by Carlo Longino

FCC Commissioner Copps Out With Broadband Strategy Suggestion

from the send-your-ideas-on-a-postcard dept

It's been pretty clear for sometime that broadband penetration in the US isn't nearly as high as some politicos would like you to believe, and that the fundamental problem is a lack of competition. At least one FCC commissioner, Michael Copps, realizes that, and in an op-ed in the Washington Post, slates the lack of progress (via Broadband Reports) the country has made in fostering a competitive broadband environment, expanding access and increasing the level of services available to consumers. While it's nice to hear that maybe at least one person at the FCC has some grasp of what's going on, the problem is that Copps doesn't really offer any suggestions for what to do to remedy the situation, beyond saying the FCC needs to develop a "broadband strategy". That's pretty much the same thing he said back in February, and while he's been busy since then dealing with things like the AT&T-BellSouth merger (in which he's holding out for more significant concessions from the companies), it would be nice to see him make some concrete suggestions for what this strategy should be, rather than just suggesting that a strategy is needed.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Nov 2006 @ 10:18am

    ..."the FCC needs to develop a "broadband strategy"."

    Is this not a suggestion that the _FCC_ should do something about it? or would you have liked for him to say the same thing that everyone else had been saying, "_Someone_ needs to develop a "broadband strategy"."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sanguine Dream, 8 Nov 2006 @ 10:26am

    It has to start somewhere...

    At least he is acknowledged that changes must be made instead of just sitting around waiting for his next "investement" from the telcos. And maybe, just maybe, he can keep things from getting out of hand long enough until he comes up with a solution or someone else comes along with one.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    E!, 8 Nov 2006 @ 10:44am

    Are you kidding me?

    As stated by the poster, he ALREADY said as much back in February. He's just repeating himself, and acting as if this is NEW news.
    Sorry, it is OLD news. Plain and simple.
    I suppose you think we pay him to tell us what everyone already knows, eh?
    No, we pay him to come up with SOLUTIONS.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ohreally, 8 Nov 2006 @ 11:20am

    OK, lets hear the great ideas here. What is America to do? Should we create a tax to wire the country? Would the public accept that? Should we make Verizon and AT&T open up their networks to competitors (and see how fast FIOs and Lightspeed stop?)

    What the hell would you propose? Hopefully it would be something that would not raise my taxes. I would rather pay more taxes to fix healthcare in America than be concerned about Johnny being able to play video games on the net or download porn. Oh, and make sure your proposal covers places like Montana and Wyoming, not just the big cities.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rick, 8 Nov 2006 @ 11:58am


      We already have a tax - over $7 BILLION will be collected this year in Universal Service Fund fees. Everyone in America already has a phone line, so this money is supposed to be spent to upgrade the service in unprofitable areas, yet it is mainly used to fund the deep pockets of the incumbent telcos.

      Hopefully the Dems will take notice and start demanding what the FCC can only keep repeating....

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ibelieveyou, 8 Nov 2006 @ 11:58am


    The Satelite merger that was stopped by murdoc would have solved this by now. With them providing wireless broadband without the telcos they would have been really competitive. The FCC Nixed that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Karl, 8 Nov 2006 @ 12:17pm

    He does have a place to start...

    He does suggest a place to start, and it's reforming the FCC's joke classification of broadband as an asynchronous 200kbps connection, as well as reforming their data collection methodology, which suggests that if a zip code has ONE provider, that zip code is wired for broadband and we can all sleep well.

    Copps knows that you can't make ANY effective decisions until you have accurate data. The FCC thus far has NOT been concerned with having accurate data because their goal is to portray a functional and competitive broadband environment so they can continue pretending that corporate subsidies and other coddling is an effective policy.....

    I'm no great fan of Copps mind you; he whines then votes against consumer best interests anyway, and his tersely worded pdfs are always a day late and a dollar short.

    But to suggest he has no first step isn't accurate. In this age of think tanks promising that our current deregulatory path will result in Utopia, getting a politician to admit we have NO broadband policy is a giant step.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    henry evans, 8 Nov 2006 @ 12:25pm

    broadband penetration

    The fundamental problem for people who can't get broadband isn't really the lack of competition. (Hell, monopoly is better than nothing.) The problem is a lack of entry by anyone. Choices for fixing it are: do nothing (after all there are a lot of great things you can't get in the sticks); subsidize a private entity to do something (where have we heard this before?); or build publicly owned infrastructure (put it in the next 5 year plan).

    My inclination is to view this as a state and local problem. Let states experiment with various approaches. In five years either the problem will go away (because of some nifty new radio technology), or we'll have a better idea about which kinds of approaches work better. The worst thing to do is just to throw a bunch of money at it (which will do little more than line the pockets of incumbent telephone companies).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bob, 8 Nov 2006 @ 12:41pm


    Did we not already give the telcos a tax break in the 90's so that they could use that money to bring fiber to every home? I think Lafayette, Louisiana has the right idea. Let the municipality set it up and cut the fat lazy telcos out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    chris (profile), 8 Nov 2006 @ 3:00pm

    separate content and connectivity, it's that simpl

    separate content from connectivity and you will have loads of competition.

    all the FCC has to do is tell telco and cableco's that they can deliver content (i.e. applications like VOIP, IPTV, etc.) OR they can provide connectivity to the internet. then the playing field is leveled, there is no need to monopolize anything.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Gregor J. Rothfuss, 9 Nov 2006 @ 1:36pm

    Acknowledge the Broadband Scandal

    Copps could have named the elephant in the room: The $200B Broadband Scandal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    truthnow, 21 Nov 2006 @ 1:51pm

    Bogus posturing

    This is just bogus posturing - the telcos are taking the tax breaks and there is no accountability as to penetration gains. All the telcos try to do is to position for max profit and minimum expense - their strategy is purely to get an uncompetitive market they can exploit. They have no vision and their service is lousy - competition makes them work harder and lowers pricing. They will lower prices if they can eliminate competitive access.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.