Public Knowledge Disappointed with FCC Broadband Plan
Public Knowledge Disappointed with FCC Broadband Plan
Public Knowledge Disappointed with FCC Broadband Plan

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    Background: This morning the staff of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) presented the policy outlines for the Congressionally mandated broadband plan, which is to be presented to Congress in 63 days.

    The following statement is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge:

    “We are disappointed at what the FCC staff said were the most critical elements of the Commission’s broadband plan. At a time when U.S. standing in the world is rapidly falling in broadband penetration and adoption, and when bold plans are called for, the Commission appears to be satisfied with taking incremental steps.

    “As the staff and Chairman Genachowski said, competition is the key to increasing our broadband capacities, yet nothing in the outline presented this morning would increase competition. Reforming universal service and supporting municipal networks are worthwhile goals, but they would do nothing to reverse the slide caused by eight years of misbegotten telecommunications policies that have crippled most meaningful broadband competition for consumers.

    “There was no discussion of opening telecommunications networks to competitors. There was no discussion of structural separations of carriers into wholesale and retail components. These are the factors that Harvard’s Berkman Center told the FCC in a study a mere two months ago were the reasons other countries have surpassed ours – they are using policies we discarded.

    “On a more discreet issue, PK has long been involved in trying to enhance the capabilities of set-top boxes. It is ironic that the Commission staff told the Commission it favored having set-top boxes with increased capacity, while at the same time the FCC Media Bureau is doing everything it can to diminish the capabilities of set-top boxes now, through granting waivers for lower-functioning units and through its consideration of allowing the motion picture industry to control the outputs of existing boxes. If the FCC believes that set top boxes will play a key role in Internet connectivity, it should look to the future.”

    Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at or 405-249-9435.