Deployment of Broadband Services
Updated: June 4, 2003
Providing greater access to broadband services for entrepreneurs and
their customers will greatly enhance the prospects for online communications
and electronic commerce. Industry and the public sector are seeking
to determine whether existing regulations are appropriate for today's
broadband technologies like cable modem, DSL, and satellite and fixed
wireless, or whether new regulations are necessary.
The public has come to equate "broadband" with high-speed
access to the Internet. Broadband is defined without regard to any
specific transmission media or technology. It includes telephony,
cable, satellite, and wireless technologies.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stated "Broadband
access is among the most compelling issues in the communications industry
today. Important regulatory and legal decisions affecting how Americans
receive high speed Internet access, voice, video and data services-whether
through cable modem, DSL, wireless or satellite-can affect the fates
of many companies involved in the development and deployment of broadband
The technology industry has urged the federal government to adopt
a broadband deployment goal of 100 megabits per second to 100 million
small businesses and home over the next ten years, but the industry
is concerned that federal, state and local government policies have
failed to encourage investment in new broadband infrastructure to
meet this goal.
There are a variety of perspectives about the proper regulatory approach
to attain this goal because incumbent local exchange carriers (Regional
Bell Operating Companies) and local cable companies are Internet access
providers that also own the connection to the customer's premises:
Software Council Position:
- Some observers are concerned that these access providers may
provide customers with unwanted services, limits on wanted services,
or restrictions on upstream Internet use and have proposed regulation
of the Internet that would mandate "open access".
- Others fear that regulation of Internet access at the local
or state level would fragment the Internet and instead call for
the FCC to regulate with similar goals.
- Still others urge regulatory forbearance, arguing that competition
among the different pipelines will accelerate the availability
of broadband services and will provide checks on inappropriate
combination of services or restrictions on access.
Adopted in 2000
We believe that broadband services (high-speed IP connectivity) should
be universally available and affordable. We believe that a market-based
economy promotes competition among broadband providers and stimulates
innovation in applications, services and next generation infrastructure.
We support the growth and development of all forms of broadband, and
we are neutral as to which will prevail in the market.
Adopted in 2002
We believe that federal policies should permit providers who invest
in their own facilities to charge Fair Rates to providers who lease
these facilities, but on the condition that facilities-based providers
implement Open Network Standards and Non-Discriminatory Practices.
This condition is necessary in order to promote innovation and competition.
Adopted in 2003
The Council has opposed a bill before the Massachusetts legislature
that would authorize municipalities to impose the personal property
tax upon investments in switches, data hubs, and fiber optic lines
made by telecommunications and cable providers, because it would
discourage price-sensitive small businesses and home offices from
adopting broadband services.
Software Council Activity:
The Council’s goal has been to stimulate new demand for applications,
systems, services and tools by encouraging telecommunications providers
to invest in the deployment of fiber to small businesses; to expand
the reach of current broadband networks into under-served areas; and
to introduce new technologies into local networks.
In 2000, the Council and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative
(MTC) created MassBroadband, a statewide coalition of technology
leaders and economic development officials that worked to accelerate
the deployment of competitive broadband services throughout Massachusetts
by sponsoring research and educational forums and by identifying
new policy initiatives. MassBroadband is "technology neutral,"
and supported the growth and development of all forms of broadband
in the marketplace.
MassBroadband met with broadband service providers to discuss their
deployment plans for Massachusetts, and sponsored the Massachusetts
Broadband Futures Conference in June 2002, which presented a Broadband
Road Map for public discussion.
For further information, see http://www.massbroadband.org.