The FCC is finally making some progress in its duty to protect the Internet for the citizens of the United States. Congress created the FCC with a charter to regulate interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. That includes broadband Internet–both wired and wireless.
The major ISPs and broadband providers repeatedly claim that regulation by the FCC will stifle investment. That ignores the reality that they’re already investing the bare minimum in building or improving Internet access, and much of that is only under duress. The major ISPs are capable of delivering much faster broadband speeds, but only choose to do so in areas where Google comes in with its very affordable gigabit broadband to challenge them.
The major ISPs and broadband providers also like to threaten that regulation by the FCC will stifle innovation. Again, though, left alone with no oversight and no competition none of these companies is all that innovative.
The bottom line is that the ISPs and broadband providers have already provided all of the evidence necessary to justify why the FCC needs to assert more control over the industry. Without oversight and regulation, these companies are more than happy to charge as much as they can for the slowest service and worst customer service possible. They are the poster children for Net Neutrality even as they rail against it.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler gave a speech yesterday spelling out how the FCC is working to ensure that broadband is fast, fair, and open:
The FCC has been busy in recent weeks making big decisions and proposing controversial strategies in an effort to protect Internet access for all. Today, at Silicon Flatirons Center in Boulder, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler talked about the three-pronged approach he is pursuing.
In his remarks Wheeler stated, “Broadband networks are the most powerful and pervasive connectivity in history. Broadband is reshaping our economy and recasting the patterns of our lives. Every day, we rely on high-speed connectivity to do our jobs, access entertainment, keep up with the news, express our views, and stay in touch with friends and family.”
The importance of broadband requires a balanced approach that fosters innovation and allows for competition. According to Wheeler, the three keys to the future of broadband are that broadband networks must be fast, fair, and open.
Broadband must be fast
How has the FCC chosen to address these issues? First, the FCC recently voted to redefine broadband as a minimum of 25Mbps down and 3Mbps upstream—a significant boost from the previous standard of 4Mbps down and 1Mbps up.
Because the population is concentrated in metropolitan areas that typically offer better service, 83 percent of Americans already have access to Internet connections that meet the new definition of broadband. Wheeler stressed, however, that one in six Americans does not have access to 25Mbps Internet service, and rural and tribal areas are being disproportionately left in the broadband dust.
Broadband must be fair
There are 19 states in the United States that have laws in place that block communities from taking initiative to improve broadband access for citizens. Many of these state laws were passed with heavy lobbying support from the incumbent broadband providers and are designed specifically to limit or prevent competition.
Read the full story on Forbes: FCC Chief Tom Wheeler Outlines 3-Part Strategy For A Stronger Internet.