DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
[Docket No. 011109273-1273-01]
Notice, Request for Comments on Deployment of Broadband Networks and Advanced Telecommunications
COMMENTS OF THE
TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION
Matthew J. Flanigan
Grant E. Seiffert
External Affairs and Global Policy
Derek R. Khlopin
Director, Law and Public Policy
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Suite 350
Washington, DC 20004
December 19, 2001
COMMENTS OF THE
TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION TO NTIA REGARDING THE DEPLOYMENT OF BROADBAND NETWORKS AND ADVANCED TELECOMMUNICATIONS
The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) appreciates this opportunity to comment on broadband deployment in the United States. TIA includes among its membership 1,100 large and small companies that manufacture and provide communications and information technology products, materials, systems, distribution services, and professional services in the United States and around the globe. TIA represents its members on the full range of public policy issues affecting the telecommunications industry, forges consensus on industry standards, organizes and co-owns SUPERCOMM, the world's largest annual communications exhibition and conference, and hosts the broadband-focused SUPERnet each year in Silicon Valley.
TIA member companies offer for sale the wide range of landline and wireless technologies, both terrestrial and satellite, that enable high-speed and broadband access to the Internet for commercial and residential users. TIA members sell to all classes of providers holding the potential to provide these types of services. TIA’s views thus are necessarily both technology-neutral and service provider-neutral, affording it a unique perspective.
TIA is very pleased to see NTIA taking an active interest in issues surrounding broadband deployment. As the principal advisor to the President on telecommunications policy, NTIA is in a unique position to make reasoned and well-informed recommendations on what policies the Administration should support.
II. Specific Answers to NTIA Questions
A. What should be the primary policy considerations in formulating broadband policy for the country? Please discuss the relative importance of the following: access for all; facilities-based competition; minimal regulation; technological neutrality; intra-modal competition; inter-modal competition; and any other policy consideration.
TIA believes that all of the above considerations are very important elements of a sound broadband policy. TIA also would add the speed of deployment as an additional factor for consideration. In general, a combination of policy and deregulatory considerations, fiscal incentives, and government and private sector aggregated demand strategies should be considered necessary ingredients in the formulation of a U.S. policy on broadband deployment.
TIA has urged the President to make it a national priority that all Americans get access to broadband communications services. The need is particularly important if the United States intends to maintain one of the leading positions among the world’s top information technology economies. The operation of the market likely will demonstrate a typical diffusion pattern where some consumers have access to services at an earlier point in time than others. The question is whether we can expect all Americans to get broadband access in a reasonable period of time and, if not, what should be done about it. The answer to whether broadband services are made available to most, if not all, Americans within the next five years may also affect the competitive advantage of the U.S. in broadband technology and service applications internationally. This is because many countries, particularly in Europe and Asia, have set date-specific targets within this time frame for achieving widespread access to both urban and rural populations.
TIA believes that competition is essential to drive industry participants to invest in new technologies and their networks, in turn leading to waves of innovation and protecting consumers from unreasonable price escalation. Effective intra-modal competition, particularly in the residential market, has proven difficult, although it is not necessarily impossible in theory. In many ways, however, inter-modal competition may be even more important for several reasons. The existence, in the market, of similar services offered over competing technology platforms expands the universe of continued innovative breakthroughs and reduces reliance on a single class of infrastructure. The latter point is especially important in light of the need for the network security and availability that redundant networks and facilities can provide in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the United States.
For similar reasons, facilities-based competition should be the ultimate objective. Examination of the wording and legislative history of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 reveals its drafters envisioned this goal. Certainly, some competitive service providers need access to the essential facilities of the local loop, but a business model relying exclusively on another company's assets must be viewed as a short-range one, whether that competitive provider sees it that way or not.
TIA believes that companies are not going to invest substantially in upgrading their communications networks or installing new facilities in a heavily regulated environment or one rife with regulatory uncertainty. TIA thus supports the FCC Chairman's objective of establishing a "minimally regulated space" for broadband services. Ultimately, the platform over which similar broadband services are being offered also should not matter, although some period of transition is likely before a true technology-neutral broadband policy could be implemented. To that end, TIA strongly believes that any move toward commonality in regulatory treatment should be toward minimal regulation, rather than subjecting the technologies of today and tomorrow to yesterday's regulatory morass. This is particularly important in light of the nascent stage of broadband technologies. The Communications Act is the law of the land, and its bedrock elements of competition policy should continue to apply; however, within its pages is the flexibility to allow their application to be governed by principles of a light regulatory touch for broadband services.
