Docket No. 011109273-1273-01
[Federal Register: November 19, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 223)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
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
AGENCY: National Telecommunications and Information Administration,
U.S. Department of Commerce.
ACTION: Request For Comments on Deployment of Broadband Networks and
Advanced Telecommunications Services.
SUMMARY: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration
(NTIA) invites interested parties to comment on broadband deployment in
the United States. NTIA invites the public to submit comments on
several issues including: supply and demand for broadband services; and
the technical, economic, or regulatory barriers to broadband
deployment. Comments should be submitted on paper and, where possible,
in electronic form as well. All comments submitted in response to this
Notice will be posted on the NTIA Web site.
DATES: Interested parties are invited to submit comments no later than
December 14, 2001.
ADDRESSES: Comments may be mailed to Josephine Scarlett, Office of the
Chief Counsel, National Telecommunications and Information
Administration, Room 4713 HCHB, 1401 Constitution Ave., NW.,
Washington, DC 20230. Parties should submit an original and five (5)
copies. Where possible, parties should include a diskette in ASCII,
WordPerfect (please specify version) or Microsoft Word (please specify
version) format. Diskettes should be labeled with the name and
organizational affiliation of the filer, and the name version of the
word processing program used to create the document. In the alternative
to a diskette, comments may be submitted electronically to the
following electronic mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org . Comments
submitted via electronic mail also should be submitted in one or more
of the formats specified above.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Josephine Scarlett, Office of the
Chief Counsel, telephone: (202) 482-1816. Media inquiries should be
directed to the Office of Public Affairs, National Telecommunications
and Information Administration, at (202) 482-7002.
NTIA is the executive branch agency responsible for developing and
articulating domestic and international telecommunications policy. NTIA
is the principal advisor to the President on telecommunications
policies pertaining to the Nation's economic and technological
advancement and to the regulation of the telecommunications industry.
On October 12, 2001, NTIA held informal discussions with the public
and telecommunications companies to gather information about the status
of broadband deployment in the United States. The participants
discussed cable open access, broadband deployment in underserved rural
areas, demand and supply for advanced services, technical and economic
roadblocks to broadband deployment, and regulatory methods for
stimulating supply and demand.
The request for comment is a part of NTIA's ongoing effort to
obtain more information about broadband issues. Information submitted
in response to this Notice will be used to assist the Administration in
developing a domestic telecommunications policy and to continue NTIA's
support for removing obstacles to broadband deployment.
NTIA seeks comment on the following specific questions. Parties are
requested to respond to the questions about which they have particular
knowledge or information.
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
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.
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
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
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
1. Are their investment disincentives attributable to the regulated
rates for interconnection, unbundled network elements, and resold
2. To what extent are those disincentives due to ILECs'
uncertainties about their ability to recover the added network costs
needed to accommodate potential requests from competitors? What are the
magnitude of those additional costs? What mechanisms could be used to
share the risks of those costs efficiently and equitably among ILECs,
competitors, or users?
3. To what extent are the returns on ILECs' investments in new
infrastructure uncertain? Is the uncertainty of gaining an adequate
return on each infrastructure improvement (attributable in part to
other firms' ability to use those facilities to offer competing
services) significant enough to deter investment?
4. What are the principal strengths and weaknesses of the FCC's
total element long run incremental cost (TELRIC) \1\ methodology? What
changes could be made to render TELRIC an effective deterrent to the
exercise of market power and conducive to efficient infrastructure
investment? Would it be possible to construct an alternative
methodology that would not depend on cost information controlled by
\1\ TELRIC is a method of determining the cost of telephone
service based on the forward-looking, incremental cost of equipment
and labor without taking into account the historical, or embedded
cost. The pricing method is based on a hypothetical network using
the most efficient technology available. See 47 CFR 51.503, 51.505
(1997); In Re Implementation of the Local Competition Provisions in
the Telecommunications Act of 1996, CC Docket Nos. 96-98 and 95-185,
11 FCC Rcd 15499 (1996), vacated, 120 F.3d 753 (8th Cir. 1997),
remanded, 219 F.3d 744 (8th Cir. 2000), cert. granted, General
Comm., Inc. v. Iowa Util. Bd., 121 S.Ct. 879 (2001).
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?
1. What effects would changes in the regulatory structure for
broadband services and facilities have on regulation and competition
with respect to voice telephone and other non-broadband services?
2. If ILECs deploy broadband services using a mixture of new and
old facilities, will competitors be able to use the older shared
facilities that they previously had access to?
3. If ILECs deploy broadband facilities to replace portions of
their existing copper plant, will the displaced copper plant give
competitors a viable opportunity to offer alternative services? What
would be the annual costs to the ILEC (or to a purchaser of the
displaced copper plant) of a continuing obligation to maintain that
4. What regulations, if any, should apply to new broadband
facilities and/or services to ensure a competitive marketplace?
G. To what extent have competitive firms deployed their own (a)
transport, (b) switching, and (c) loop facilities? Are those
investments limited to particular areas of the country or to particular
portions of communities and metropolitan areas? What market
characteristics must exist for competitors to make facilities-based
investments? Do competitors have the ability to deploy their facilities
in ways that minimize costs and facilitate efficient network design?
H. What cable companies are currently conducting trials to evaluate
giving multiple Internet service providers access to broadband cable
modem services? Describe the terms and conditions of ISP access in such
trials. What technical, administrative, and operational considerations
must be addressed to accommodate multiple ISP access? How can cable
firms manage the increased traffic load on their shared distribution
systems caused by multiple ISPs?
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,
J. How should the broadband product market be defined? What policy
initiatives would best promote intra-modal and inter-modal broadband
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?
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.
M. Are there impediments to federal lands and buildings that thwart
broadband deployment? Please provide specific data. What changes, if
any, may be necessary to give service providers greater access to
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?
Nancy J. Victory,
Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information.
[FR Doc. 01-28784 Filed 11-16-01; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-60-P