[AfrICANN-discuss] Remarks of Assistant Secretary Strickling at the Practising Law Institute's 29th Annual Telecommunications Policy & Regulation Conference

Anne-Rachel Inné annerachel at gmail.com
Tue Dec 13 21:10:40 SAST 2011

  December 08, 2011

*Remarks by Lawrence E. Strickling*

*Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information*

*PLI/FCBA Telecommunications Policy & Regulation Institute*

*Washington, DC*

*December 8, 2011*

—*As prepared for delivery*—

I am pleased to return to this conference as a speaker. I realize I am the
last speaker before the Chairman’s dinner, so I am under a lot of pressure
to be brief, and maybe even interesting.  But I do want to take this
opportunity to review our accomplishments of the last year and preview our
priorities for the coming year. And what a year it has been. We all
remember the prediction of the talk show evangelist Harold Camping that the
world was going to end this year.  The conventional wisdom is that Camping
was wrong. But there are many, including probably some of you, who
predicted that the world would end before the FCC would ever reform
universal service so perhaps Camping actually was onto something.

Of course, I am not here to talk about the FCC but rather my agency, the
National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and while none
of our work will either require or lead to the end of the world, we are
working on a host of compelling issues that will help shape the
telecommunications and Internet landscape for years to come.
Our work focuses on three principal areas—spectrum, Internet policy and
broadband.  I’ll talk about each in turn.

*Spectrum    *

First: spectrum.

One of NTIA’s core missions is to manage the use of spectrum by Federal
agencies. Our work in this area is more important now than ever before as
spectrum is fast becoming a pillar of America's digital infrastructure.
Spectrum has enabled the mobile broadband revolution, changing the way that
Americans communicate and do business.

But while demand for America's spectrum resources is increasing at rapid
rates—the amount of information flowing over some wireless networks is
growing at over 250 percent per year—there has not been a corresponding
increase in supply. If we do not meet America’s growing spectrum needs, we
not only threaten our economic growth but also our role as the world leader
in wireless innovation.

Last year, President Obama committed to make available 500 megahertz of
Federal and nonfederal spectrum for wireless broadband over the next 10
years. The initiative – to nearly double the amount of commercial spectrum
over the next decade – will spur investment, economic growth, and job
creation while supporting the growing demand by consumers and businesses
for wireless broadband services.

So last fall, NTIA released a ten-year plan and timetable that identified
2,200 megahertz of spectrum for evaluation, the process for evaluating
these candidate bands, and the steps necessary to make the selected
spectrum available for wireless broadband services.

We also released the results of a fast-track review to identify some
spectrum reallocation opportunities that exist in the nearer term. We
recommended a total of 115 megahertz of spectrum be made available for
wireless broadband use within five years.

This year we focused our efforts on evaluating the 1755-1850 megahertz band
for potential repurposing to commercial use. This 95 megahertz of spectrum
is used currently by federal agencies for a host of important services,
including some very complex Department of Defense systems, but is of great
interest to industry given its location in the spectrum table.

NTIA completed its technical review of the band at the beginning of
October, the target date we set forth in our timetable. We are now
collaborating with OMB and the federal agencies to finalize our
recommendation, which we expect to release in the coming weeks.  This has
been a complex inquiry because we are dealing with large systems, such as
air combat training systems, that will be very expensive to relocate and
will take years to relocate.

We are approaching the point where the days of clearing spectrum bands of
all government uses and then making them available for the exclusive use of
commercial service providers are pretty much over. Today, federal agencies
have exclusive control over only 18 percent of the spectrum between 300 and
3000 megahertz.  Over the years, the critical missions performed by federal
agencies have required systems of greater and greater complexity, which
makes their relocation quite costly and lengthy.  We are headed for an
environment where commercial wireless broadband will need to co-exist in
the same bands with federal operations. This new environment raises
technical issues for sure. But it also raises business issues as to how
spectrum users, whether companies or agencies, will be able to organize
themselves to take advantage of new technologies that support novel
spectrum sharing arrangements.  So this is an important issue for research
and analysis over the coming years, and we must solve it if we are going to
be able to meet the demand for spectrum for commercial wireless broadband