TIA also is of the opinion that a regulatory approach to diffusion of broadband availability may not be sufficient as a sole determinant of U.S. broadband policy. Fiscal measures, in the form of tax incentives, explicit and targeted subsidies or pilot project funding, as well as low interest loans and guarantees for infrastructure and service deployment should be considered as well. A combination of regulatory and fiscal incentives could provide additional flexibility, promote competition, and bring advanced telecommunications services to unserved or underserved areas that currently may be deemed by service providers as too risky or not financially lucrative. Fiscal incentives also may be necessary to maintain national competitiveness among other countries that currently implement their own incentive packages.
B. How should broadband services be defined? Please discuss (1) what criteria should be used to determine whether a facility or service has sufficient transmission capacity to be classified as "broadband;" (2) how the definition should evolve over time; and (3) the policy implications of how the term is defined.
TIA believes that the term "broadband" has been used inappropriately and too generically in the policy arena. The result has become that policymakers and others fail to understand its essence and its usefulness as a term of reference is compromised. TIA thus has made an extensive effort to draw a distinction between the Internet access services generally available in the residential market today and the next-generation, higher bandwidth broadband communications technologies that will make possible the converged voice, high-quality video and data services that enable fast, content-rich applications.
In order for a communications technology platform to be considered as supporting "broadband services" in the truest sense, the user should have the capability to transmit and receive high-quality video, high speed Internet access, and voice telephony. The precise converged services will evolve over time, and so will the conception of broadband. Today, however, the fact that the user should be empowered to originate and receive high-quality video signals could suggest a minimum transmission speed of 4 Megabits per second (Mbps) (a standard compressed television signal currently requires 4 to 6 Mbps of transmission capacity, although improvements in compression technologies may change this). Others suggest 6 Mbps. TIA suggested 10 Mbps in comments to the FCC in its cable open access proceeding. TIA further has expressed support for a goal of widespread availability of 100 Mbps connections by the year 2010.
The fact of the matter is that a lot of the newer services being offered today are not quite broadband, although clearly most are improvements over standard dial-up Internet access at a maximum speed of 56 kilobits per second (kbps). These services more appropriately should be deemed "high-speed Internet access services." If a decision, nonetheless, is made to use the term "broadband" more generically to include essentially any capability beyond dial-up Internet access speeds, TIA suggests that today's high-speed Internet access services be referred to as "current-generation broadband." The higher-speed services suggested in the previous paragraph could then be labeled as "next-generation broadband." This distinction recognizes that "true" broadband is more than experiencing somewhat quicker downloading of web page images and a slight improvement in rudimentary video streaming. Rather, it is an entirely new experience of connectivity that will enable yet-to-be-seen content-rich applications and completely new functionalities.
TIA believes that while policymakers need not get "hung up" on the exact speed thresholds required for a technology or service to be considered broadband, it is important to understand what broadband enables: converged voice, high-quality video and data applications. It also means that this combined platform of converged services challenges the paradigms in place at the statutory and regulatory levels. Laws and regulations aimed at the basic telephony world have become out of place, and they threaten the deployment and further investment in these new technologies, as discussed further below.
C. Several studies indicate that the rate of deployment of broadband services is equal to or greater than the deployment rates for other technologies. What is the current status of (1) supply and (2) demand of broadband services in the United States? When addressing supply, please discuss current deployment rates and any regulatory policies impeding supply. When addressing demand, please discuss both actual take rates and any evidence of unserved demand. Please also address potential underlying causes of low subscribership rates, such as current economic conditions, price, cost-structure, impediments to the development of broadband content, or any other factor. To what extent has the growth in competition for broadband and other services been slowed by the existing rates and rate structures for regulated telecommunications services?
TIA firmly believes that the lack of speed with which high-speed Internet access and broadband communications services are being rolled out across this country is troubling. While a variety of factors are contributing to low subscribership rates in today's consumer market for high-speed Internet access services, TIA refutes any notion that this is indicative of broadband’s failure or that broadband services are not of critical importance to the future of the United States.
First and foremost, rare is it where demand is stimulated in precise lockstep with supply (in this case, the infrastructure, services/applications and content). Thus, oftentimes the capacity, services and content will develop at different rates, thus creating the appearance of excess supply or demand. However, because of the nascent nature of broadband technology and the market distorting effects of current regulatory policy, TIA believes it is premature to judge broadband’s success or failure. On the other hand, it is not too early in the broadband story to begin addressing, in a meaningful way, the regulatory and market disincentives that impede investment in current-generation and next-generation broadband technologies.
