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FCC Oks Voluntary Experiments Testing Impact Of Technology Transitions

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Released: January 30, 2014

Federal Communications Commission

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This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

January 30, 2013
Mark Wigfield, 202-418-0253



Washington, D.C

. – The Federal Communications Commission today launched a broad set of
voluntary experiments meant to ensure that the nation’s communications networks continue to
provide the services consumers want and need in this era of historic technological transformations.
Driven by developments in the marketplace, technology transitions in communications networks are
already well underway. They include, for example, the transition from plain old telephone service
delivered over copper lines to feature-rich voice service using Internet Protocols, delivered over
coaxial cable, fiber, or wireless networks.
The FCC’s experiments will focus on how the enduring values underlying operation of today’s
networks can be preserved and enhanced throughout technological change. These values are
 Public safety communications must be available no matter the technology
 All Americans must have access to affordable communications services
 Competition in the marketplace provides choice for consumers and businesses
 Consumer protection is paramount
New technologies can deliver efficient, innovative services to consumers, spark investment, and grow
the economy. But at this time, consumers can revert to legacy services if the newer technologies
don’t meet their needs. When adoption of new technologies reaches critical mass, many providers
may ask the FCC for permission to cease offering those legacy services.
These experiments will gather information in three broad areas:

Service-based experiments

: Providers are invited to submit proposals to initiate tests of
providing IP-based alternatives to existing services in discrete geographic areas or situations.
Proposals are due by Feb. 20, followed by a public comment and reply period ending on
March 31, and final decision on the proposals made at the FCC’s May meeting

Targeted experiments and cooperative research

: These experiments will explore the
impact on specific values, including universal access and competition.

Rural America:

experiments will focus on ways to deliver robust broadband to rural

People with disabilities:

development and funding of interagency research on IP-
based technologies for people with disabilities


Telephone numbering in all-IP world

: a numbering testbed will address concerns
raised about number assignment and databases in an all-IP world, without disrupting
current systems

Data improvement:

o Reform of the FCC’s consumer complaint and inquiry process to collect better data
on how technological change is impacting consumer values
o Intergovernmental collaboration (state, local and Tribal governments) to better
understand consumer impact
o Collection and analysis of data on next-generation 911 systems in coordination with
the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National 911 office and public safety
The data gathered in these experiments will ensure that the ongoing public dialogue about technology
transitions is based on solid facts and data. This discussion will guide the FCC as it makes complex
legal and policy choices that advance and accelerate the technology transitions while ensuring that
consumers and the enduring values are not adversely affected.
Action by the Commission January 30, 2014, by Report and Order, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
and Notice of Inquiry (FCC 14-5). Chairman Wheeler, Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel and
Pai with Commissioner O’Rielly concurring in part. Chairman Wheeler, Commissioners Clyburn,
Rosenworcel, Pai and O’Rielly issuing statements.
Wireline Competition Bureau Staff Contact: Tim Stelzig at 202-418-0942,
News about the Federal Communications Commission can also be found
on the Commission’s web site

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