The National Broadband Plan that the FCC presented on 17 March 2010 sets the USA on a completely different telecoms path. Within the limitations of the legal systems governing telecoms in this country this is the best plan that those who share the vision of open networks and understand the social and economic benefits that would flow from a trans-sector use of broadband infrastructure, could hope for. This should shows Congress that it is worthwhile making the legislative changes that will deliver the national benefits that are clearly laid out in the report.
The plan is very pro-consumer, pro-privacy and pro-competition, with significant changes proposed to access regimes, wholesale facilities and competition in both the telco and broadcasting markets. Overly restrictive copyright rules will also be reviewed.
As was stipulated by Congress, the plan does not contain a review of the current rather poor state of competition in the residential market; nor does it address the fact that in order to support the digital economy better infrastructure is needed in place of the ageing copper-based networks. Any reference to structural changes to the industry is also significantly absent.
Overall the plan also fails to more directly address the need to monetize the social and economic benefits, and it therefore places too much emphasis on commercial solutions. As those benefits are mostly off-balance-sheet for the telcos, the government needs to take a more serious leadership role here.
This report was archived in July 2013.