.
The FCC reports that it expects the investments will increase competition and deployment to all sectors nationally.
As one FCC attorney recently noted, the commission now has another year of experience and information under its belt, and it should be able to make more concrete determinations about the state of advanced services deployment.
Section 706 of the Telecom Act
In general, “the Commission and each State commission with regulatory jurisdiction over telecommunications services shall encourage the deployment on a reasonable and timely basis of advanced telecommunications capability to all Americans (including, in particular, elementary and secondary schools and classrooms) by utilizing, in a manner consistent with the public interest, convenience, and necessity, price cap regulation, regulatory forbearance, measures that promote competition in the local telecommunications market, or other regulating methods that remove barriers to infrastructure investment.”
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