Today, the Federal Communications Commission held an open meeting to discuss the future of the nation's communications infrastructure. The IP Transition was the item of most importance as the Commission laid out its first steps. The Commission plans to begin the first stages of voluntary trials in select areas to test the viability of an IP-based communications infrastructure. These trials, as well as the transition, will be implemented with a framework that adheres to the values of the current network. The four values detailed by the Commission to govern the transition are public safety, universal access, competition, and consumer protection.
Public Knowledge agrees with the FCC that the new network must be rigorously tested to ensure that consumers have a system that is even better than the network Americans rely on today. On January 13, Public Knowledge submitted a detailed engineering report to the FCC identifying the areas that will need concentrated and systemic testing, including cybersecurity, 9-1-1 reliability, and voice quality.
The fact that the FCC adopted a framework steeped in traditional values and allowed for voluntary pilot testing shows that they have heard consumers and are taking the right steps to empower Americans as the country transitions to a new network. Public Knowledge will continue to work closely with AT&T and the Commission to safely upgrade America's communications network for everyone.
The following can be attributed to Harold Feld, Senior Vice President:
“The transition of our phone network for the digital future began on the right road today. By unanimous vote, the FCC agreed on two important things. First, the phone transition must leave no one behind. Every American should enjoy the same quality of service and the same competitive alternatives after the transition as they enjoy today, if not better. By adopting fundamental principles similar to the ones urged by Public Knowledge, today's order properly makes consumer protection, public safety and competition the roadmap for moving forward.
“Second, and more importantly, a unanimous FCC agrees that customers are not guinea pigs. The proposed technical trials will proceed on a voluntary basis, with safeguards to protect small businesses, rural subscribers and other vulnerable populations such as the elderly and the poor. By building on the knowledge gained in these trials, the FCC can manage the process to minimize disruption and maximize benefit for all.
“If the principles adopted today are the road map to the future, then these trials are a vital first step on that road. While we will no doubt see many arguments along the way until we get there, it's nice to know that even if this is the most dysfunctional and partisan Washington anyone can remember, we can at least start with agreement on where we want to go and the first steps on how to get there.”
Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-249-9435.