Alistair Campbell the CTO of Truphone and Hank Hultquist of ATT were my guests on Squawkbox and I wanted to remind people about the discussion in light of the Intercarrier Compensation discussion.
Alistair does a nice job talking about the new era of communication over wireless Internet devices and Hank helps us see that regulatory reform is required.
The vote on Intercarrier Compensation has been delayed with the following two announcements.
STATEMENT OF FCC CHAIRMAN KEVIN J. MARTIN ON INTERCARRIER COMPENSATION AND UNIVERSAL SERVICE REFORM
November 3, 2008
The issues of Intercarrier Compensation and Universal Service reform have been in front of the Commission for years. Last summer I publicly indicated my intention to put forward concrete and comprehensive proposals to reform the inefficient and outmoded Intercarrier compensation and Universal Service programs. Those proposals have been with my colleagues for several weeks now. I am disappointed that we will miss the opportunity for comprehensive reform. Instead my colleagues have requested that we once again seek public comment on several proposals. As a result such a notice would make little progress and ask for comment again on the most basic and broad questions about reforming the two programs. For example, the Commission would again ask should broadband be supported by the Universal Service Fund and should we move to one uniform rate for all traffic or should that rate vary by the type of company?
I would like to be encouraged by my colleagues’ commitment that they will truly be ready to complete this much needed reform on December 18. The nature of the questions they would like to include makes me doubt they will have found their answers with an additional seven weeks. I believe the far more likely outcome is that, in December, the other Commissioners will merely want another Further Notice and another round of comment on the most difficult questions. I do not believe they will be prepared to address the most challenging issues and that the Commission will be negotiating over what further questions to ask in December.
Additionally, I have instructed the Bureau to draft a narrow order to address the Court’s remand. However, I remain skeptical that such an order which retains artificial and unsupported distinctions between types of Internet traffic will be seen any more favorably by the Court than the Commission’s two previous attempts.
I recognize that few other issues before the Commission are as technically complex and involved, with as many competing interests, as are reforming the Intercarrier Compensation and Universal Service programs. But neither of those two realities are an excuse for inaction. They will be true in one month, in one year or as we have now seen at the Commission, in ten years. I too remain committed to tackling the most difficult issues, providing answers to the toughest questions, fixing broken and outdated government programs and providing broadband to all Americans including those living in rural areas. I look forward to completing these long overdue and much needed reforms as soon as possible.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 3, 2008
JOINT STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONERS MICHAEL J. COPPS, JONATHAN S. ADELSTEIN, DEBORAH TAYLOR TATE AND ROBERT M. MCDOWELL
Below is a Joint Statement from the above-reference commissioners in response to the decision to remove the intercarrier compensation and universal service proposals from tomorrow’s agenda:
“Three weeks ago, Chairman Martin first shared with the Commission his proposals to fundamentally reform the intercarrier compensation and universal service systems. Four Commissioners provided the Chairman bi-partisan, constructive and substantive suggestions, and stated that notice and comment should be sought on the proposals, with an understanding that we would all be prepared to vote on December 18. We also have asked the Chairman to narrowly address the ISP-bound traffic remand and the Joint Board’s Recommendation. We therefore are disappointed that the Chairman has withdrawn the fundamental reform item from tomorrow’s agenda.
“We approached this proceeding with the common goal of modernizing our universal service and intercarrier compensation policies, and commend the desire to tackle some of the most important issues facing this Commission. It is equally important to ensure that any reform proposal receive the full benefit of public notice and comment – especially in light of the difficult economic circumstances currently facing our nation.
“We remain committed to fulfilling our obligation to tackle these difficult issues, and have set forth a reasonable path for completing comprehensive reform. We remain hopeful that the consensus process we have pursued regarding this issue will ultimately lead to a thoughtful, well-reasoned item that will inure to the benefit all Americans.”