Posted December 21st, 2010 by Julius Genachowski - Chairman, Federal Communications Commission.
Almost everyone seems to agree that the openness of the Internet is essential -- it has unleashed an enormous wave of innovation, economic growth, job creation, small business generation, and vibrant free expression.
But for too long, the freedom and openness of the Internet has been unprotected. No rules on the books to protect basic Internet values. No process for monitoring Internet openness as technology and business models evolve.
No recourse for innovators, consumers, or speakers harmed by improper practices. And no predictability for Internet service providers, so that they can effectively manage and invest in broadband networks.
Earlier today, that all changed.
As a result of a vote, which was just taken by the FCC, we have -- for the first time -- enforceable rules of the road to preserve Internet freedom and openness.
The rules we have adopted are straightforward, and they enshrine a set of key principles.
First, consumers and innovators have a right to know the basic performance characteristics of their Internet access and how their network is being managed. We have adopted a transparency rule that will give consumers and innovators the clear and simple information they need to make informed choices in choosing networks or designing the next killer app.
Second, consumers and innovators have a right to send and receive lawful traffic -- to go where they want, say what they want, experiment with ideas -- commercial and social, and use the devices of their choice. Our new rules thus prohibit the blocking of lawful content, apps, services, and the connection of devices to the network.
Third, consumers and innovators have a right to a level playing field. No central authority, public or private, should have the power to pick winners and losers on the Internet; that’s the role of the commercial market and the marketplace of ideas.
That is why we adopted a ban on unreasonable discrimination. And we are making clear that so-called “pay for priority” arrangements involving fast lanes for some companies but not others are unlikely to be allowed.
The rules also recognize that broadband providers need meaningful flexibility to manage their networks to deal with congestion, security, and other issues. And we recognize the importance and value of business-model experimentation, such as tiered pricing.
These rules fulfill many promises, including a promise to the future – a promise to the companies that don’t yet exist, and the entrepreneurs who haven’t yet started work in their dorm rooms or garages.
Today, the FCC did the right thing for the future of Internet freedom, and I look forward to building on today’s roles as the FCC continues its work to promote innovation, investment, and job creation, and to improve the lives of the American people through communications technology.Posted in From The Chairman , Open Meetings
Posted December 7th, 2010 by Julius Genachowski - Chairman, Federal Communications Commission.
The impact that Internet entrepreneurs have made on the world is unquestioned.
These businesses push the limits of innovation and move America's economy forward, bound only by their imagination as they grow and expand their reach. This free spirit of creativity doesn’t just make new tech, it also helps create new jobs.
Small businesses and start-ups have accounted for more than 22 million new American jobs over the last 15 years. And broadband has played a central part, enabling small business to lower their costs and reach new customers in new markets around the country and, indeed, the globe.
As these businesses grow stronger, they make room for new jobs that help America compete in the global technology marketplace. Take eBay, for example, which in its short history has been a force multiplier for economic production, facilitating 60 billion dollars a year in economic activity.
The animating force behind all of these efforts is a shared appreciation for the Internet’s wondrous contributions to our economy and our way of life. Over the past generation we’ve seen American-made Internet innovations connect people across the globe. Social networking tools, online video services, and other new tech haven’t just changed the way we stay in touch -- they’ve helped create a booming sector of unbound creativity and economic opportunity.
I’ve learned a key lesson from these entrepreneurs and their businesses. Their spectacular growth is powered by a core value, one shared by the founders of our nation and the architects of the Internet: restrictions on freedom shackle the human spirit, and constrain the promise of bold, new ventures.
The success of these businesses has made America’s tech economy the envy of the world. These businesses are proof that the Internet’s open principles have helped clear the way for unfettered growth. Changing those principles, or regulating this growing market in a way that disfavors innovation, is unacceptable.
This founding principle -- the openness of the Internet -- is at issue today. Interfering with this growth threatens jobs at a time when Americans can hardly afford the risk.
This is not just a plan to protect a free and open Internet -- this is a plan to protect jobs, now and in America’s future. It is my responsibility to make sure that the economic and legal environment that allowed these jobs to grow remains just as healthy and competitive for future generations.
I’m proud to oversee the FCC at a moment of unprecedented technological advancement. It’s my responsibility to act as a just steward for America’s technology economy and protect these valuable jobs. I’ve seen what works from some of the most dazzling entrepreneurs America has ever known. It’s my responsibility to fight to uphold the free and open principles that have brought us to where we are -- and I am committed to this goal.
(This is cross-posted on the Open Internet blog. Please leave comments there.)Posted in From The Chairman , Office Of Chairman
Posted December 1st, 2010 by Julius Genachowski - Chairman, Federal Communications Commission.
After months of hard work we have reached an important milestone in the fight to protect a free and open Internet for all Americans.