Regarding demand for broadband and high-speed Internet access, the price of the service is a complicating factor. A primary consideration has to be the lack of effective competition and the price pressure on service providers that results when consumers have a choice among substitutable offerings. It also is clear that "price points" exist at which subscriber levels can be expected to either remain low or accelerate rapidly. This appears to be influenced by the fact that broadband applications and content are still in their early stages, meaning that many consumers may not see enough value in broadband services to pay current market prices.
Some argue that broadband "take" rates have exceeded those for other technologies when they were introduced, such as the television, audio compact discs (CDs), and the rural electrification program. TIA, however, questions whether the relevance of comparisons to other technology adoption rates has been established. Considering the impact of the first Internet wave on the economy and the lives of most Americans, broadband's infinite transformative potential makes it much more critical and urgent that its power be unleashed as quickly as possible. Its economic implications alone lend support to a view that the role of broadband deployment in helping today's gigantic U.S. economy continue to grow makes past precedents seem less significant. Another important distinction is that users already are accessing the Internet through dial-up methods, meaning that broadband is an expansion of current service (faster, more services). Consequently, it's logical that "early adopters" would be inclined to opt for the upgrade. On the other hand, CDs required an abandonment of consumer investment (tapes and LPs), televisions early on were beyond the reach of many Americans, and rural electrification required time intensive, massive facilities build out.
TIA believes that an important driver in demand for broadband communications services is the compounding effect that aggregated public sector demand can have on increasing the overall demand for improved telecommunications infrastructure and services. In the case of broadband, the government – at the federal, state and local levels – can itself benefit tremendously in terms of internal operational efficiencies, while simultaneously demonstrating to the public the benefits of broadband in several areas, including public services, procurement, health care, and education. Currently, use of broadband communications technologies in each of these areas is minimal or non-existent. The public sector has the opportunity to become an “IT Locomotive,” leading the demand-pull not only for infrastructure, but also for content to meet the needs of these and other services. The Administration has acknowledged the significance of "e-government" initiatives. TIA is of the opinion that the government not only needs to become more "wired," but those wires must be broadband enabled.
The terrorist attacks on the U.S. and, as a result, the focus on homeland security also means that governments must address not only the public national communications infrastructure, but the security, redundancy, scalability and reliability of their own networks. Possible government beneficiaries of broadband use are limitless - the Department of Defense, law enforcement, the Federal Aviation Administration, immigration authorities, public health authorities, etc.
D. Should government adopt as a goal "access for all" to broadband service? What would be the costs of such a goal? What policy initiatives, if any, should be considered to achieve that goal? Are there areas or persons that are unlikely to be served through marketplace forces?
The government should have the objective of ubiquitous availability of broadband services. Government should remain technology-neutral, however, regarding the methods of delivery of broadband services. While the Universal Service program in many ways has been a success in affording access to basic telephone service for most Americans, the complicated hidden subsidy formulas inherent in the legacy system could threaten the efficient development of a broadband services market, thus inadvertently picking "winners and losers" in the broadband space. It is very likely, however, that typical broadband service providers will not target pockets of the U.S. population. Thus, the government likely will need to step in and help. Efforts are already underway, such as the strong bi-partisan efforts to enact the Broadband Internet Access Act (S. 88/HR. 267), a bill that would offer a two-tiered tax credit for deployment of current-generation and next-generation broadband services. In addition to these type of tax incentives, other fiscal measures such as the provision of low-interest loans, explicit and targeted subsidies, grants, pilot-project funding, or development funds are other alternatives that could be considered in the context of developing a U.S. national strategy to facilitate meaningful broadband deployment. Especially favorable and light regulatory treatment for those companies investing in "risky" markets also could be helpful. The availability of fiscal incentives, combined with policy and regulatory measures to increase competition and spur innovation and deployment, will enable the U.S. to maintain its international competitiveness in the broadband market.
As mentioned earlier, the national priority of enhancing homeland security also means putting an emphasis on improving communications and information. This is important not just for government entities but for all citizens and the national economy. A robust national telecommunications infrastructure, with redundant and secure facilities, clearly is necessary in light of the permanent threat of further terrorist attacks and the growing need of the labor force to work from home or alternative locations in the event of travel restrictions, a city being quarantined, or even primary workplace destruction. The potentially intensive use of communications technologies makes it essential that broadband be at the center of these efforts.
