tv FCC Chair Tom Wheeler Discusses the Future of Broadband Policy CSPAN January 13, 2017 10:38pm-11:26pm EST
address. the education reporter with the 74million.orgsite talks about the andrew f. versus the supreme court. discusses a recent piece in "national affairs" magazine. whether congress needs a office to help better balance of powers between the executive and legislative branches. join the discussion. tom wheeler gave his final speak as chair as the federal medications committee chair in aspen. he was followed by lisa monaco. this is two hours. the'm director of
medications and society program. we look at the impact of network and information technologies on democratic institutions and values. business,ogether government, and the nonprofit sector. we are very pleased to welcome you today to our, with our speaker. some housekeeping items. i want to welcome our audiences on c-span and the aspen channel on youtube and for those who want to tweet about it, #futurefcc is the hashtag. we are happy to welcome the 31st chairman of the fcc, who was appointed by president obama in 2013 and unanimously confirmed by the senate. he is well-known to the communications world in the past in the cable and wireless
industries and, i think, is the only person selected to both the cable television hall of fame and wireless hall of fame. he is the author of "take untold stories of the civil war." he shepherded many important policies at the federal communications commission over the last four years, including strong net neutrality rules, the first incentive auction in the others, modernize the fcc's universal service apparati. he has had an ongoing relationship with the aspen institute. he spoke at a conference last summer, the report of which will be available on january 19. we have for those here though
cards for mining you that on the 19th, we will be releasing between patient policy agenda for the next administration. we are very proud to announce that our speaker will be the sixth consecutive fcc chairman to come and serve as senior fellow to our program after his chairmanship. so please welcome fcc chairman tom wheeler. [applause] [no audio] consider thei
program, as the chairman said, i'm going be the sixth chairman who has come here to participate in this. i consider myself a participant of charlie's rest home for recovering -- [laughter] mr. wheeler: and i look forward to that experience. what a privilege it has been for three years, two months, and 16 days to be the chairman of the federal communications commission. it has been an exciting time to be chairman as we have watched digital technology remake our world. we want to say one thing that i am sure that everybody sitting
here is already well aware of, but is very worthy of repeating, and that is that the team that i was fortunate enough to work with at the job is the best team ever assembled at that agency. so we actually need to hear it? the best team ever assembled at that agency. and, you know, i may be the guy that delivers the speeches, does things like this, but let's make no mistake about it, this was their effort, their success, and i will always be grateful to that fabulous team.
throughout my tenure, you have heard me talk about how we are living through a historic network of revolution. the power to transform our economy and our daily lives is unprecedented. the fcc is the public's representative of that revolution. we have a responsibility of assuring that innovation and technology advance while at the same time preserving the basic covenant between networks and those who use and rely on those networks. for the past three years, we
have moved through a key stage in the ip revolution. while the nature of how information is delivered has changed from analog to digital, the basic responsibilities of network owners to network users has not changed. we call this relationship the network compact. it is five components -- access, interconnection, public safety, consumer protection, and national security. we are at the core of core of our major activities. to reflect changes in technology, we modernized telephone era programs for the
internet age. the new connect america fund is supporting wired and wireless broadband deployment to millions of previously unserved rural americans. a revitalized erate is delivering the broadband and use learning tools. a new wi-fi program is helping low income americans afford broadband while rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse. we also made sure that new technology was applied to help address the old problems of individuals with disabilities. we have taken a series of world leading actions to repurpose spectrum of broadband and the
exploding demand for wireless connectivity. the auction made 385 megahertz available for broadband while netting a record $41 billion for the treasury. our spectrum frontiers order made the u.s. the first country in the world to open up highband spectrum for 5g networks and applications. and we are nearing completion of the world's first incentive auction. we also worried about the competition and to preserve competition in key markets, we -timeurage the comcast warner and sprint-t-mobile deals, and at the same time we
approved with appropriate safeguards the time warner cable-bright house transaction as well as the at&t-directv merger, which will give americans more competitive options for the high speed broadband while spurring fiber deployment to over 12 million locations. as the agency responsible for america's networks, we made cyber security a primary mission of the commission. we adopted privacy protections that give consumers control over how their isp is used and share their personal data. as charlie mentioned, we have adopted strong neutrality rules to preserve the open internet as a platform for free expression and innovation. the basic concepts thawe were dealing with weren't new.
