FCC Sec. 706 NOI Draws Advocacy Group Praise

The FCC's signal in a Notice of Inquiry Tuesday that its latest Sec. 706 report could start factoring in usage limits and latency and other network management issues as it considers what is reasonable and timely deployment of advanced communications and just what speed and level of access qualifies as "advanced" drew applause from public interest groups.

"The primary goal of the national Broadband Plan is for 100 million U.S. homes to have affordable access to actual download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second by 2020," said Benton Foundation Director of Policy Amina Fazlullah. "In today’s NOI, the FCC is using its broad powers under Section 706 of the Communications Act to ask the right questions and take the right measurements to ensure the U.S. reaches our stated goal. The Benton Foundation welcomes the FCC action and its potential positive impact on advancing other national priorities including civic participation, public safety and homeland security, healthcare, and education."

“Today’s definition of ‘broadband’ is woefully outdated," said Delara Derakhshani, policy counsel for Consumers Union, "especially with consumers living more of their lives on the Internet and relying on broadband for more day-to-day services. As technology advances allow companies to provide more complex products, it’s important that the bar is raised for baseline broadband speed so that consumers can get the most out of these services. We are also encouraged that the FCC is considering taking elements like data caps, price, and quality in to consideration. A comprehensive look at what broadband means would not be complete without examining the entire consumer broadband experience.”

"We applaud the FCC for launching the process of writing the seventh Section 706 report and hope it treats this report with the importance and urgency it deserves," said Consumer Federation of America director of Research Mark Cooper. "We believe the data will show that broadband deployment continues to fall far short of the goals adopted by Congress...With the Broadband Data Improvement Act (2008) and the Broadband Technology Opportunity Programs Act (2009) Congress shifted the focus of universal service from the availability of service to adoption and utilization of broadband service. It also raised the prominence of the Section 706 Report on broadband deployment by increasing its frequency, improving its data, and locating it squarely within the new focus of universal service policy."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.