E. Do the interconnection, unbundling, and resale requirements of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 reduce incumbent local exchange carriers' (ILECs') incentives to invest in broadband facilities and services?
As NTIA of course is aware, the ILECs have been making this argument for a while. Many economists have expressed similar views. TIA believes it holds some truth as well.
ILECs are by far the largest class of facilities-based residential "last mile" telecommunications service providers. They control "essential" facilities, conduits and rights-of-way, and hence effectively are the "gatekeepers" of the national, local wired telecommunications infrastructure. Recognizing, of course, that a wide variety of communications companies contribute to the functioning and upkeep of the telecommunications network, in the end, it is critical for the ILECs to make the investments needed to equip their networks with the capability to meet the increasing demand for broadband connectivity. An upgraded telecommunications infrastructure is essential to its usability as an important competitive alternative to the high-speed networks of cable operators, the other primary communications "pipe" into most American homes at this point in time.
TIA observes that as ILECs have in fact slowed down their capital expenditures in recent months and project further reductions in spending for 2002, their investments in high-speed networks are suffering the bulk of the reductions. They are hesitating to upgrade their networks to enable remote subscribers to have access to DSL services, at least in part because of regulatory obligations and uncertainty surrounding unbundling, pricing, and collocation obligations. Further, the ILECs continue to lay copper in new builds and total plant rehabilitations when forward-looking and bandwidth-rich fiber solutions can be deployed economically, again apparently at least in part due to the unbundling, resale, and pricing rules.
In contrast, it has been documented that the spending of the same ILECs on their wireless networks, a largely unregulated and competitive side of the industry, has not suffered such a sharp decline. This contrast is not likely a coincidence. Uncertainty remains as to what exactly the rules are and will be in the wired high-speed Internet access and broadband services market. It would seem rational for an ILEC to reduce or simply stop necessary network upgrades if it fears bearing all of the risks of facilities upgrade investments and being forced to share the results of these investments with its competitors. Regulatory obligations threaten to reduce the ILECs’ return on investment while increasing their risks, thereby undermining the incentive to innovate. The unfortunate result is a lost opportunity to begin "future-proofing" the U.S. telecommunications infrastructure.
F. Some have suggested that a regulatory dividing line should be drawn between legacy "non-broadband" facilities and/or services and new "broadband" facilities and/or services. Is this a feasible approach? If so, how would it work?
TIA believes that this line can and should be drawn if a broadband policy is going to be successful in jumpstarting the necessary investment in technology upgrades that will make broadband services more widely available.
In the fall of 1999, TIA first called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to immediately forbear from applying the unbundling obligations in instances where the network provider (i.e. an ILEC) installs next-generation broadband loop facilities in new build and total rehab situations. TIA believes that the FCC can take this immediate action to implement this proposal due to its limited scope and the fact that legacy facilities would not be implicated.
Moreover, TIA further suggests that the time has come to seriously address the regulatory barriers to new investment in the deployment of current-generation high-speed Internet access technologies to all residences. The FCC's recently adopted notices of proposed rulemakings in two related proceedings present an opportunity to begin this process. TIA has asked the FCC to adopt a sense of urgency in making the difficult but critical decisions that will begin shaping the broadband regulatory paradigm. Extending high-speed Internet capability to all Americans must be an important national priority. Regulations that have the practical effect of slowing network operators from extending out further the DSL capability of their networks need to be re-examined. For advanced services to be available to a substantial number of consumers, fiber must be pushed out further and further into the telecommunications network, i.e. first to remote terminals and eventually beyond, and electronics components upgraded. The FCC and state public utility commissions must address whether collocation, unbundling and pricing rules are impeding this new investment, and remove or substantially modify them if that's the case. In other words, a new or modified regulatory approach is appropriate for this new investment. TIA believes that this can be accomplished while leaving the regulatory regime in place for the core copper "local loop" facilities, so long as oversight of ILEC compliance with the Telecom Act's requirements for the core local loop remain vigilant and enforcement is carried out swiftly and effectively.
I. What problems have companies experienced in deploying broadband services via wireless and satellite? What regulatory changes would facilitate further growth in such services? Is available spectrum adequate or inadequate? What additional spectrum allocations, if any, are needed?
Is available spectrum adequate or inadequate?