the idea of an open network goes back as far as the first come first serve traffic management of the telegraph. telephone networks common carrier status was an extension of this concept, and it is warranted by a behavioral heglegacy in a demonstrated exercise of monopoly power. and let's not forget, it was the open network that delivered the early internet and allowed america to go online. america's communication history is one of open networks.
in a similar vein, the idea of privacy of information as it moves over a network is not revolutionary. for decades the telephone users knew that fcc rules protected their information. not just the contents of their call, but the information transmitted to set up the call. thanks to new technology, we found ourselves in the strange situation where the privacy protections of a smart phone's voice call didn't extend to the use of the same device and the same network for accessing the net. and finally, networks have
always been attack vectors. during the civil war, union troops would take up the planks on chain bridge every night for fear that john mosby's confederate rangers would use the road network to steal into the capital. and clearly, we can't pull up the planks on the internet, but we can, must, and have taken collective actions to protect our network security. my service on the president's intelligence advisory board prior to joining the fcc alerted me to the ever growing importance of protecting our critical network infrastructure from cyber intrusions of all kind.
it led to my determination to make cyber matters a leading priority at the fcc. so while our policy agenda was certainly aggressive and ambitious, the fact that we were largely dealing with the same, and the fact is that we were largely dealing with the same regulators. it now falls to a new set of sec, ands, to the new to those who advocate before it and the congress to the determine the road that they want to take from here. we are at a fork in that road.
one path leads forward and the other leads back to relitigating solutions that are demonstrably working. looking forward is an era of isps, operating responsibly at both the edge and core network under light touch regulation accompanied by a referee on the field to throw the flag when necessary. looking backwards takes away existing protections and throws into question isp expansion into edge activities. now, all of the press reports seem to indicate that the new commission will choose an ideologically-based course.
allow me to make the argument for choosing the fork in the road that moves things forward. first -- >> i'm sorry. [laughter] mr. wheeler: you know when siri , does not get it, you are in trouble. [laughter] so, let me make the case for, for choosing the fork in the road that says that we are going to keep moving things forward. first, first, because i believe in the value of history and the historical facts are clear. those who build and operate
networks have both the incentive and the ability to use the power of the network to benefit themselves even if doing so harms their own customers in the greater public interest. now, this is not casting aspersions at the network operators. it is simply stating a historical fact that reflects basic human nature. it is no different than the human impulse that prompted the imposition of speed limits. the question going forward is whether the isps and policymakers will recognize that obeying speed limits helps everyone. the second point in favor of staying the course is that it
certainly appears to be working. the overall goal of the new policies was to promote a thriving broadband echo system, and that is exactly what is happening. in the year after the open internet rules were adopted, venture investment into internet specific businesses was up 35%, because open networks invite innovation. but investment has been strong not just at the edge, but also at the core networks. yesterday, the ceo of at&t reportedly told the president-elect that his company has been the country's leading investor of capital for each of the last five years. this of course includes two
years since the adoption of the open internet rules. the recent report pegged overall investment at $76 billion for 2015, which is an increase from the year that i arrived at the commission. putting that investment in perspective is also important. network construction of efficiencies are going up, and thus costs are going down as the networks are getting more bang for the buck. as at&t's president of network , ination said this,, quote 2000 15-2016, we are going to to deploy about 250% of the capacity that we did in
2013-2014 and we are going to do it for 75% of the cost. this investment makes sense. innovative new products and services have the effect of driving up usage of the internet. and with this increased usage, isp revenue is up. an open internet drives revenue for the networks, thus creating incentive for the networks to invest. network operators also have new opportunities to become edge service providers. in my tenure, we approved at&t become becoming the country's largest video provider and verizon acquired aol.
critical to that expansion is the assurance of network openness and protection of privacy and security so as not to abuse the extreme power that network ownership naturally brings with it. by providing those assurances, our rules actually facilitate network operator's expansion into edge services. but the most compelling reason to keep moving forward on the current course with broadband policy is this. the open internet is currently the law of the land. tampering with those rules means taking away protections that consumers and the online world
enjoy today. what some describe as free market economics cannot simply mean freeing encumbrance of their responsibilities. a hands-off approach to network oversight is more than a shift in direction. it is a decision to remove rights and move backwards. in this regard and in so many others since the election, i have taken refuge in abraham lincoln's words in the first inaugural. quote, while the people retain their virtue and vigilance, no administration can very seriously injure the government
in the short space of four years. now the reassurances of the second part of that statement are predicated on the first part. that the people retain their virtue and vigilance. yes, we must be vigilant. and the first step in such vigilance is to ask those who want to rush to take away existing protections is simple question. where's the fire? what happened since the open internet rules were adopted to justify uprooting that policy?