Today, the FCC proposed basic rules of the road to preserve the open Internet as a platform for innovation, investment, job creation, competition, and free expression. If adopted later this month, these basic rules will mean several things for consumers, namely:
1. Americans have the freedom to access lawful content on the Internet, without discrimination. No one should be able to tell you what you can or can’t do on the Internet, as long as it’s lawful. Our rules will ensure that no central authority—either corporations or government—have the right to decide what you can access on the Internet.
2. You have a right to basic information about your broadband service. Our proposed framework will ensure that consumers have information they need to make informed choices about subscribing or using broadband networks.
3. The Internet will remain a level playing field. The ability for consumers to speak their mind, engage in commerce and innovate without permission from a corporation has enabled the Internet’s unparalled success. Our rules will protect against corporate gatekeepers prioritizing access to one person’s content over another’s.
The openness of the Internet has enabled unparalleled innovation and job growth, yet we continue to find examples of this freedom being attacked. We have found instances when broadband providers position themselves as gatekeepers to the Internet, and have prevented consumers from using applications of their choice without disclosing what they were doing.
We must take action to protect consumers against price hikes and closed access to the Internet—and our proposed framework is designed to do just that: to guard against these risks while recognizing the legitimate needs and interests of broadband providers.
I look forward to the very important work ahead as we strive for free and open communications for all Americans.
Posted October 21st, 2010 by Julius Genachowski - Chairman, Federal Communications Commission.
Just last week, President Obama said that to create jobs today and lay the foundation for economic growth and U.S. competitiveness in the future, “We need … a smart system of infrastructure equal to the needs of the 21st century.”
When most people think of infrastructure, they think of visible projects like highways, bridges or high-speed rail.
But just as vital is our invisible infrastructure – the electromagnetic spectrum that travels unseen through the air and enables all of our wireless communications networks, cellular voice and data services, as well as radio, broadcast TV, and satellite.
Wireless innovation fuels economic growth and job creation. Sales of smartphone “apps” – an industry that didn’t exist a few years ago -- topped $4 billion in 2009; our new apps economy has created many jobs and can create more. Our invisible infrastructure also supports breakthrough tools to improve education through mobile online learning and e-books, enhance health care through potentially life-saving remote diagnostics, and promote energy efficiency by supporting the smart grid.
But we are at an inflection point.
The explosive growth in mobile communications is outpacing our ability to keep up. Spectrum is finite. If we don’t act to update our spectrum policies for the 21st century, we’re going to run into a wall – a spectrum crunch – that will stifle American innovation and economic growth and cost us the opportunity to lead the world in mobile communications.
Today, many of the nation’s leading experts on wireless technologies gathered at the FCC for a spectrum summit to identify ways we can solve the spectrum crunch and unleash our invisible infrastructure to spark our economy and create a powerful engine for job creation.
I kicked off the discussion with some remarks that highlighted some of the strategies we are pursuing at the FCC to make more spectrum available and put it to its best use.
I hope you will check out my speech, and I encourage you to watch other videos from the summit, which feature national leaders like Aneesh Chopra, our nation’s Chief Technology Officer, and Jason Furman, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, as well as my fellow Commissioners Robert McDowell and Meredith Baker.
The future is being built on our invisible infrastructure. Today’s summit identifies important ways we can work together to update our spectrum policies for the 21st century and make sure that infrastructure truly serves our country’s needs.
(Cross-posted at Blogband)Posted in From The Chairman
Posted October 14th, 2010 by Julius Genachowski - Chairman, Federal Communications Commission.
New technology is an exciting thing, and what's happening in the mobile space is simply incredible. With any new technology, consumers need to be empowered to address concerns quickly and with simple solutions.
During the October Open Commission Meeting we took bold moves on our consumer empowerment agenda. Following the meeting I recorded a video that outlines how the FCC is taking on important consumer issues -- like bill shock -- to empower and educate Americans.
Watch the video to learn more, then leave your comments below.Posted in From The Chairman , Open Meetings , Consumers
Posted October 13th, 2010 by Julius Genachowski - Chairman, Federal Communications Commission.
On the way in this morning, I got an email from a friend that rings familiar to way too many Americans.
My friend said that he incurred $2,000 in extra data charges while on a trip overseas, despite buying an “international plan.” He added that this was “more than 15 times” what he had expected to pay.
He was a victim of what we at the FCC call “bill shock,” and, according to our research, there are 30 million Americans just like him.
Bill shock occurs when consumers see their bills jump unexpectedly by tens, hundreds, or thousands of dollars from one month to the next. Common cases are when a subscriber is charged for unknowingly exceeding his or her allotments for voice, text or data, or gets hit with roaming charges that are unexpected.