In 2012, spectrum issues also will be prominent in the international arena.
The 193 member countries of the International Telecommunication Union will
meet next month at the World Radiocommunication Conference and make
decisions about spectrum that affect how unmanned aircraft will be
controlled and whether imagery that supports disaster relief operations has
sufficient resolution.  They will also determine when and how future mobile
broadband needs will be met. We have joined with other nations in the
Americas in a common proposal to address this issue as a matter of urgency,
and to make specific spectrum allocations in 2015.  We are working closely
with the FCC and federal agencies to ensure we succeed internationally in
making mobile allocations while taking into account the needs of incumbent

On the legislative front, I am pleased to see that Congress continues to
work on comprehensive spectrum legislation. This legislation is crucial to
advancing the President’s goals of making additional spectrum available for
commercial wireless use, achieving the long-overdue goal of a nationwide,
interoperable public safety broadband network, and reducing the
deficit.  Senators Rockefeller and Hutchison have shown great leadership in
crafting a bipartisan bill that tracks closely with the spectrum provisions
in the American Jobs Act, and Representatives Waxman and Eshoo have
proposed similar legislation in the House.  Each of these measures, in
varying degrees of detail, contains critical elements to achieving the
Administration’s goals in this area, which include:

   - Giving the FCC authority to conduct voluntary incentive auctions;
   - Maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of federal spectrum use
   through improvements to relocation and spectrum sharing processes;
   - Reallocating the D Block for public safety use;
   - Building out a nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband
   network through a strong, nationally-focused governance body;
   - Ensuring new opportunities for innovation through expanded unlicensed
   - Supporting critical research and development; and
   - Reducing the deficit.

Each of these goals is achievable, if done the right way, and we continue
to work with the House and Senate so that the President can sign
legislation in the near term.  But I do need to add some specific comments
about the draft bill approved by a subcommittee of the House Energy and
Commerce Committee last week.

Having observed close-up how large telecommunications networks are built, I
have serious concerns about the House bill.  Specifically related to public
safety, the bill’s governance model appears to turn a blind eye to the past
years of failure in achieving nationwide public safety communications
interoperability through a patchwork of state networks. If past is
prologue, such an approach is doomed to fail, potentially wasting billions
in taxpayer dollars along the way. Additionally, the bill ignores the
critical role that both unlicensed spectrum and communications research and
development have played and can continue to play in driving innovation and
job growth.  Imagine where we would be today if we did not have the benefit
of all the Wi-Fi systems that were made possible by the use of unlicensed
spectrum.  I greatly appreciate the work that Chairmen Upton and Walden and
their staff have undertaken, and I am hopeful that these issues can be
resolved satisfactorily going forward. NTIA is committed to working with
all parties to make that happen.

*I**nternet Policy   *

Next, let me turn to Internet policy.  This year has been a very active one
for NTIA in the area of Internet governance as well as in privacy policy.
In fact, the Senate Commerce Committee had a hearing this morning on the
new top level domain program that Internet Corporation for Assigned Names
and Numbers (ICANN) will be starting in January.  Our work at NTIA in this
area has focused on how we can preserve and expand the marvelous economic
and job creation engine that the Internet has become.  As we address these
issues, we are guided by two principles.

First is trust. It is imperative for the sustainability and continued
growth of the Internet that we preserve the trust of all actors on the
Internet. For example, if users do not trust that their personal
information is safe on the Internet, they may not use it to its full
potential. If content providers do not trust that their content will be
protected, they may be reluctant to put it online.

Second, as we find ways to address Internet policy challenges, we want to
preserve the flexibility companies need to innovate. Our view at NTIA is
that multistakeholder processes are best suited for striking this balance.
By engaging all interested parties, multistakeholder processes encourage
broader and more creative problem solving, which is essential when markets
and technology are changing as rapidly as they are. They promote speedier,
more flexible decision making than is common under traditional, top-down
regulatory models which can too easily fall prey to rigid procedures,
bureaucracy, and stalemate.

The United States strongly supports the use of a multistakeholder process
as the preferred means of addressing Internet policy issues. We have been
active in promoting the multistakeholder model in the international arena
through our work at ICANN and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD).

