Friday, August 05, 2005
Creative Voices' reacts to FCC ruling allowing telcos to block competitive DSL access;
Date: Fri, 05 Aug 2005 16:59:50 -0400 (EDT)
From: Jonathan Rintels <email@example.com>
Statement of Jonathan Rintels, Executive Director, Center for Creative
Voices in Media, on today's FCC decision that telephone companies no
longer must share access to their broadband DSL lines with competing
Internet Service Providers.
Today's FCC decision that telephone companies no longer must share access
to their broadband DSL lines with competing Internet Service Providers is
not good for creative artists and the American public, but it could have
been far, far worse.
Following the Supreme Court's decision in the Brand
X case upholding the FCC's earlier elimination of competition from cable
broadband service, as Commissioner Copps correctly notes in his
Concurring Statement, "the handwriting is on the wall."
There was no
doubt that the Commission would extend the same ill-considered regulatory
treatment to the telephone companies' competing DSL broadband service.
Now, thanks to the Commission, cable and telephone companies will both
have the power to stop other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from
offering competing service on their broadband networks.
According to the
FCC's July 2005 report on High Speed Internet Access, in December 2004
approximately 94 percent of Americans subscribing to high speed
Internet access received it from either a cable or a telephone company.
Given that tremendous market share, today's FCC action eliminating
competing ISPs will give cable and telephone companies even greater
opportunities to provide the poor quality service at an inflated price
for which they are so well known.
To compensate for eliminating ISP
competition on these companies' broadband lines, the Commission should
immediately fast-track additional ways for Americans to receive high
speed Internet access other than via cable and telco, including freeing
up additional spectrum for new wireless broadband competition.
However, today's FCC action also gives reasons for cautious optimism. In
conjunction with today's decision, the Commission unanimously adopted an
important policy statement on the principles that will guide its future
policymaking concerning high speed Internet access. These four principles
of "Net Neutrality" are critical for preserving the open Internet that
Americans enjoy today, in contrast to a possible closed or proprietary
Internet that might resemble either a cable television system "on
steroids" or the "walled garden" that was the old, pre-Internet America
Online. The principles are:
1. Consumers are entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their
2. Consumers are entitled to run applications and services of their
choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement;
3. Consumers are entitled to connect their choice of legal devices that
do not harm the network;
4. Consumers are entitled to competition among network providers,
application and service providers, and content providers.
Creative Voices has strenuously advocated these "Net Neutrality"
principles for the benefit of creative artists seeking to reach an
audience, as well as an audience seeking to reach creative artists.
larger scale, as demonstrated by the inclusion of these principles in the
Bill of Media Rights, a document endorsed by organizations representing
over 20 million Americans, "Net Neutrality" serves the broad public
interest in the widest possible dissemination of news, information, and
entertainment from a multitude of diverse voices and viewpoints, free
from control by the cable and telephone companies providing the high
speed Internet access that is increasingly necessary in our society.
We look forward to working with the Commission to ensure that these Net
Neutrality principles are not given mere lip service, but are rigorously
implemented and enforced in a manner that serves the interests of all
Americans. Todays open Internet must be kept safe from a hostile
takeover by the few corporate gatekeepers who now control high speed
access to it, following todays Commission ruling.
Additional information and background on our concerns about the effects
of the Brand X case may be found in our article in the current Journal of
the Caucus for Television Producers, Writers & Directors, which is posted
on our website, link below.
If you have any questions or comments on the above, please don't hesitate
to contact me.
Center for Creative Voices in Media
Center for Creative Voices in Media
1220 L Street, N.W., Suite 100-494
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 448-1517 (voice)
(202) 318-9183 (fax)