The commission appears to be on the right path with a commitment to local market demonstration projects that will test what happens when consumers remaining on the old network are rapidly transitioned to a modern network arrangement. With trials in carefully selected local markets, the FCC will learn what can go wrong and ensure that remedies are in place prior to a full-scale national transition.
As the House Energy and Commerce Committee embarks on its deep dive into the need for telecommunications statutory and regulatory reform, this month the FCC is considering a detailed plan for moving forward with IP trials, bringing us one step closer to the time when every American is connected to a reliable, high-speed network designed for broadband voice, video and Internet service. Both of these initiatives bring us a step closer to modernizing America’s outmoded communications laws and the antiquated telephone network; thus, policymakers are — to our benefit — taking the right steps toward ensuring that all Americans continue to have access to next-generation technologies and services.
Rick Boucher served for 28 years as a member of the House, where he co-founded the Congressional Internet Caucus and chaired the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet. Today he is honorary chairman of the Internet Innovation Alliance and heads the government strategies practice at the law firm Sidley Austin, which represents communications companies among other clients.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.