But there is a challenge emerging to this model in parts of the world.
Some nations appear to prefer an Internet managed and controlled by
nation-states.  In December 2012, the U.S. will participate in the ITU’s
World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT).  This treaty
negotiation will conduct a review of the International Telecommunication
Regulations (ITRs), the general principles which relate to traditional
international voice telecommunication services.  We expect that some states
will attempt to rewrite the regulation in a manner that would exclude the
contributions of multi-stakeholder organizations and instead provide for
heavy-handed governmental control of the Internet, including provisions for
cybersecurity and granular operational and technical requirements for
private industry. We do not support any of these elements.  It is critical
that we work with the private sector on outreach to countries to promote
the multi-stakeholder model as a credible alternative.  Our work must begin
right away.

In pushing back on these initiatives of other countries to regulate the
Internet through a treaty, we must be vigilant to protect the
multistakeholder process in our country. For example, at ICANN, a
multistakeholder process that ran for six years resulted in the approval
last summer of an expansion of top level domains.  This process involved
global stakeholders from the business community, civil society, registries,
registrars, and governments.  At NTIA, we worked throughout the process to
make sure that ICANN adequately addressed government concerns and we have
also spent significant time the last two years pushing for overall
improvements in ICANN’s accountability and transparency to the global
Internet community.

Nonetheless, we are now seeing parties that did not like the outcome of
that multistakeholder process trying to collaterally attack the outcome and
seek unilateral action by the U.S. government to overturn or delay the
product of a six-year multistakeholder process that engaged folks from all
over the world.  The multistakeholder process does not guarantee that
everyone will be satisfied with the outcome. But it is critical to
preserving the model of Internet governance that has been so successful to
date that all parties respect and work through the process and accept the
outcome once a decision is reached. When parties ask us to overturn the
outcomes of these processes, no matter how well-intentioned the request,
they are providing “ammunition” to other countries who attempt to justify
their unilateral actions to deny their citizens the free flow of
information on the Internet.  This we will not do.  There is too much at
stake here.

But we are sensitive to the concerns being raised by some companies about
the introduction of new gTLDs. Today, Chairman Rockefeller held an
important oversight hearing in the Senate Commerce Committee on the subject
of how ICANN will expand top level domains. We agree with the Chairman’s
concerns over how this program will be implemented and its potential
negative effect if not implemented properly. We will closely monitor the
execution of the program and are committed to working with stakeholders,
including U.S. industry, to mitigate any unintended consequences.

We are putting these principles of trust and multistakeholder process into
practice with our work on privacy. The current privacy policy framework has
come under increasing strain as companies collect more and more personal
data on the Internet, putting at risk the consumer trust that is an
essential foundation of the digital economy.

Last year, when the Commerce Department launched its examination of online
privacy, the public response showed us that both industry and public
interest groups are in broad agreement that consumers need clearer, more
consistent privacy protections in the Internet economy. But we need to
bolster privacy in a manner that continues to ensure the Web remains a
platform for innovation, jobs, and economic growth.

We learned a tremendous amount from the stakeholder input we received
throughout this process, and we are now finalizing a soon-to-be-released
report that sets forth Administration-wide policy.  Let me preview the
framework we will be announcing.  It consists of four pillars.

First, we will set forth a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights that provides
clear protections for consumers and greater certainty for businesses. And
we will ask Congress to enact the Bill of Rights into law. A baseline
consumer data privacy law would increase legal certainty for businesses,
strengthen consumer trust, and support the United States’ consumer data
privacy engagements with our international partners.  A wide array of
stakeholders—from industry and civil society—has voiced support for

Second, NTIA will convene interested parties to develop codes of conduct
based on the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.  This will be an open and
transparent multistakeholder process, and we expect that commitments to
follow codes of conduct will be enforceable under U.S. law.

We can start this work even before Congress enacts the Bill of Rights into
law.  NTIA will work with various constituents to identify specific markets
or business contexts that pose significant consumer privacy issues and are
ripe for codes of conduct.  We will urge all stakeholders who share an
interest in these areas to participate in the efforts that interest them.
Together we will work toward consensus on appropriate, legally enforceable
codes of conduct.

