WASHINGTON, June 11, 2013 – Creating an innovation-friendly environment and facilitating the internet protocol transition were featured as two Federal Communications Commission legal advisers spoke Tuesday at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association’s Cable Show.
The panel consisted of Matthew Berry, chief of staff for FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai and Alex Hoehn-Saric, policy director for FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. The two discussed how the FCC could best create an environment that encourages technological innovation while protecting consumers and promoting competition. Hoehn-Saric noted that the expansion of broadband infrastructure was crucial.
“No matter where you live, broadband is going to be the key to economic development,” he said.
Berry argued for the importance of updating old regulations that sometimes disincentivize investment, particularly in wireline broadband. Instead, the FCC should work to develop policies that keep pace with the changing industry.
“The FCC should not be a barrier for technological innovation that works for the benefit of consumers,” he said.
The two advisors were divided over the impact of net neutrality laws on innovation. Hoehn-Saric said that the rules are largely responsible to the rapidly advancing nature of the industry today. However, Berry argued that such innovations would have taken place regardless of whether or not the rules had been put into place.
“I think today’s environment is largely the same as yesterday’s environment, [before] the open internet rules,” Berry said.
The course of action that the FCC should take in the internet protocol transition transition was also a major topic of discussion.
Consumer protection was a high priority for Berry, particularly maintaining emergency 911 services during the transition. Now is the time to begin a pilot program, similar to the process used for the DTV transition, he said.
Hoehn-Saric agreed, adding that diverse areas should be used in order to develop a nuanced approach that will adapt to particular situations around the country.