as i said a moment ago, network investment is up, investment in innovative services is up, and isp revenues and stock prices are at record levels. so where's the fire? other than the desire of a few isps to be free of meaningful oversight, why the sudden rush to undo something that is demonstrably working? vigilance requires the fcc or the congress make the case as to why the american tradition of open networks should be reversed. fortunately, the rules under which the fcc must operate
provides for just such vigilance. contrary to what you might have heard, reversing the open internet rules is not a slam dunk. the effort to undo the open internet will face the high hurdle imposed by the administrative procedure act of the fact-based showing that so much has changed in two short years that reversal is justified. let's remember. the open internet decision came after 10 years that saw vast changes in the technology of the internet as well as the services that it enables. in short, a lot happened leading up to the 2015 open internet decision. it is hard to make a case that the past two years come even close to that revolutionary period.
the recent d.c. circuit decision was a strong and resounding affirmation of the fcc's authority as well as the soundness of the commission's decision based on the record. if there is a reversal of the open internet rule, it will have a high hurdle to vault, to prove to the same court why its 2016 decision was wrong. but you know, it is quite possible that congress is going to be the focus of efforts to take away open networks. congress, of course, does not
bear the administrative procedure requirements that are necessary to justify its decision. it also has the ability to completely redefine just what constitutes net neutrality. and so it is might worthwhile therefore to define for ourselves the key concepts behind that neutrality that truly preserve a fast, fair, and open network. consider it is a matter of truth in packaging. if something is deserving of being called net neutrality, it must be comprehensive. it must be continuing. it must be consistent. so let's look at each of those a second. comprehensive. limiting the definition of net neutrality to blocking,
throttling or paid priorization is an empty promise if it is not accompanied by the authority to comprehensively protect against the power of broadband gatekeepers, not just some of their conduct. what does continuing mean? we do not know how the internet will evolve and how the isps will take advantage of new technology. a general conduct rule which i have analogized to a referee on the field with the ability to throw a flag captures conduct whether it is new or old, blatant or nuanced with ongoing regulatory oversight and the ability to act where necessary
to prevent anti-consumer and anti-competitive practices. what do we mean by consistent? by this i mean a consistent standard so that no one whether an isp, a consumer or provider has any doubt as to the yardstick that we will measure fairness. since the time of the interstate commerce act of 1887, there has been a consistent standard for judging carriers' practices. that being -- are those practices just and reasonable and not unreasonably discriminatory? these concepts have 130 years of jurisprudence behind them.
they have evolved to effectively address the incentives that network operators may otherwise have to exploit their position to the detriment of consumers and competition. so passing legislation or adopting regulation without these key provisions and calling it net neutrality would be false advertising. continuing,e, consistent. those are the three legs of what constitutes true net neutrality. when it comes to action by the fcc, it is important to recall that the d.c. circuit found that the limited rules of the isps
say they will accept, blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization, have their statutory justification in title ii. thus removing title ii also removes these fundamental protections. all of this is important, because the ability of consumers and businesses to connect to and use open broadband networks is essential to the 21st century economy. the delivery of the products and services that define our future requires gatekeeper-free access to networks. so here is what we know about the future.
everything will connect and send signals. and it will be radically different from how we understand the internet today. the amazing changes brought thus far by the internet have fit into two categories -- finding information and transmitting video. it has been a force of change , but not revolutionary. the revolution comes with the next step in the internet. harnessing that conductivity to productive activities. so for instance, i've seen
machine learning artificial intelligence build an aircraft wing at boeing. i've seen augmented reality assist and improve human activities at microsoft. i have seen virtual reality transform information consumption at facebook. i have written in a economist cars at both the ohio state university and that other school of north, the university of michigan. what is significant about these and so many other next generation applications is that they won't happen without network connectivity. they all have developed on the assumption that connectiveity is going to be fast, fair and open.
and today, that assumption is guaranteed by the comprehensive, continuing, and consistent protection of the open internet rules. away atse protections the request of a handful of isps threatens any innovation that requires connectiveness, and with it, they put activity games, job creation, and international competitiveness required for american economic growth. similarly, if everything goes into the cloud, the ability to access the cloud free of gatekeepers is essential.