Current spectrum is inadequate to meet the constantly escalating capacity needs of the commercial wireless industry. Subscribership continues to increase and the evolution to new generations of wireless technologies are creating data applications and services that consume substantial amounts of bandwidth for extended periods of time. For example, consider the situation with respect to third-generation (3G) mobile wireless services. Advanced wireless services will add mobility and convenience to the broadband experience. It is well documented, however, that the U.S. is well behind other countries in rolling out these networks.
Another example is the public safety community’s needs. Very little spectrum is available for public safety wireless broadband deployment, particularly for mobile applications. Broadband public safety applications might include full motion real-time video, wireless high speed data networks, high speed data transmissions of very large files at specified locations (hot spots), and short range wireless networking of radios and accessories on an officer or within a vehicle. Just as public safety users require dedicated mission-critical voice systems, they also need dedicated, reliable, secure and enhanced featured broadband solutions. Fifty (50) megahertz (MHz) of spectrum for public protection and disaster relief can be made available at 4.94 - 4.99 GHz.
With regard to the use of unlicensed spectrum, the explosive growth of wireless local area network (WLAN) technologies is expected to quickly deplete the spectrum that currently is available for use.
What additional spectrum allocations, if any, are needed?
Global harmonization of domestic spectrum allocations should be a key priority in how the limited spectrum resources are managed in the U.S. Inefficiencies arise in the absence of harmonization, and U.S. consumers and companies are the losers since inefficiencies lead to delays in making advanced services and the newest access devices available to the consumer, while simultaneously raising costs. Spectrum suitable for 3G applications should be made available in bands with some commonality on the global level (i.e. within 1.71-2.7 GHz). Additional unlicensed spectrum allocations should be considered. Finally, as noted above, spectrum needs to be made available for public safety broadband applications at 4.94 - 4.99 GHz on a global basis.
What regulatory changes would facilitate further growth in such services?
In bands that require incumbents to be relocated, any auction proceeds should be used first to fund any relocation. In spectrum reallocation decisions, a general policy of affording the licensees unbridled discretion to determine spectrum uses leads to spectrum anarchy, which flies in the face of sound spectrum management. Technical compatibility needs to be part of the spectrum planning process.
K. Would it be appropriate to establish a single regulatory regime for all broadband services? Are there differences in particular broadband network architectures (e.g., differences between cable television networks and traditional telephone networks) that warrant regulatory differences? What would be the essential elements of a unified broadband regulatory regime?
See discussion in TIA response to question A.
L. Are there local issues affecting broadband deployment that should be addressed by federal policies? Please provide specific information or examples regarding these problems. Should fees for rights of way and street access reflect costs in addition to the direct administrative costs to the municipalities affected? To what extent do state laws and regulations limit municipalities' ability to establish nondiscriminatory charges for carriers' use of public rights-of-way? Please discuss the most appropriate relationship between federal, state, and local governments to ensure minimal regulation while removing disincentives or barriers to broadband deployment.
TIA believes that service providers have documented ample evidence that local issues are a substantial impediment to the rollout of broadband services. TIA supports efforts to remove these obstacles and to create a more level playing field on a national basis.
N. With respect to any proposed regulatory changes suggested in response to the above questions, can those changes be made under existing authority or is legislation required?
TIA believes that the type of regulatory changes discussed in these comments can be accomplished at the FCC and in the states, where applicable. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was enacted as compromise legislation, understandably a necessity in an industry with eternally warring factions. The result is that the FCC was left with substantial discretion in how it implemented many of the provisions dealing with competition in the local telecommunications services market. The FCC should be able to reconsider some of the regulatory decisions it has made, or it can clarify the application or non-application of regulations designed for voice telephony networks to the broadband services market. Additionally, Section 706 of the 1996 Act mandates that the FCC take steps to promote the reasonable and timely deployment of advanced telecommunications capability to all Americans. In so doing, it specifically points to Section 10 forbearance authority. The three-prong test of Section 10 should allow the FCC to forbear from applying regulatory burdens, such as the Section 252 pricing rules, to the deployment of advanced services. Finally, the courts have played a role in "refining" the FCC's decision-making process on issues related to unbundling and the U.S. Supreme Court may act similarly with respect to pricing.
TIA is optimistic that the FCC, as part of its multi-pronged review of the regulatory framework for broadband services, will use all of its available authority to remove regulatory impediments to investment in broadband-enabled technologies and promote facilities-based competition.
