Before the

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

U.S. Department of Commerce

Washington DC  20230





In the Matter of                                                            )


Request for Comments on Deployment of                 )

Broadband Networks and Advanced                                 )      Docket No. 011109273-1273-01

Telecommunications                                                   )

                                                                                         )       RIN 0660-XX13




















                                                                   Richard C. Rowlenson

                                                                   Vice President and General Counsel

       280 Trumbull Street

       24th Floor

       Hartford, CT  06103-3585

                                                                   (860) 293-4281

                                                                   (860) 293-4297 – fax

                                                          - e-mail


Date:  December 18, 2001







I.              INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………………                        1         



            FORMULATING BROADBAND POLICY………………………………                    3


            A. Facilities-Based Competition To Permit Consumer Choice……………             3

            B. Competition Means Lower Prices, More Innovative Services…………                   3

            C. Redundant Networks – National Security………………………………                    4

            D. Redundant Networks – Unanticipated Problems……………………….                   5

            E. Time to Eliminate Monopoly Broadband Problems……………………              6

            F. Minimal Regulation is Needed to Remove Road

                Blocks to Entry………………………………………………………….                       7


1.  Roadblocks to Access to Poles, Conduits and

     Rights-of-Way…………………………………………………..                      7

2.  Roadblocks to Access to Multiple Dwelling Units……………..                  9

3.  Roadblocks to Access to Programming…………………………                        10


G. Technology Neutrality is Fine, Absent Abuses…………………………                    11


III.       BROADBAND DEFINED…………………………………………………                        11


            A.  Criteria Used to Define Broadband…………………………………….                   11



            THE UNITED STATES……………………………………………………                        13


            A.  Gemini Experience in Connecticut and Other

                  Northeastern States……………………………………………………..                 13

            B.  Impediments to Deployment……………………………………………                 15



            “BROADBAND FACILITIES” AND/OR SERVICES……………………                 17



            BROADBAND SERVICES………………………………………………..                 18


VII.            CONCLUSION……………………………………………………………        19

Before the

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

U.S. Department of Commerce

Washington DC  20230



In the Matter of                                                            )


Request for Comments on Deployment of                 )

Broadband Networks and Advanced                                 )      Docket No. 011109273-1273-01

Telecommunications                                                   )

                                                                                         )       RIN 0660-XX13







            Gemini Networks, Inc. (“Gemini”), submits its Comments on deployment of

broadband networks and advance telecommunications services.



Gemini is a company formed for the specific purpose of building state-of-the-art, competitive, facilities-based broadband networks in the Northeastern United States.  Gemini’s business plan focuses upon seven Northeastern states and has already built a state-of-the-art network in central Connecticut.  Gemini offers broadband Internet access services at several different downstream and upstream speeds depending upon the needs of end-users.  Gemini will be bundling multiple video channels, voice and Internet access services on its networks.

Gemini offers broadband Internet services in Connecticut on a wholesale basis to Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”), and believes that it was the first, or one of the first companies in the nation to provide open access on its network to ISPs on a continuing

basis.  Gemini was not obligated by law or regulation to provide open access.  It did so on its own, making wholesale broadband Internet access services available to ISPs as part of its business plan, which includes retail services as well as wholesale services.

In addition to its network in Connecticut, Gemini has done the initial design and survey work necessary to construct networks in six other Northeastern states.  Since Gemini’s service bundling business plan includes telephony, Gemini secured certificates of public convenience and necessity (or the state-specific equivalent) from Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania.  Further, Gemini has undertaken extensive planning and preparation in these states, including preparation and filing of pole attachment applications with pole custodians in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.

       Gemini is not unique.  There are a number of companies throughout the country that are developing and building state-of-the-art broadband networks.  Thirteen of these companies have formed the Broadband Service Providers Association (“BSPA”).  The purpose of BSPA is to make state and federal regulators and legislators aware of the promise of new facilities-based competitive broadband networks, and the need to help eliminate roadblocks to deployment of those networks.  Only by eliminating barriers to entry (in the form of access to poles, conduit and rights-of-way (“ROW”), access to programming and access to multiple dwelling units (“MDUs”)), will competition result, eliminating the need for extensive regulation of broadband networks.








