As Chief of the FCC’s International Bureau, I know how important it is for policymakers worldwide to stay in touch so we can share our diverse experiences and learn of new, innovative ideas.
That’s why I was so pleased that today, the FCC hosted the first-ever online global policy meeting with over 140 international participants from telecommunications agencies, ministries, and organizations around the world, representing over 25 countries. It is especially fitting that our first online global meeting was to discuss the National Broadband Plan.
Chairman Genachowski said it best today when he introduced today’s conference, and I quote:
“At the FCC, we are committed to greater international engagement and cooperation in our interconnected world. Together, we can work to ensure that communications and information technology advances our collective goals of peace and prosperity. Broadband is indispensable infrastructure for the 21st century and the foundation for economic growth and democracy in the digital age. It provides a platform for opportunity -- for innovation -- and for solutions.”
Chairman Genachowski highlighted some of the plan’s guiding principles:
· Processes should be open, participatory, fact-based, and analytically rigorous.
· Private investment has an essential role in extending broadband networks across the nation.
· Vibrant competition is profoundly important in bringing consumers the best services at the best prices, and in spurring world-leading innovation and ongoing investment.
· It is necessary to tackle the vital challenge of inclusion and to promote universal digital literacy, so that everyone, everywhere can enjoy the benefits of a broadband internet that is open, safe, and trusted.
· It is necessary to reorient 20th century policies toward the 21st century.
· Government has a crucial, but restrained, role to play, focusing with laser-like precision on efficient and effective solutions.
Blair Levin, executive director of the FCC’s Omnibus Broadband Initiative, and members of the broadband team discussed the key goals of the plan: to increase innovation and investment; provide more spectrum for increasingly popular mobile wireless services; ensure broadband availability everywhere so that all are included in the broadband era; put broadband to work to improve education, healthcare and public safety, and more. They also discussed how the plan will be implemented to meet these goals.
Today’s interactive on-line video conferencing platform allowed participants to see the streaming video presentation from the FCC, ask the host questions online, converse with each other and with the host, and view documents used during the presentation. Participants only needed an Internet connection and a computer to join the online conference. Representatives from around the world asked a range of questions focusing on Internet speed, standards, accessibility of broadband, and spectrum issues.
In the International Bureau, we view the release of the National Broadband Plan as a beginning. It is the beginning of an exchange of ideas with people around the world -- so we not only learn, but can avoid past experiences that may not have worked, and take advantage of those that did, for the benefit of others. This international dialogue on ways to encourage broadband deployment and adoption will continue. We at the FCC very much look forward to it.