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CONTACT: David Fish
September 17 , 2004
(202) 289-8928
Former FCC Official Lists Broadband Reforms
Dixon Says 1996 Act "Did Not Go Far Enough"

WASHINGTON D.C. - With Congress poised to begin a rewrite of the 1996 Telecommunications Act next year, a former Federal Communications Commission official today praised the Act for helping to usher in "a new era of innovative capabilities." But he called for new reforms, claiming the Act "did not go far enough in eliminating impediments to innovation and investment in technologies such as broadband networks." Among his recommendations: four sets of changes that would likely require restructuring of the FCC itself.

"Communications policy should favor competition, not competitors - meaning we should favor a process that generates real benefits for consumers, rather than merely protecting categories of providers," Progress & Freedom Foundation Senior Fellow Kyle Dixon told a Washington policy conference today. Toward that end, he proposed "fundamental elements of telecommunications reform designed to spur investment and innovation in 'Big Broadband'."

Dixon made his comment during a panel discussion sponsored by the New America Foundation, "Innovators and Incumbents: Can Telecom Reform Bring Big Broadband to Every U.S. Home and Business?" Among his recommendations:

  • A "targeted, market-based approach that regulates substitute services in the same way."
  • "Substantial curtailment of state and local regulatory authority over broadband services."
  • "A prohibition on economic regulation of broadband services, including specific prohibitions on 'sharing', 'open access' and 'net neutrality' mandates."
  • "Major reform of the Universal Service program and associated inter-carrier compensation regimes to reduce the amount of direct and indirect subsidy flows... focus[ing] any remaining subsidies on support of those truly in need... "
Dixon served as Special Counsel for Broadband Policy to FCC Chairman Michael Powell, as well as Deputy Bureau Chief in the FCC's Media Bureau.

The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.



The Progress & Freedom Foundation