A.  Facilities-Based Competition To Permit Consumer Choice.

The primary policy consideration in formulating broadband policy for the country should be to encourage facilities-based competition to permit consumer choice.  Monopolies by their definition preclude consumer choice.  Legacy cable television MSO’s are the only existing facilities-based broadband networks.  Monopoly status is a disincentive to serving the consumer.  Competition keeps prices low and fosters development of innovative consumer services.

B.  Competition Means Lower Prices, More Innovative Services

The cable television industry is concentrated in two respects.  First, legacy cable television systems generally have the one and only cable television franchise in a town, city or county.  In this sense, it is a broadband monopoly.  NTIA should take official notice of the increasing concentration of ownership of MSOs.  At present, there is a private auction underway for the cable television systems of AT&T Broadband.  The primary bidders are Comcast, Cox Communications and AOL/Time Warner, three of the largest media/communications companies in the nation.  Whether one company is successful in the bid, or whether the AT&T Broadband properties are broken up, it is clear that concentration of control of MSO-owned broadband networks among a handful of MSOs will either increase, or at least, not decrease.

In many towns and cities throughout the country, the introduction of facilities-based broadband competition evokes a singular response from legacy cable systems:  a decrease in price to the consumer.  Sometimes these price decreases are implemented in particular neighborhoods just prior to time that the new competing broadband network activates service.  Sometimes the reaction of the legacy cable MSO appears predatory in nature, including offers of multiple months, or one year of free cable television service in return for execution of an exclusive contract.  Leaving aside the possible anti-competitive impact, these past reactions of the legacy cable systems make clear that as facilities-based networks are deployed around the country, prices for cable television services, Internet access services and telephony services will decrease or increase at a much slower rate then what is currently being experienced by the consumer.  This is good for the consumer.  Similarly, this competition will spark the offering of innovative services to consumers.  These service offerings by the legacy cable MSO and the new competitor may not all be the same.  Beneficially, consumers will have the opportunity to choose among broadband service providers.

C.  Redundant Networks - National Security

The tragic and disturbing events of September 11th made many regulators, legislators and managers in the communications industry realize the need for redundant networks for national security purposes.  At present there is a substantial redundancy in wireless networks.  This is a good thing.  It helped substantially during the September 11th crisis in New York City.  Portions of the wireline network were destroyed in southern Manhattan.  Some wireless antennas were destroyed, too.  Nonetheless, the existence of multiple

wireless networks and at least portions of one landline network helped people in Manhattan during that time of the tragedy and emergency to communicate with police, emergency workers and their own families to assure them that they were unharmed, or being taken care of.

As consumers throughout the United States become more and more dependent on the Internet, e-mail and information sources on the Internet (e.g.,, and other sources), it is very important that there be a clear-cut national policy to deploy redundant broadband networks through the United States.

D.  Redundant Networks - Unanticipated Problems

The need for redundant networks for national security purposes is clear.  However, there are other reasons.  Sometimes there are unanticipated problems that affect broadband networks.  Recently, AT&T Broadband could not come to an agreement with Excite@Home, and the bankruptcy court involved permitted Excite@Home to disconnect more than 800,000 AT&T Broadband Internet access customers all at once.[1]   It took more than a week to even begin to migrate all of those customers in various states throughout the country onto an alternative network that AT&T is developing.  In fact, no Connecticut customers could begin migrating until the 6th day of the outage.  The problems are not over yet.  Wait times for AT&T Broadband customer service are extremely long.  There are reports in the press and on the Internet user groups that people are complaining of slow downstream and upstream speeds.  AT&T Broadband has reportedly imposed on its customers a ceiling of 1.5 Mbps per second downstream speed and 128 Kbps per second upstream speed.

If the nation had redundant broadband networks, many of these AT&T Broadband customers would have had the opportunity to avoid losing service.  In fact, those residents of Connecticut within the footprint of Gemini’s broadband network did have the choice of contacting Gemini to connect to the Gemini network and receive Internet access services.  Many did so.  Unfortunately, companies like Gemini, and the other members of the BSPA, have not been able to build out their networks nationwide at this time to provide for ubiquitous redundancy.  Nonetheless, it should be a national policy that all homes above some economically, reasonable density per mile should be passed by at least two facilities-based broadband networks.

E.  Time to Eliminate Monopoly Broadband Problems

It should be a national policy to eliminate the problems brought about by a monopoly on broadband services facilities-based provision of broadband services – a status currently enjoyed by cable MSOs in most communities in the nation.  Although most cable franchises are non-exclusive, until recently, cable MSOs enjoyed a monopoly on provision of cable television video services.   This is been ameliorated in minor part by satellite-delivered multiple channel video services, but the number of users of this type of service is relatively small.  Further, the announced Direct TV/Echo Star transaction may result in a virtual monopoly of satellite-to-home delivered multiple channel video offerings.

Further, technological developments had moved the focus of broadband to the bundling of services.  Now, broadband service providers such as Gemini and others are working to bundle video, voice and Internet access services.  At present, satellite-delivered services do not include all of these bundled services, leaving consumers without a choice of bundled service providers in most parts of the nation.

F.  Minimal Regulation is Needed to Remove Road Blocks to Entry

Wide deployment of competitive facilities-based networks will go a long way toward eliminating or minimizing the need for federal or state regulation of broadband networks.  However, a variety of entrenched interests are putting up roadblocks to deployment of new broadband networks.

1.  Roadblocks to Access to Poles, Conduits and Rights-of-Way

Companies like Gemini have a great deal of difficulty in securing access to poles, conduit and rights-of-way.  This is due in part to the fact that pole custodians are often telecommunications companies that compete against Gemini for provision of voice and/or Internet access services.  The application procedures, costs and time consumed in securing access to poles, conduits and rights-of-way are excessive.  The conduct of pole custodians can often be characterized as hostile, or at best indifferent.  It is clear that the pole custodians do not want new broadband service providers like Gemini on the poles, despite the fact that companies like Gemini provide them with recurring revenues and non-recurring revenues for pole attachments for pole make-ready.

There are many instances of abuses by pole custodians.  Examples include:

            1.  Limitations on the number of pole license applications that

                 a new attacher can submit.  This thwarts rapid build out of a

                 network to enable new entrants to reach critical mass in a

                 timeframe necessary to meet the expectations of Wall Street,

                 venture capital and bank sources of financing.


            2.  Refusal of pole custodians to process pole license applications

                 in a timely fashion, or on a first-come, first-serve basis.

            3.  Pole custodians giving preference to their affiliates in processing

                 pole applications.


            4.  The refusal of pole custodians to provide new pole attachers with

                 access to maps and other data necessary to permit expeditious

                 completion of pole applications.


            5.  Pole custodian use of unnecessarily complicated pole license

                 applications to discourage new pole attachers.


            6.  Pole custodian refusal to grant or deny pole license applications

                 within 45 days, or other reasonable timeframe that is consistent

                 with timely construction of a network.


            7.  Pole custodian refusal to use qualified/outside contractors for

                 make-ready, even though the new pole attacher would pay for the

                 outside contractor.


            8.  Pole custodians of jointly owned poles (electric and telephone)

                 requiring a pole attacher to go through duplicative pole license

                 application processes, one for the telephone utility and one for

                 the electric utility.


            9.  Flat rate pole license application fees (e.g., $50 per pole) when

                 those charges bear no relation to the actual costs incurred by

                 the pole custodian.


          10.  Inflated make-ready engineering charges that are not reasonable

                 and are no cost based and which the pole custodian refuses to



          11.  Pole custodian requirements that the attacher use an outside

                 engineering firm of the pole custodian’s choice charging

                 “Cadillac” fees in a deliberate attempt to drive up the new

                 entrant’s costs.


                      12.  Refusal of pole custodian to permit overlashing, backside

                             attachments, extension arms or brackets, etc., where consistent

                             with safety requirements of the National Electric Safety Code,

     to decrease the cost of pole attachment.


                      13.  Refusal of a pole custodian to recover the cost of pole modifications

                             from third parties benefiting from the modification.


          14.  A pole custodian hiding the fact that it was about to change out

                             a pole as parts of its normal replacement plan and imposing the entire

                             cost of pole change out upon the new pole attacher.


                      15.  Pole custodians imposing the cost of correcting pre-existing

                             problems or the cost of removing abandoned attachments on the new

                             pole attacher.


          16.  Pole custodians requiring excessive security/bonds, where the

                             pole custodian has no credible basis to conclude that the new

                             attacher will meet its obligations.


                      17.  Recurring pole attachment rates that are not cost based.


            The foregoing problems have occurred all around the country and are an indictment of many pole custodians.  Their recalcitrance impedes the deployment of broadband networks in this country and should not be tolerated.

2.  Roadblocks to Access to Multiple Dwelling Units

            Similarly, legacy cable MSOs have taken a variety of actions to deny access to multiple dwelling units to new competitive broadband networks.  It should be a national policy to remove these roadblocks to deployment of new facilities-based broadband networks.  The type of conduct that the legacy cable MSOs sometimes engage in include the following:

            1.  Immediately before a competing broadband network is deployed, the legacy MSO secures perpetual (or long term) contracts which bind MDUs to permit access to their premises only to the legacy cable MSO.  This deprives the MDU residents of a choice of services.  Sometimes the MDU owner would be happy to allow a new broadband network to access the MDU, but the MDU owner signed the exclusive arrangement not understanding the implications, or not knowing that a new broadband network was being built.

                        2.  Grant by MDU owners of exclusive easements to legacy cable franchisees in order to deny new broadband access to the MDUs.

            3.  Roadblocks  to Access to Programming 

It should be a national policy to preclude parties or their affiliates controlling (a) video programming and (b) a legacy cable system in a geographic area from denying access to programming by competitive broadband networks serving that same geographic area.  At present, vertically integrated owners of satellite-delivered programming are precluded from denying competitors access to that programming in communities in which the vertically integrated entity has a cable franchise.[2]  Several cable MSOs have tried to get around this prohibition by changing the delivery mode of programming from satellite to terrestrial. If asked, such MSO’s argue the switch is “economic”.  Whether it is, or whether it is anti-competitive conduct, new broadband network entrants should not be blocked from access to such programming to make it available to consumers.

            There is a minimal level of video programming necessary for any viable multi-channel programming  provider.  These include certain news services (e.g., CNN, Headline News Network, C-SPAN, ESPAN, and the like).  It should be a national policy that programming made available on broadband and other networks owned or controlled by a party or an affiliate owning or controlling the programming should be made available to other multi-channel programming  providers.  The bottom line:  Consumers should have a choice of services.  A legacy MSO should not be able to use programming as a weapon to maintain its monopoly or near-monopoly dominance of the multi-channel

programming provision in a geographic area.  This is especially so because new entrants like Gemini would pay regular fees for the programming.  Thus, the only real purpose for withholding such programming is anti-competitive in nature.  Trying to keep facilities-based competitors out of the market will do no more than deprive consumers of another choice of services.  We should have a national policy against this.

G.  Technology Neutrality is Fine, Absence Abuses

Gemini supports a policy in favor of technology neutrality, which permits the marketplace to embrace its technology of choice.  However, because of the highly concentrated ownership of the cable industry, the policy must take into account the need to preclude abuses.

            There are instances in which legacy cable companies have used their size and market power to force a manufacturer of equipment, such as converters, to provide those converters only to the legacy cable MSO.  It appears that the MSO uses its power to force this exclusivity for the sole purpose of discouraging facilities-based competition.  One may rest assured that an equipment manufacturer would be more than happy to sell to competitors if it were not forced into the exclusivity obligation by the legacy MSO.  Abuses of this type should not be permitted because they are anti-competitive in nature.[3]


A.  Criteria Used to Define Broadband

Gemini asserts that the criteria to be used to define broadband should be based upon customer expectations.

At present, Gemini’s direct experience makes clear that a majority of consumers of broadband services expect speeds of 1.5 Mbps per second downstream or higher and 256 Kbps per second upstream or higher.  On a short-term basis, this is an adequate speed for consumers.  This will change quickly.

Beginning in 2002, a variety of companies will be initiating video on demand and other services.  These require higher speeds for a product of sufficient quality to satisfy consumers of broadband services.  Full screen video will require 3.0 Mbps or higher downstream speeds[4]. 

Other interested parties may argue that broadband should be defined at much slower speeds.  For instance, iDSL has a downstream speed of 144 Kbps per second.  This is just double dial-up modem speed and is simply not broadband.

Incumbent Local Exchange Companies (“ILECs”) might argue that broadband should be defined as 768 Kbps per second downstream and 128 Kbps per second upstream, because this is what DSL most often provides today.  ILECs would argue that 768 Kbps per second downstream provides SIF Resolution (320 X 240 pixels) and that this constitutes broadband service.  In fact, its small size and lack of fluid motion are annoying to broadband consumers.  768Kbps speed is to 3.0Mbps as a biplane is to a commercial Boeing 747 jetliner.  Consumers and the flying public clearly want the latter in both cases.

The DSL interests argue that DSL can provide video on demand at 1.5 Mbps per second downstream, but if they do so, they conveniently will fail to indicate the resultant resolution.  At full screen, the resolution would be one-fourth the resolution at 320 X 240 pixels.  Essentially, this will provide the equivalent of “bad” VCR quality that one might experience if one rented a very old VCR tape from a video rental store.  To minimize this problem, ILECs offering DSL will soften the picture and its transmissions in order to minimize the quality disparity.

It is important to focus on the purpose of the definition for broadband services.  The foregoing analysis is designed to define broadband from a consumer point of view.  The definition of broadband for purposes of adequate services to consumer should not be confused with the definition of broadband from an anti-competitive point of view.  As described earlier, certain ILECs that are pole custodians are placing roadblocks in the way of new broadband networks attaching to poles.  These same ILECs that provide DSL service market that service to consumers as broadband in nature.  In essence, some of these DSL providers are using their positions as pole custodians to throw up a roadblock to entry to new broadband service providers like Gemini so that the pole custodian or its affiliate can continue to provide “quasi-broadband service” in a monopoly environment (or in a market in which the incumbent MSO provides broadband Internet access in an oligopolistic environment, at best).




A.  Gemini Experience in Connecticut and Other Northeastern States


Legacy cable television systems pass 97.7 million homes in the United States.  69.5 million homes receive basic cable service.  This amounts to 68% of the 102.1 million U.S. telephone households as of January 2001.[5]    69.9% of homes passed have at least basic cable.  Annual cable revenues exceed $42 Billion.[6]   In a recent Press Release,

NCTA indicated that its member MSOs had completed 80% of the effort necessary to upgrade its networks to two-way technology.[7]   Against this backdrop of a pervasive legacy cable coverage in the United States, are the statistics relating to competitive facilities-based networks.  The BSPA has 13 member companies, one of which is Gemini.  BSPA members have more than 22 Million households under franchise, pass more than 4 Million homes with their networks and serve over one million customers.  Total capital investment exceeds $5 Billion to date and BSPA members have constructed more than 29,000 miles of network. 

            These statistics are encouraging for competitive facilities-based broadband service providers, but make clear how far the nation is from enjoying true competition in the supply of broadband services.

            As noted above, more than 800,000 broadband customers lost service when Excite@Home terminated service to AT&T Broadband.  These customers had no

alternative but to wait without service or utilize slow, dial-up services, while AT&T Broadband tried mightily to provide connectivity with its recently developed in-house network.[8]

            Gemini received a number of calls from AT&T Broadband customers located in the geographic areas in which Gemini has an operating broadband network in Connecticut.  Many of these customers wanted to switch to Gemini Internet access services. Gemini has provided service to many of them.  We are still adding former AT&T Broadband customers, several weeks after the Excite@Home network terminated services to AT&T broadband customers.

            Further, Gemini received a number of calls from customers that are not located within geographic areas served yet by Gemini.  Many of them expressed frustration that our network had not yet been built out to their areas.  They expressed frustration that they had no other alternative for high-speed broadband services.  Some of them stated that DSL service was not available in their area, or the DSL services were not satisfactory primarily because of the relatively low downstream and upstream speeds.

            As further evidence of the lack of supply of broadband capability, Gemini has received calls from individuals in New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island seeking broadband service from Gemini.  While Gemini has not built its networks in those states yet, these consumers were desperate for broadband services and had researched the names and contact information of communications companies at the PUC in their state.

The research indicated that Gemini had received a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity or the equivalent in their state and they were calling Gemini to find out if bundled service, including Internet access service, was available.  This is an extraordinary amount of effort undertaken by consumer seeking high-speed broadband service.  It indicates that the current supply of broadband service is sorely lacking in this country and development of alternative high-speed broadband networks should be encouraged.

B.   Impediments to Deployment

            Despite the progress of Gemini and other BSPA member companies in deploying their networks, they are not even further along because of serious impediments to deployment.  These include (a) impediments to pole, conduit and right-of-way access,

(b) impediments to programming access and (c) impediments to MDU access.

            Unfortunately, the parties controlling poles, conduits and rights-of-way and programming in many instances are competitors to Gemini and other BSPA members.  They have no incentive to make it commercially reasonable for Gemini to attach to poles and secure programming for its broadband networks.  Similarly, as noted above, legacy cable MSOs often try to secure perpetual or long-term rights to access to MDUs from landlords as a means of precluding competition by competing networks such as Gemini consumers that live in those MDUs.

In addition to the access impediments, come the cost impediments.  Gemini has elsewhere described in some detail the abuses employed by pole custodians to make it costly and to delay the availability of pole attachments.  If there were a competitive market for space on poles, there is no doubt that marketplace forces would cause pole custodians to actively solicit Gemini to attach to their poles, just as competing equipment vendors aggressively solicit Gemini for business.  Pole custodians would offer reasonable rates designed to encourage Gemini to attach to as many poles as possible.  The today’s world, some pole custodians undertake “guerrilla warefare” and “passive resistance” to discourage pole attachments.

            Another impediment to deployment are cable television franchise delays.  It is not uncommon for a cable television franchise proceeding to take a year or more from start to finish.  There are numerous examples of legacy MSOs injecting themselves into the process, threatening lawsuits if they do not like the terms of the franchise agreement proposed by a franchising authority to a competitive cable franchisee.

            Gemini is aware of one instance in which a MSO purportedly commissioned a Washington law firm to research various theories and causes of actions that could be used against new cable television franchise applicants for markets in which the legacy MSO operates.  While an MSO confronted with this fact would argue that it simply wants a “level playing field”, the impact of threats of lawsuits and filed lawsuits is to intimidate franchising authorities from granting competing franchises quickly, if at all.  This conduct increases the costs to new entrants at a time when they do not have revenue streams necessary to support the costs of litigation.  Finally, the legacy MSOs have the cash flow to support endless litigation and delay.







            Gemini submits that it is not feasible to draw a line between legacy “non-broadband” facilities and/or services and “broadband facilities” and/or services. 

            For the first time, technological advances have made it possible for broadband networks to provide an array of services including video services, telephony and data services (including Internet access services).  The lines between these services have blurred.  It creates artificial distinctions and difficulties to try to distinguish between these services.[9]  Broadband service providers bundle these services because that is what consumers want.   Consumers look at these services as a bundle and do not distinguish between “non-broadband” facilities and/or services and “broadband facilities” and/or services.

            Gemini submits that introducing these artificial distinctions will result in confusion, delay and obfuscation.  The only real answer is lifting the impediments to entry and encouraging deployment of facilities-based broadband networks.  This will result in competition, and the marketplace will become a superior substitute to administrative regulation. 