The third pillar of our framework, effective enforcement, is critical to
ensuring that companies are accountable for adhering to codes of conduct
and other privacy commitments.  In the U.S., we will encourage Congress to
provide the FTC and the Attorneys General in our States with authority to
directly enforce the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.

Fourth and finally, we will reaffirm that the United States is committed to
increasing interoperability with the privacy frameworks of our
international partners. The codes can play an important role bridging the
differences in privacy regimes between countries, and we will welcome
international participation.

I expect that the development of these codes will be a major initiative for
NTIA next year.

*Broadband *

Last, let me address our work on expanding broadband access and
availability.  In the past year, we have become one of, if not the, leading
source of public data on broadband access and adoption in America.

Last February we published the National Broadband Map – America’s first
public, searchable nationwide map of broadband Internet availability. We
are updating the map twice a year.  Each update is powered by an extensive,
publicly available dataset – more than 20 million records – that shows
where broadband is available, the technology used to provide the service,
the maximum advertised speeds, and the names of the service providers. It
is the most extensive dataset of its kind. We are also collecting the
locations of community anchor institutions and the broadband services that
they adopt.

One of the key take-aways from the map is that well over 90 percent of
Americans have access to some level of broadband service. This does not
diminish the fact that many communities still need broadband
infrastructure.  Moreover, the map demonstrates that countless community
anchor institutions – such as public safety facilities, hospitals, schools,
and libraries – lack adequate broadband.

We’ve performed additional research on broadband adoption.  Our Digital
Nation report, a survey of 54,000 households which we released last month,
shows that only 68 percent of households subscribe to broadband. So nearly
a third of households –more than 100 million Americans – are cut off from
the Internet at home. And approximately one in five households –20 percent–
do not use the Internet *anywhere*.

This is a troubling statistic in the 21st century economy, when broadband
access and digital literacy skills are needed to compete in the workforce.
For example, about 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies only accept job
applications online. And with approximately 60 percent of working Americans
using the Internet as an integral part of their jobs, broadband access and
digital literacy are paramount to succeeding in the digital economy.

Meanwhile, here is what Americans tell us about why they don’t adopt
broadband: Nearly half of non-adopting households cited a lack of interest
or need as the primary reason. The next most common reasons were the
expense and the lack of an adequate computer.

The point is that there are different reasons why people do not adopt
broadband at home. In some cases, there is a perception that it’s not
needed. In other cases, the reason is affordability or an insufficient
computer. As we often say, there is no “one size fits all” solution to this
issue. We can’t make assumptions that the cause for non-adoption is simply
related to income or availability.

Our findings also underscore that community anchor institutions are
important means of broadband access for those who don’t have broadband at
home but *do* want to go online. Besides the workplace, schools and public
libraries are the main locations where these Americans use broadband.

So the research reaffirms the importance of broadband availability in
anchor institutions and the role of public computer centers. The analysis
also indicates that effective broadband outreach and support should be
targeted to specific populations, and it should demonstrate the relevancy
of broadband.

I’m pleased to say that NTIA is investing in a host of projects nationwide
doing just these things.

Thanks to the Recovery Act, NTIA is investing nearly $4 billion in about
230 projects to expand broadband access and adoption. These projects will
build and upgrade broadband infrastructure, expand and improve public
computer centers, and promote sustainable broadband adoption through
computer training and other approaches. These investments promise to
stimulate economic growth and job creation in both the short and long term.

Already, grantees in NTIA’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, or
BTOP as we call it, have deployed or upgraded more than 29,000 miles of
broadband infrastructure and installed more than 24,000 workstations in
public computer centers. In the last quarter, grantees provided more than
755,000 hours of training to around 220,000 participants.  And grantees
report that their programs have already led to a total of more than 230,000
new broadband subscribers.

The numbers are impressive, but let me give you a few examples of how these
projects are benefiting their communities.

