Critics disappointed with broadband plan outline

Ben Scott, policy director for Free Press, said the broadband plan needs to challenge the market power of the telephone and cable companies that dominate the broadband service market.

"America’s most basic broadband problem is that we are stuck with a duopoly of local cable and telephone companies that controls virtually every broadband market in America. The trend in both wireless and wireline broadband markets lead to more consolidation, not less....The current marketplace will not magically leap forward to world class levels. There must be major policy intervention to get the country on track."

Blair Levin, who is leading the broadband plan effort, disagrees that the outline his staff presented today does not address competition issues.

"I think there are a lot of things that are absolutely designed to improve competition," he said after the FCC's meeting. "Adding spectrum is a way to address competition. One reason we want more spectrum is to have a more competitive marketplace."

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Improving set-top boxes and transparency for consumers will also kick-start competition, he said.

"Competition is a very complicated issue," he said." These are very complex markets. Unlike the voice market that stays way it is for a number of years, these markets are changing in a variety of ways very quickly."