Posted June 17th, 2012 by seanm
June 18, 2012
State Bills Threatening Universal Access to Open Internet
California Assembly to hear SB 1161 on Monday June 18th at 3:00pm.
Eureka and Sacramento, CA - Consumer groups, public interest advocates and local government jurisdictions across the nation are raising concerns about industry backed legislation to prohibit States from overseeing, regulating or implementing public policies that will ensure universal access to the open internet. Free Press is organizing actions http://act2.freepress.net/sign/defeat_sb1161/ and a recent report by Cheryl Leanza describes the situation, "States Fight ALEC-Inspired Deregulation of Internet Services." http://www.progressivestates.org/news/dispatch/states-fight-alec-inspire...
On Monday June 18th, national attention will focus on Sacramento, California as the State Assembly Committee on Utilities and Commerce will hear SB 1161, an industry sponsored measure that would prohibit the Public Utilities Commission and all local government jurisdictions in the State from implementing broadband policies. California Broadband Policy Network provides analysis in "Padilla's AT&T backed bill places Californians in jeopardy," here http://californiabroadband.org/blogs/Xavier/padillas-att-backed-bill-pla... . The Senate Committee hearing convened by co-author Committee chair Senator Alex Padilla is featured video here: http://californiabroadband.org/
Access Humboldt (AH) has consistently expressed concerns about the Bill - http://accesshumboldt.net/site/state-legislation-threatens-local-access-....
Sean McLaughlin, executive director of Access Humboldt and a Knight Media Policy Fellow with New America Foundation said, "we remain very concerned that the Public Utilities Commission, along with Counties, Cities, Community Services, Library, Community College, School and other special Districts will be hamstrung by SB 1161, prevented from protecting consumers, and hindered from developing community broadband projects that meet our local needs and interests." Further, he said, "This kind of preemptive anti-regulation moves us in the wrong direction, away from our goal of universal access to an open Internet!"
State and local policies ensuring universal access to an open internet must apply, regardless of whether voice, video and data services are provided by legacy networks or by IP–enabled technologies.
Expressing concerns about SB 1161, Access Humboldt wrote:
"While the Bill strives to be self-limiting and makes hopeful assumptions about the benefits of unfettered industry, it neglects to address three profound and overarching realities:
1. In the future all telephone or voice service will be IP enabled communication service;
2. Federal oversight over IP enabled communication services including Internet access services remains highly uncertain; and,
3. Competition is not sufficient in IP enabled communication services to protect consumers, nor to ensure universal access to an open internet.
SB 1161 removes State expertise and local knowledge from public policy making that is necessary to secure universal access to an open internet. And further, this Bill will impede State and local efforts to develop broadband services for public safety, public education, public health, public works and public media. Clearly, a more thoughtful approach is needed.
If the Bill is adopted as proposed, local community investments to support broadband deployment and adoption will suffer, causing increased costs and reduced benefits from State and Federal universal service programs for remote, rural, low income and other people in our community who are least served.
By prohibiting independent oversight of the State’s expert agency, and discounting knowledge assets of local jurisdictions, SB 1161 will cause direct fiscal harm to schools, libraries, health care providers, tribal and state agencies, public safety, public works, public media and other community anchor institutions."
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If you have any questions or want more information, contact:
Knight Media Policy Fellow, New America Foundation
Executive Director, Access Humboldt
P.O. Box 157, Eureka, CA 95502
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See attachment below for Communications Workers of America (CWA) position statement.
|Stop SB1161 Deregulation of Telecommunications in California Final.pdf||445.15 KB|