For Immediate Release
- Art Brodsky, Public Knowledge 202-518-0020 (o) 301-908-7715 (c)
- Craig Aaron, Free Press 202-265-1490
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should use its auction of the valuable 700 MHz spectrum to create high-speed Internet service that will be a true competitor to broadband services offered by telephone and cable companies, a group of public-interest and consumer groups said today.
In a series of three filings with the FCC, the six-member Save Our Spectrum coalition said the Commission should structure the auction of the spectrum, and the service offered over it, so that the service will be operated in a non-discriminatory manner, under an open access structure following auction rules that will allow for greater participation than simply the incumbents.
The members of the coalition are: Public Knowledge, Media Access Project, Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America, New America Foundation and Free Press.
In the filing on non-discrimination issues coordinated by Public Knowledge and New America Foundation, the coalition said the Commission should “establish a service rule for broadband services operating in the 700 MHz band that protects the consumer's right to use any equipment, content, application or service on a non-discriminatory basis without interference from the network provider.” This recommendation would make certain the landmark 1968 Carterfone decision allowing consumer to attach devices ranging from fax machines to computers to the telephone network, and would implement Net Neutrality principles of non-discrimination.
The open-access filing, coordinated by Consumers Union, argued that broadband deployment has advanced in other countries that allow competitors access to telephone-company networks. That filing said: “It is imperative that we learn the lessons of the wireline market and make the appropriate policy corrections in the launch of the most promising wireless broadband markets. Wireless broadband has not been a useful 'third pipe' and will not be in the near future if this spectrum is auctioned to the very same vertically integrated telephone and cable incumbents that dominate the wireline market.”
In the proposed auction rules, a filing coordinated by the Media Access Project, the coalition recommended the Commission offer the new spectrum at the wholesale level, and should “either prohibit wireline and large wireless incumbents from bidding, or require them to bid through structurally separate affiliates.” The Commission should also guard against winners of the spectrum auction do not keep the spectrum from being used by not constructing new services.
To join the telephone press conference TODAY at 1 p.m., call 973-582-2885 and give the code #8650285*
Here are links for the full filings at the Public Knowledge site:
Ex Parte Comments of The Ad Hoc Public Interest Spectrum Coalition — Auction Rules
Ex Parte Comments of The Ad Hoc Public Interest Spectrum Coalition — Network Neutrality
Ex Parte Comments of The Ad Hoc Public Interest Spectrum Coalition — Open Access
The comments are also posted at www.freepress.net: