[CalFiber] Letter to Biden FCC Transition team on abolishing digital redlining - deadline COB Nov 23rd

Stephen Blum steveblum at tellusventure.com
Fri Nov 20 08:55:47 PST 2020


As the great broadband advocate Al Capone said, "you get further with a
kind word and a gun, than with a kind word alone".

Steve Blum
Tellus Venture Associates
U.S. +1-831-582-0700
N.Z. +64-21-116-0002
steveblum at tellusventure.com


On Fri, Nov 20, 2020 at 8:51 AM Harold Feld <hfeld at publicknowledge.org>
wrote:

> As I frequently write -- forcing companies to do stuff they don't want to
> do should be the last resort. Why? Because they will resist as much as
> possible, raisng the cost of forcing compliance. Best is to support people
> who actually want to serve locally.
>
> But sometimes, the least bad alternative must suffice.
>
> In any event, I think it is critical to gain authority, and to pressure
> incumbents to support alternatives.
>
> Harold Feld, Senior VP
> (202) 559-1044 | @haroldfeld
> Public Knowledge | @publicknowledge | www.publicknowledge.org
> 1818 N St. NW, Suite 410 | Washington, DC 20036
>
> Support Public Knowledge's Mission <https://www.publicknowledge.org/give/>
>
>
> On Thu, Nov 19, 2020 at 2:29 PM Christopher Mitchell <christopher at ilsr.org>
> wrote:
>
>> I do not like the idea of putting a lot of energy into a plan to force
>> AT&T to invest more in areas it does not want to serve. Given the amount of
>> effort it would take to win that, I would like that energy to result in a
>> win that wasn't that more people got to experience how shitty AT&T is. We
>> have done some unscientific surveys and may be getting one out that is
>> scientific on the question of whether people are just looking for the
>> fastest solution to getting broadband where it isn't or whether they are
>> willing to wait and have it cost more to do it right. I'm heartened at how
>> many more want to get it right. I think we need to respect that and build
>> better business models with the power of government rather than continuing
>> to let the power of government prop up the shittiest ones.
>>
>> Christopher Mitchell
>> Director, Community Broadband Networks
>> Institute for Local Self-Reliance
>>
>> MuniNetworks.org <http://www.muninetworks.org/>
>> @communitynets
>> 612-545-5185
>>
>>
>> On Thu, Nov 19, 2020 at 10:12 AM Harold Feld <hfeld at publicknowledge.org>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> Universal service in its modern inception goes back to the early days of
>>> the AT&T monopoly. AT&T justified its monopoly on the basis of the idea
>>> that it was necessary for them to have a monopoly to serve the entire
>>> country. "One policy, one system, universal service
>>> <https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2011/09/how-att-conquered-the-20th-century/2/#:~:text=In%20an%20era%20profoundly%20distrustful,as%20a%20%22natural%20monopoly.%22>"
>>> was the slogan used to sell this idea.
>>>
>>> The way this got enforced, ultimately, was by requiring franchising on a
>>> geographic basis and demanding deployment throughout the service territory.
>>> unlike cable systems franchised at the local level, telephone networks were
>>> franchised by the state (and required to get a license for interstate
>>> services under Section 214 of the Act). Traditionally, overbuilders were
>>> not subject to these universal franchising requirements. Incumbent LECs
>>> were designated as "carriers of last resort" (COLR), and could not
>>> terminate service without showing that other carriers exist to service the
>>> service area.
>>>
>>> I will skip over the history of franchising and how this stuff used to
>>> work. It was indeed a long, ugly and expensive process we would not want to
>>> replicate. Without franchising, it is less clear how you enforce a
>>> universal service mandate. The most obvious way is to make the government
>>> -- local, state or federal -- the carrier of last resort and to require
>>> cost-based interconnection to keep the price of backhaul reasonable. We
>>> (PK) proposed this back in 2011 or so when LECs were looking to deregulate
>>> themselves as part of the Tech Transition. Needless to say, this did not
>>> get far.
>>>
>>> Harold Feld, Senior VP
>>> (202) 559-1044 | @haroldfeld
>>> Public Knowledge | @publicknowledge | www.publicknowledge.org
>>> 1818 N St. NW, Suite 410 | Washington, DC 20036
>>>
>>> Support Public Knowledge's Mission
>>> <https://www.publicknowledge.org/give/>
>>>
>>>
>>> On Tue, Nov 17, 2020 at 6:51 PM Dane Jasper <dane.jasper at sonic.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>>> Certainly understand the goals of full deployment, and our own
>>>> analysis of the 477 info supports the fact that more fiber is deployed in
>>>> areas with higher incomes.
>>>>
>>>> Universal service was a concept when cable companies were granted
>>>> monopoly franchises for television services. They'd generally be required
>>>> to provide service throughout a city, with some carve-outs for things like
>>>> long private property driveways that they were allowed to charge more for -
>>>> but they couldn't skip sections of town and basically had to go down every
>>>> road. But of course, that was before the internet disrupted cable
>>>> television, and a monopoly franchise meant something.
>>>>
>>>> But I don't understand how you could compel a carrier today, even an
>>>> incumbent, to deploy or upgrade their infrastructure universally. And would
>>>> you compel both the cable company and the incumbent telephone carrier both
>>>> to deploy fiber to every home premise? What about CLEC overbuilders like
>>>> Sonic? We build where we can, but without pre-existing conduit in place,
>>>> and with overloaded poles and varying city limitations on underground
>>>> construction, we end up with gaps in our coverage.
>>>>
>>>> -Dane
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On Tue, Nov 17, 2020 at 2:39 PM Ernesto Falcon <ernesto at eff.org> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> This is just one of many pieces. I agree this approach in isolation
>>>>> alone would not be enough but I would emphasize that this is what common
>>>>> carriage already requires in law today under Title II. The FCC has a job to
>>>>> enforce.
>>>>>
>>>>> This is also limited to what the FCC can do with its authority without
>>>>> a new law. For example, the FCC can't free up the local govs from the state
>>>>> restraints under Title II, which is why the Clyburn bill has those
>>>>> provisions unless those states change their laws. It can free up federally
>>>>> funded fiber under E-Rate early next year that will help with public
>>>>> infrastructure, but that's a small lift politically for the Biden FCC. And
>>>>> most of the money the FCC has available is obligated now under RDOF for
>>>>> years on out, so absent a new infusion of funds, there isn't more money
>>>>> coming from the FCC without Congress.
>>>>>
>>>>> This is also specifically focused on densely populated cities and not
>>>>> a rural solution and focused on what can be done by regulation without
>>>>> money. Also nothing will be done that won't face litigation challenge by
>>>>> the ISPs, but if you start on year 1 you can get to resolution by year 2 to
>>>>> begin to enforce.
>>>>> On 11/17/20 2:18 PM, Christopher Mitchell wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>> I respect the people who may support this, but not only would I not
>>>>> sign this letter, I actively oppose it. I do not think it is in anyone's
>>>>> interest to force AT&T to invest more in low-income communities. AT&T will
>>>>> never do a good job of meeting those needs and I think work focused on how
>>>>> to pass laws that would force AT&T et al to do that would be wasted. We
>>>>> need to focus on better approaches to ensuring everyone can access the
>>>>> Internet, as I outlined here:
>>>>>
>>>>> https://nonprofitquarterly.org/a-signal-failure-education-broadband-and-our-childrens-future/
>>>>>
>>>>> If you use the force of law to compel AT&T to invest in these areas,
>>>>> you will make it less likely and more difficult for ISPs and business
>>>>> models that will do a much better job of meeting those needs in the short
>>>>> and long term. I do not think there is a short term argument in favor of
>>>>> forcing AT&T to invest in certain areas as it will be years of court
>>>>> battles that would have to be won prior to AT&T changing any investment
>>>>> plans.
>>>>>
>>>>> In disagreement, but solidarity,
>>>>>
>>>>> Christopher Mitchell
>>>>> Director, Community Broadband Networks
>>>>> Institute for Local Self-Reliance
>>>>>
>>>>> MuniNetworks.org <http://www.muninetworks.org/>
>>>>> @communitynets
>>>>> 612-545-5185
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> On Tue, Nov 17, 2020 at 2:25 PM Ernesto Falcon <ernesto at eff.org>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>> Hey folks,
>>>>>>
>>>>>> The time to weigh in with the incoming Biden Administration on goals
>>>>>> for the first year is *now*. Decisions about staffing federal
>>>>>> agencies and setting their priorities are happening as we speak so that
>>>>>> come January they can hit the ground running. Not a lot has been submitted
>>>>>> to the transition team about what the FCC should do so I worked with some
>>>>>> folks to come up with this letter that I present to you for your
>>>>>> consideration.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> The letter asks that the new Biden Administration appoint FCC
>>>>>> Chair/Commissioners that will lead the agency to abolish digital redlining
>>>>>> that is happening in our cities in year 1 and mandate the incumbents like
>>>>>> AT&T to deploy fiber to the low-income people they have left behind with
>>>>>> the goal of full deployment by the end of the first term. This would be
>>>>>> done after reclassification of broadband as a Title II service by relying
>>>>>> on the anti-discrimination authority the FCC has under Title II to address
>>>>>> socio-economic discrimination in areas that are economic to fully serve.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> It is just a fact that the large ISPs have refused to do so because
>>>>>> they do not want to serve low income people for lower profits. Full
>>>>>> deployment of fiber in densely populated cities is 100% profitable for the
>>>>>> major ISPs like AT&T, but because we don't have an affirmative
>>>>>> anti-redlining regulation on fiber, they are collecting profits that stem
>>>>>> from discrimination with a disproportionate impact on people of color. This
>>>>>> will carry serious ramifications going forward as those older slower
>>>>>> networks will become more expensive to maintain, more expensive to
>>>>>> subsidize access, and receive less and less investment by the incumbents
>>>>>> who are purposefully letting them fall apart.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> The new FCC can and should stop that from continuing forward after it
>>>>>> reclassifies broadband as a Title II service.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> *If you wish to sign on to the attached letter, please click the link
>>>>>> below. Deadline to sign on is November COB 23rd (Monday).*
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd3zD7OT-oCpk8m0azJlbkIYxouSJTZZPFZIa32KfwvWhLEqA/viewform?usp=sf_link
>>>>>>
>>>>>> --
>>>>>> Ernesto Omar Falcon
>>>>>> Senior Legislative Counsel
>>>>>> Electronic Frontier Foundation
>>>>>> Office: 415 436 9333 ext. 182
>>>>>> Cell: 202 716 0770
>>>>>>
>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>> CalFiber mailing list
>>>>>> CalFiber at lists.eff.org
>>>>>> https://lists.eff.org/mailman/listinfo/calfiber
>>>>>>
>>>>> --
>>>>> Ernesto Omar Falcon
>>>>> Senior Legislative Counsel
>>>>> Electronic Frontier Foundation
>>>>> Office: 415 436 9333 ext. 182
>>>>> Cell: 202 716 0770
>>>>>
>>>>> Help EFF Defend Freedom in the Digital Worldhttps://www.eff.org/donate
>>>>>
>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>> CalFiber mailing list
>>>>> CalFiber at lists.eff.org
>>>>> https://lists.eff.org/mailman/listinfo/calfiber
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> --
>>>> Dane Jasper
>>>> CEO
>>>> 707-237-6205
>>>> dane.jasper at sonic.com
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> CalFiber mailing list
>>>> CalFiber at lists.eff.org
>>>> https://lists.eff.org/mailman/listinfo/calfiber
>>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> CalFiber mailing list
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>>>
>> _______________________________________________
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