Tackling Big Issues

By Roy Mark  |  Posted 2009-04-08 Print this article Print

Copps, who has been a strong supporter of network neutrality, also said he was not reluctant to deal with broadband issues that went beyond when, where and how high-speed networks are built.

"Ensuring broadband openness, avoiding invasions of people's privacy, and ensuring cyber-security are three such challenges that come immediately to mind," he said. "We have never in history seen so dynamic and potentially liberating a technology as this, but history tells us that no major [technological] transformation is ever a total, unmixed, [problem-free] blessing."

S. Derek Turner, research director of Free Press, also urged the agency to step up and deal with the difficult conflicts that exist between telecommunications carriers and Internet content and service providers. In a statement, Turner said in order for the United States to have wide availability of broadband, a strong government watchdog will be necessary.

Free Press, along with fellow Internet advocacy group Public Knowledge, has emerged as a major voice for consumers after successfully pursuing a network neutrality complaint against cable broadband provider Comcast. The agency found Comcast guilty Aug. 1 of secretly degrading network traffic and ordered Comcast to stop blocking traffic, disclose to the FCC the full extent of its traffic practices and keep the public informed of its future network management plans.

"Any new strategy must take into account how past policies failed to deliver the open, competitive broadband marketplace Congress intended," Turner said. "The blind deregulatory regime that we have today is a blueprint for what to avoid in the future. Under the last administration's wait-and-see approach, competition disappeared, speeds stagnated, prices went through the roof and the open Internet was placed in jeopardy."


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