IP Transition—FCC Task Force Formed to Pitch Best Approach

The FCC has created the Technology Transitions Task Force, an agency-wide group that aims to drive competition, investment and innovation, and protect consumers as networks migrate to an IP-based future. Sean Lev, the chmn’s general counsel, will be interim director, and Wireline Bureau assoc chief Rebekah Goodheart will be deputy director. Other task force members include the FCC’s chief economist and CTO, as well as representatives from across the agency. The group also will coordinate the Commission’s efforts on IP interconnection, resiliency of communications networks, business broadband competition and consumer protection.

One issue of concern to ops could revolve around legacy universal service requirements as providers migrate to an all-IP world. AT&T in its statement noted that the transition is well underway with more than 70% of consumers having already migrated away from copper service. “Technological transitions don’t change the basic mission of the FCC. But technology changes can drive changes in markets and competition,” said chmn Julius Genachowski, who urged a re-examination of many legacy rules.

Republican commish Ajit Pai, who was the first to propose the creation of a transition task force, commended the chairman for establishing the task force and urged the group to “resist the urge to simply import the rules of the old world into the new.. He urged the FCC to “scour the Code of Federal Regulations to track down and remove obsolete legacy regulations, like the tariffs, the arcane cost studies, and the hidden subsidies that distort competition for the benefit of companies,
rather than consumers.” Pai had said the greatest challenge at the Commission is creating a modern regulatory framework to expedite the Internet transformation and transition to an all-IP world (Cfax, 12/7).

Republican Rep Greg Walden (OR), chmn of the House communications and tech subcommittee, hopes the task force will help transition “away from the outdated regulations of the past.” Verizon urged the FCC to ensure “that outdated regulation from the legacy era is not used to hinder ongoing investment and innovation in these new networks.”

Ed note: This article originally appeared in CableFAX Daily. Go here to subscribe.

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