A few hours ago, I delivered a speech highlighting what the FCC is doing to put an end to bill shock, as well as other fees and billing practices that are giving consumers headaches.
I’m proud that the FCC is pursuing an aggressive Consumer Empowerment Agenda. In a nutshell, our strategy is to educate, empower, and enforce.
We are working to harness technology and promote transparency to empower consumers with the information they need to make smart decisions and to make the market work. And when there is bad conduct in the market, the FCC has acted, and we will continue to act. Consumers must know that the FCC’s got their back.
I hope that you will read the speech to learn the details of our Agenda. I also invite you to check out FCC.gov/consumers, where you can access digital tools like our broadband speed test, and learn more about preventing bill shock.
There’s never been a more exciting – or complex – time to be a consumer of communications technologies. Be assured that the FCC is working to make sure that you and all Americans have the tools to take advantage of new technologies, without having to worry that somebody is taking advantage of you.
Posted June 18th, 2010 by Julius Genachowski - Chairman, Federal Communications Commission.Posted in From The Chairman
Posted May 7th, 2010 by Julius Genachowski - Chairman, Federal Communications Commission.
Read video transcript here.
Cross posted from Broadband.govPosted in From The Chairman , Consumers
Posted May 6th, 2010 by Julius Genachowski - Chairman, Federal Communications Commission.
Broadband is increasingly essential to our daily lives. It is fast becoming the primary way we as Americans connect with one another, do business, educate ourselves and our children, receive health care information and services, and express our opinions. As a unanimous FCC said a few weeks ago in our Joint Statement on Broadband, “Working to make sure that America has world-leading high-speed broadband networks—both wired and wireless—lies at the very core of the FCC’s mission in the 21st Century.”
Many have asked about the future of Internet policy and the FCC’s role in that future in light of the recent decision in the Comcast case. Today I have issued a statement that describes a path forward, which will begin with seeking public comment on a narrow and tailored legal foundation for the FCC’s approach to broadband communications services. Our goal is to restore the broadly supported status quo consensus that existed prior to the Comcast decision regarding the FCC’s role with respect to broadband Internet service.
Posted February 17th, 2010 by Julius Genachowski - Chairman, Federal Communications Commission.
In a month, the Federal Communications Commission will deliver a National Broadband Plan, as it was asked to do by Congress and the President in the Recovery Act.
This will be a meaningful plan for U.S. global leadership in high-speed Internet to create jobs and spur economic growth; to unleash new waves of innovation and investment; and to improve education, health care, energy efficiency, public safety, and the vibrancy of our democracy.
I believe this plan is vitally important to America’s future.
Studies from the Brookings Institute, MIT, the World Bank, and others all tell us the same thing -- that even modest increases in broadband adoption can yield hundreds of thousands of new jobs. Broadband empowers small businesses to compete and grow and will ensure that the jobs and industries of tomorrow are created in the United States.
The economic benefits of broadband go hand-in-hand with social benefits and the potential for vast improvements in the quality of life for all Americans.
The National Broadband Plan will describe concrete ways in which broadband can be a part of 21st century solutions to some of our nation’s most pressing challenges, including:
These are real benefits for real people -- like the unemployed forty-seven-year-old I met in the Bronx who got job training over the Internet to become a telecom technician. And the employees of Blue Valley Meats, in the small town of Diller, Nebraska, which doubled its workforce and saw 40 percent growth by setting up a website and selling its beef online -- once Diller got broadband.
But right now, we are at a crossroads. For while the United States invented the Internet, when it comes to broadband we are lagging behind where we should be.
Roughly 14 million Americans do not have access to broadband, and more than 100 million Americans who could and should have broadband don’t. That’s an adoption rate of roughly 65 percent of U.S. households, compared with 88 percent adoption in Singapore, and 95 percent adoption in South Korea. The U.S. adoption rate is even lower among low-income, minority, rural, tribal, and disabled households.
This country can and must do better. In today’s global economy, leading the world in broadband is leading the world.
This is where the National Broadband Plan comes in. By setting ambitious goals and laying out proposals to connect all Americans to a world-class broadband infrastructure, we will help secure our country’s global competitiveness for generations to come.
The FCC’s National Broadband Plan will include the following key recommendations:
The quantitative and qualitative benefits of these proposals -- and the many others that the FCC’s plan will contain -- are vast. Connecting the country to higher speeds means more jobs, more innovation, and more economic growth.
The National Broadband Plan will chart a clear path forward -- ensuring that broadband is our enduring engine for creating jobs and growing our economy, for spreading knowledge and enhancing civic engagement, for advancing a healthier, sustainable way of life.
Pursuing the opportunity of universal broadband is, I believe, a universal goal. Our technology future is one that we can -- and must -- create together.