   - I visited Kannapolis, North Carolina, one of the towns that will
   benefit from two infrastructure grants that will reach much of the state,
   especially rural areas. The effort is led by *MCNC*, a nonprofit
   broadband provider that has operated the North Carolina Research and
   Education Network (NCREN) for more than 25 years. Funded by a $104 million
   Recovery Act investment and $42 million in private sector matching funds,
   the project will deploy or upgrade a total of 2,600 miles of
   infrastructure. It will extend broadband to nearly 2,700 community anchor
   institutions, including universities, schools, community colleges,
   libraries, healthcare providers, and public safety facilities. About 1,100
   of those anchors have already benefitted from improved access to the

Before we funded MCNC, its network delivered speeds of 1 gigabit per second
or faster to only 12 out of 100 counties in North Carolina. With the
Recovery Act dollars, MCNC will expand that number to 83 counties. This
will not only improve education and other public services, but it can also
spur additional private sector investment as local Internet providers
utilize the new infrastructure to extend broadband service to homes and
businesses that may otherwise be too costly to reach.

Even while construction is underway, the project is benefiting the state by
creating jobs. Local businesses are serving as vendors, like Hickory-based
CommScope, which is supplying fiber optic cable and other network materials.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the project is how a modern
communications infrastructure can support economic revitalization. For
example, Kannapolis was a textile mill town until 2003, when the mill
closed and displaced thousands of workers. Now, less than a decade later,
it is an emerging biotechnology and life sciences hub, home of the new
North Carolina Research Campus. But the campus needs more bandwidth. In the
past, researchers had to store data on disk drives and drive across the
state to deliver the data to other institutions. The project we are funding
will bring much-needed broadband capacity to the campus, a vital ingredient
in the transformation of this 20th century American mill town to a 21st
century global research center.

   - In June, I attended a ribbon-cutting event to formally kick off
   construction of the One Maryland Broadband Network, which will bring
   broadband access to every one of the state’s 24 counties. Local carriers
   will be able to use the new infrastructure to extend or improve broadband
   in an area covering nearly 2 million homes and 443,000 businesses,
   including rural communities in Western and Southern Maryland and on the
   Eastern Shore. The network will deliver connections of up to 10 gigabits
   per second to more than 1,000 schools, libraries, colleges, police and fire
   stations and government buildings.

Among the community anchors institutions that have hooked up so far are
three fire stations in Baltimore City and Carroll County, an elementary
school in Anne Arundel County, the police department and town hall in
Sykesville, Md., and the State Police Barracks in La Plata, Md.   At the
Police Barracks, the new network makes it possible for officers to download
training videos in just seconds, quickly access criminal databases for
background checks, and monitor traffic cameras in real time. The project
tells us it has already created at least 430 jobs in construction,
engineering and project management.

   - I was in Cleveland in October where One Community’s infrastructure
   project is aptly named “Transforming Northeast Ohio: From Rust Belt to Tech
   Powerhouse.”  The project is laying the groundwork for economic
   revitalization with a new broadband network. They expect to connect up to
   800 community anchor institutions, including public safety and health care
   centers, and schools. Local providers will be able to use the new network
   to extend or upgrade broadband service in an area with over 6,000 anchors,
   two million households, and 200,000 businesses.

   - One Community also has a grant to increase the sustainable adoption of
   broadband service. The project, carried out by One Community and local
   partners in five states, has trained and hired more than 100 people, who
   are helping others in their own communities learn digital literacy skills.
   The project provides customized computer training, low-cost equipment, and
   either free or affordable broadband service for low-income residents. More
   than 19,000 people have already completed the training and more than 13,000
   have subscribed to broadband as a result of the project.

In overseeing these projects, NTIA is focused on ensuring that they are
completed on time, on budget, and deliver the promised benefits to the
communities they will serve. NTIA is taking action early to make sure
taxpayer dollars are not wasted and that projects needing our technical
assistance receive it so they can get back on track.

In 2012, we will focus on accelerating the schedules of our grant
recipients so we can maximize the immediate impact on the economy and
ensure that the projects are completed by their end dates in 2013.  One way
we are doing that is by sharing successful strategies across the grant
portfolio on issues ranging from procuring fiber to streamlining the
environmental review process.


As I close, I want to thank you again for the opportunity to speak. I hope
this is an informative conference for you. This is an exciting time to be
in the telecommunications and Internet policy arena, where our efforts can
improve America’s economic future and the lives of our people.
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