Washington, D.C. -- Yesterday, the New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative (OTI) submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission on two areas vital to the future of the Internet: Broadband Consumer Information and Measurement.
"Scientific research provides ample support for the FCC to craft sound mandates for broadband transparency and data collection," explained Sascha Meinrath, director of the Open Technology Initiative. "The Open Technology Initiative's filing provides a prescriptive agenda detailing the technical infrastructure and disclosures needed to support both competition and innovation and draws upon pre-existing projects that have already proofed out the ideas presented. As OTI's comments make clear, providing consumers and policy-makers with the information they need to make informed decisions is a matter of political will, not technical feasibility."
Currently, consumers have little information to make an informed decision among competing providers. Advertisements have neither the actual speed nor cost and important considerations; such as limitations, termination conditions, or early termination fees. Also troubling is the complete lack of access for researchers and policymakers to fundamental information on the inner workings of the Internet.
To address these concerns OTI provided the Commission with several policy recommendations including:
Clear and standardized disclosure rules across all fixed and mobile broadband services to ensure consumer have access to fundamental information about broadband service offerings.
Require advertisements to provide clear expectations of the service offering including the typical capabilities, not theoretical maximums, and the actual price of the service.
- A focused FCC effort to measure and collect fundamental data on broadband service capabilities and Internet performance and traffic statistics.
"The Internet's success was predicated on openness and transparency," offered Benjamin Lennett, policy analyst with OTI. "Through greater transparency in broadband service offerings and data on broadband service capabilities, performance, and Internet traffic the FCC can promote competition, research, innovation and sound public policy."
To read the full filing, click here.