FCC creates tech transition task force

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"The Technology Transitions Policy Task Force will play a critical role in answering the fundamental policy question for communications in the 21st century: In a broadband world, how can we best ensure that our nation’s communications policies continue to drive a virtuous cycle of innovation and investment, promote competition, and protect consumers?” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement.

Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai was the first to propose the creation of a task force focusing on the transition from copper networks to fiber and wireless-based networks.

"The analog, circuit-switched copper-wire networks that dominated the 20th century communications marketplace are being replaced by competitive fiber networks that digitally distribute voice, video, and data services. Yet our rules continue to presume static domination by monopoly providers," Pai said in a statement on Monday.

He commended the chairman for establishing the task force and urged the group to "resist the urge to simply import the rules of the old world into the new." 

"Instead, it should scour the Code of Federal Regulations to track down and remove obsolete legacy regulations, like the tariffs, the arcane cost studies, and the hidden subsidies that distort competition for the benefit of companies, rather than consumers," he said.

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the chairman of the House Communications and Technology subcommittee, said he hopes the task force "will present the type of forum Commissioner Pai has called for since joining the agency — one that not only helps transition toward the networks of tomorrow, but also away from the outdated regulations of the past.”

Harold Feld, senior vice president of consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge, applauded the announcement and said he is "happy to see that the FCC is not approaching the change from copper to wireless with ideas of radical deregulation."