if isps get to choose which applications and clouds work better than others in terms of access, speed, latency, they will control the cloud future. now we have already seen how at&t and verizon have favored their own video services by zero rating their product while forcing consumers to pay data charges for their competitors. just take that behavior and look at how it would affect other 21st century services. whether it is amazon web services or microsoft du jour or salesforce.com's cloud-based activities. isps free from the open access obligations and behavioral oversight can choke growth and
innovation, or at least demand tribute for passing over the network. and the growth of the internet of things is another area that depends on the open connectivity of those things. if isps can decide arbitrarily which iot device can be connected or favor their own iot activity over there competitors, the bright future of iot dims. no company using the internet is safe absent the kind of common carrier requirements that america has historically expected of its networks. atsc 3.0dcaster's new
is threatened. absence of the open access, it requires a control path. the success could be in the hands of those whose video interests are quite different than those of the broadcasters. overturning the open internet rule would also jeopardize the legal underpinnings of the broadband privacy rules. indeed, the republicans have targeted our recent privacy order for repeal. but in today's interconnected world, the absence of the fcc regulation does not necessarily mean there will be no regulation. rather, it simply creates a
vacuum that will be filled by other rulemakers in other countries. in the absence of fcc privacy rules, and with the recent court case raising serious questions about the ftc's authority to impose privacy requirements on noncommon carrier business of common carriers, in the absence of ftc privacy is rules, u.s. carriers could find themselves unable to qualify for the commerce department's privacy shield for the isp business. the result would be the regulation of american businesses under the privacy rules of the european union. but if you really need proof that the open internet rule is working, look at how it is being
used by its opponents when they operate as edge providers. at&t, in its role as an edge video provider, is assured access to the broadband networks of comcast and charter for its competitive cable-like directv now service, it is proof that the open internet rule is working. one only has to remember the interconnection and the porting debates that hindered the access of over the top video providers pre-open internet rule. to appreciate the importance of the open internet to everyone, even its opponents.
what is most significant and most interesting about this example is that the porting and internet connection problems that existed pre-open internet had been eliminated without heavy-handed regulation. the mere fact that the fcc declared interconnection a title ii activity under the rules, but chose not to regulate, has produced an upswing of interconnection agreements and a downturn on interconnection pricing. this is is a significant because it shows how the open internet order is successful simply by being watchful. ex-ante raten no
regulation. the simple fact that the fcc was on the field, ready to act if necessary, means that the game has been played fairly. access to the high speed broadband network is what the new economy is built on. and it must not be taken away. the vigilance that lincoln spoke of means that we must be alert to name only so-called net neutrality policies and actually retreat from the protections that exist today. the open internet is the most powerful engine for innovation,
economic growth, and job creation in the world today. the opportunities before us are limitless as we choose a path forward, we need to remember how we got here. we got here with smart government, not absent government. we got here with a government that was pro competition, not pro-incumbent. we got here thanks to policies rooted in reality, not in ideology. most important, we got here because the genius of america's inventors and entrepreneurs, and how an open platform allowed them to execute their ideas without having to ask for permission.
together we have made so much progress. the activities of the last three years, from e-rate to lifeline, to rural broadband, to spectrum availability to 5g, from cyber protection to privacy on an open network, all are currently the law of the land. we must not forget that the proposals being floated to change what has been done would take away benefits that americans now enjoy. it is time to keep moving forward. this is not the time to retreat and take things away.
vigilance to protect that which americans now enjoy must be our watch word. finally, let me close with a personal observation. serving as chairman of the fcc has been the greatest professional honor of my life. i am grateful to president obama, for his confidence in nominating me. and again, to the incredible and dedicated staff at the fcc who honored me by allowing me to say i was their colleague.
to the lady sitting in the back of the room, my wife, carol, you remain the wisest and most loving person i have ever known. attributes that were tested by your husband over the last three years as he brought home the tensions of the fcc. but you never wavered. i love you and i thank you for being both supportive and challenging. ladies and gentlemen, thank you. [applause] >> thank you.
thank you, chairman wheeler. just a reminder that we have these two reports coming out, first the one that you have the flyer on, also one on artificial intelligence coming out in a week or so. cominge have joy ito here for a book talk on january 31, so for those who are not aware of that, please come to that. thank you very much. [applause]