An association of communications regulators has developed a set of principles for a national broadband policy that asserts the rights of local governments to regulate communications services, calls for network neutrality, and expressed a preference for fiber-to-the-home (FTTH).
The National Association of Telecommunications Officers & Advisors (NATOA), largely comprised of representatives of local government agencies, has adopted and released formal Broadband Principles encouraging the immediate development of a National Broadband Strategy. The comments respond to the FCC’s ongoing program to evaluate Internet usage in the U.S.
The group calls for:
- The immediate nationwide deployment of advanced broadband networks.
- True broadband requires high-capacity bandwidth in both directions.
- Fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) is the preferred broadband option.
- High-capacity broadband connectivity must be affordable and widely accessible.
- High-capacity broadband requires open access networks.
- Network neutrality is vital to the future of the Internet.
- All networks and users have the right and obligation to non–discriminatory interconnection.
- Local governments must be involved to ensure that local needs and interests are met.
- Local governments must be allowed to build and operate broadband networks.
- A variety of options must be considered to cover deployment costs.
The organization said: “Local governments have always played an essential role in ensuring that the benefits of communications infrastructure would be available in communities across the United States. Localities will, by necessity and by choice, be part of the solution to our national broadband deficit.”
Local governments, who have long had firm regulatory oversight of communications services, have lost some of their power recently, as control of regulatory processes – notably video franchising – have shifted to state and even federal institutions.
Meanwhile, NATOA has joined forces with several Internet advocacy groups.
One is Internet for Everyone, a national initiative of public interest, civic and industry groups supporting not only fast and affordable Internet for all citizens but the assurance that the Internet continues to drive U.S. economic growth and prosperity. Internet for Everyone launched last month.
NATOA is now a member of National Public Lightpath (NPL), a coalition formed to advocate for public participation in and ensure community access to the Next-Generation Internet, and advise policy makers and government on a national infrastructure strategy for America’s next Internet.
The organization is also partnering with BroadbandCensus.com, a free consumer-focused Web service that provides the public and policy-makers with information and news about local broadband availability, competition, speeds and service.
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