Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Doug Dawson's policy Rx for telecom infrastructure

A couple of telecom policy prescriptions from fellow blogger Doug Dawson that make a lot of sense:

A New Telecom Act? | POTs and PANs: Fund Fiber Everywhere. There was recently a bill introduced in Congress to add $50M to the RUS for rural broadband grants. That makes such a tiny dent in the problem as to be embarrassing. If we believe as a country that broadband is essential for our economic future, then let’s do what other countries have done and start a federal program to build fiber everywhere, from rural America to inner cities. I could write a week’s worth of blogs about how this could be done, but it needs to be done. 
Dawson's spot on here. Under current public policy (the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's 2015 Open Internet regulations), Internet telecommunications is considered a common carrier public utility with a universal access mandate like Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) for decades beforehand. But de facto policy is to grant an effective franchise to dominant legacy telephone and cable companies to operate in limited "footprints," negating universal service. Dawson's also right on in criticizing pathetically underfunded and largely symbolic efforts to create a "public option" for telecommunications infrastructure. The United States can't do the job by setting aside millions for infrastructure that costs billions to construct and operate.

Stop Subsidizing Non-Broadband. It should be impossible for the FCC to provide any funding or subsidies to broadband connections that don’t meet their own definition of what constitutes broadband speeds.
Again, Dawson hits on a huge disconnect between de jure and de facto public policy on telecom infrastructure. It makes no sense to waste money on technology that's obsolete the day it's deployed such as the FCC's 2015 high cost area subsidy program rules allowing funding of technology that was state of the art in 2005. I would go even further than Dawson's proposal in suggesting abandoning the fixation with "broadband speed" altogether and instead defining all premise telecom infrastructure as fiber optic technology.

No comments:

Web Analytics