FCC chairman Julius Genachowski announces formation of 'technology transitions policy task force'

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Washington, D.C. – FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski today announced the formation of an  agency-wide Technology Transitions Policy Task Force under the leadership of Sean Lev, the  Commission's General Counsel, who will serve as Interim Director, and Rebekah Goodheart, Associate  Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau, who will serve as Deputy Director.

Chairman Genachowski said, "The Technology Transitions Policy Task Force will play a critical role in  answering the fundamental policy question for communications in the 21st century: In a broadband world,  how can we best ensure that our nation's communications policies continue to drive a virtuous cycle of  innovation and investment, promote competition, and protect consumers?"

The nation's broadband transition means that communications networks are increasingly migrating from special purpose to general purpose, from circuit-switched to packet-switched, and from copper to fiber and wireless-based networks.

Among other issues, the Task Force will coordinate the Commission's efforts on IP interconnection,  resiliency of 21st century communications networks, business broadband competition, and consumer protection with a particular focus on voice services. The Task Force will also consider recommendations from the Technological Advisory Committee on the PSTN Transition, coordinate with the NARUC Presidential Task Force on Federalism and Telecommunications, and evaluate the feedback from the Commission's pending field hearings on Superstorm Sandy.

The Task Force will conduct a data-driven review and provide recommendations to modernize the Commission's policies in a process that encourages the technological transition, empowers and protects consumers, promotes competition, and ensures network resiliency and reliability.

Chairman Genachowski said, "Technological transitions don't change the basic mission of the FCC. But technology changes can drive changes in markets and competition. And many of the Commission's existing rules draw technology-based distinctions. So the ongoing changes in our nation's communications networks require a hard look at many rules that were written for a different technological
and market landscape."

"We anticipated and addressed many of these issues in the National Broadband Plan, and we've taken game-changing steps to deliver on its vision, including a once-in-a-generation transformation of Universal Service and intercarrier compensation and unprecedented efforts to unleash new spectrum to meet skyrocketing wireless demand. Congress has acted to update our communications laws to keep pace with the broadband transition, including by enacting the landmark Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 [CVAA] which ensures that individuals with disabilities have access to today's communications technologies, and by authorizing the creation of a national interoperable public safety broadband network. These actions are accelerating and spurring investment in 21st century communications networks. But there's still significant work for the Commission to do."

The Task Force will include the Commission's Chief Economist and Chief Technology Officer, as well as representatives from across the agency, including staff from the Wireline, Wireless, Media, Consumer Affairs, and Public Safety Bureaus, as well as the Office of General Counsel and the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis.

-FCC-