            Gemini submits that it would speed deployment of facilities-based broadband networks, including competing networks, to establish a single regulatory regime for all broadband services.  It does not make sense to bifurcate regulation on a state-by-state basis.  The modern world and developing communications networks, including terrestrial, wireless and satellite-delivered, simply do not take into account artificial political boundaries.  Regulation by fifty different states will result in fifty different sets of regulations.  This is not good for the consumer, because it will drive up the cost of broadband services as broadband service providers desperately work to comply with laws of fifty different states.

            A single regulatory regime does not mean that the voice of the states cannot be heard.  Gemini has had extensive contact with public utility commissions in Connecticut

where it has built its network, as well as in each of its other target states.  Many of these regulators are very much committed to serving the public interest.  They often have their finger on the pulse of consumers in their particular states.  A unified regulatory regime at the Federal level should make adequate provision for extensive communication with state PUCs and should take advantage of state PUC knowledge of the needs, desires and problems of consumers in their states when developing Federal regulatory policy.

            Federal regulators should continue to increase their interaction with state PUCs, including attending NARUC meetings and functions.

            In short, a single Federal regulatory scheme, taking into account the advice of state PUC commissions is the way to go.  But without any question, there is a need for one single regulatory regime to avoid possible chaos and the likelihood of increase costs to the consumer and delays in deployment of new, competitive facilities-based broadband networks around the country.  To do otherwise will disadvantage the United States versus other countries around the globe.



            Gemini submits that there needs to be strong national policies favoring the following:

(1)  Deployment of competitive facilities-based broadband networks that are state-of-the-art throughout the United States;

            (2)  Redundant broadband networks should be encouraged, not only for national security purposes, but also because of unanticipated problems affecting broadband networks, which become more and more serious as more Americans subscribe to high-speed broadband services and rely upon them for their work and personal lives;

            (3)  Minimal regulation of broadband is appropriate, but some regulation is needed to remove roadblocks to entry by new competitive facilities-based broadband providers, including roadblocks to (a) access to poles, conduits and rights-of-way

(b) access to MDUs, and (c) access to programming;

            (4)  A national policy of technology neutrality is fine, as long as dominant players cannot utilize technology to block entry by new facilities-based broadband networks;

            (5)  National policy should define broadband from a consumer point of view, and should recognize that consumers are on the verge of demanding much higher download and upload speeds;

            (6)  There is a crying need to increase the current supply of facilities-based broadband services in the United States;

            (7)  It is a losing game to try to draw artificial distinctions between legacy “non- broadband facilities” and/or services and “broadband facilities” and/or services.

                                                            Respectfully submitted, 


                                                            GEMINI NETWORKS, INC.

                                                            By:  /s/ Richard C. Rowlenson                                                                                                     

                                                                   Richard C. Rowlenson


       280 Trumbull Street

       24th Floor

       Hartford, CT  06103-3585

                                                                   (860) 293-4281

                                                                   (860) 293-4297 – fax

                                                          - e-mail


Date:  December 18, 2001

[1] This is not meant as a criticism of AT&T Broadband.  It was faced with a monumental task in making alternative arrangements for 800,000 customers—a nearly impossible task.  Yet, AT&T Broadband had substantial advance notice of the problem.  What will occur in the future if this happens to another broadband network with no notice?  What will happen to consumers of high-speed broadband services?

[2] Communications Act, Section 628.

[3]  This is to be distinguished from a situation in which a legacy MSO has invented something to which the intellectual property laws of the United States provide it with the exclusive right to use for a set period of years.  In such cases, the legacy MSO may, but is not obligated, to license this invention to third parties.


[4] This is MPEG-2 at main level, main profile (ML/MP).  It is similar to CCIR-601 resolution that we see on analog television today.




[6] Id.

[7] Cable and Telecommunications Industry Overview 2001, p.1, released December 11, 2001.

[8] Again, this is not a criticism of AT&T Broadband.  The conversion task was monumental and would have taxed any company faced with it.

[9] NTIA should take official notice of the decades-long problem in trying to create workable definitions of (a) computer services and (b) communications services.