TIA applauds NTIA's support for the removal of
obstacles to broadband deployment. TIA
recommends that, as part of its domestic telecommunications policy, the
Administration make extending broadband and high-speed communications
capabilities to all Americans an important national priority.
TIA remains unsatisfied with the pace of broadband rollout in the United States. In order to maintain U.S. international competitiveness in the broadband market, policy and deregulatory measures should be combined with the availability of fiscal incentives, such as tax credits, low interests loans, explicit and targeted subsidies, grants and pilot-project funding. TIA believes that, ultimately, facilities-based competition is essential to drive industry participants to invest in new technologies and their networks, in turn leading to waves of innovation.
TIA requests that NTIA take into consideration the comments herein in its efforts to promote the removal of regulatory and other impediments to increased competitive investment in a wide range of broadband communications facilities.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Matthew J. Flanigan
Suite 350 President
Washington, DC 20004
Grant E. Seiffert
202.383.1480 Vice President, External Affairs and Global Policy
Derek R. Khlopin
December 19, 2001 Director, Law and Public Policy
 See Letter to the Honorable George W. Bush, President, United States of America, from Matthew J. Flanigan, President, Telecommunications Industry Association (Oct. 4, 2001) (available at http://www.tiaonline.org/pubs/ press_releases/letter_bush_100401.pdf) (hereafter TIA Letter to President Bush).
 The U.S. was the top market for broadband services in the OECD and ranked third in the OECD in terms of broadband penetration at the end of 2000. “The Development of Broadband in OECD Countries,” October 29, 2001.
 According to a draft OECD Report, “Broadband Infrastructure Deployment: The Role of Government Assistance,” date-specific targets for broadband infrastructure and service deployment are listed for Australia, Canada, Denmark, Japan, Korea, Norway, the United Kingdom, and Sweden, among others. November 14, 2001.
 See “Digital Broadband Migration” Part II, the Honorable Michael K. Powell, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission, Press Conference (Oct. 23, 2001) (as prepared for delivery).
 Countries including the Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden, Australia, Korea, Japan, Canada, Italy, Greece and the UK are among many others that currently offer or are considering offering financial incentives for broadband infrastructure and/or service deployment. Information obtained from OECD TISP Workshop on Broadband, December 5, 2001.
 See Comments of the Telecommunications Industry Association in Response to the Notice of Inquiry in GN Docket No. 00-185, Inquiry Concerning High-Speed Access to the Internet Over Cable and Other Facilities (filed Dec. 1, 2000) at 15-16 (available at http://www.tiaonline.org/government/filings/ tia_openaccess_comments-final.pdf).
 See TIA Letter to President Bush, supra note 1.
 In its second report under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the FCC chose to "denominate as 'high-speed' those services with over 200 kbps capability in at least one direction" while stating that "advanced telecommunications capability and advanced services form a subset of this larger category and denote that portion capable of 200 kbps or greater transmission in both directions." Inquiry Concerning the Deployment of Advanced Telecommunications Capability to All Americans in a Reasonable and Timely Fashion, and Possible Steps to Accelerate Such Deployment Pursuant to Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Second Report, CC Docket No. 98-146, FCC 00-290 (released Aug. 21, 2000).
 This concept was espoused by the Danish Government at the December 5, 2001 OECD workshop on broadband.
 More information on this proposed legislation, including its full text and updates on its status, is available at http://www.americansforthedigitalbridge.com.
 Wireless, satellite, and even utility technologies hold promise as competitive alternatives for the delivery of broadband services, but currently they have little residential penetration.
 See Letter to the Honorable William E. Kennard, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission, from Mathew J. Flanigan, President, Telecommunications Industry Association, filed in CC Docket No. 96-98, Implementation of the Local Competition Provisions in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Aug. 2, 1999).
 See FCC Initiates Proceeding to Examine Regulatory Treatment of Incumbent Carriers' Broadband Services, News Release, CC Docket No. 01-337 (Dec. 12, 2001); Federal Communications Commission Initiates Review of Local Phone Network Unbundling Policies, News Release, CC Docket No. 01-339 (Dec. 12, 2001). As of the time of filing of these comments, the FCC had not yet released the full text of these NPRMs. However, the news releases and Commissioner statements are available on the FCC's main web page, http://www.fcc.gov.
 See Letter to the Honorable Michael K. Powell, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission, from Matthew J. Flanigan, President, Telecommunications Industry Association (Dec. 5, 2001) (available at http://www.tiaonline.org/pubs/press_releases/TIA_Powell_Ltr_120501.pdf).