COMMISSIONER JESSICA ROSENWORCEL
Technology Transitions Presentation (June 13, 2014)
I just returned from Bahrain. It’s a small island nation in the Persian Gulf. Last week it
was the gathering place for more than 165 nations at the Global Regulators Symposium held by
the International Telecommunications Union. We came together to discuss the future of
communications. At every session, in every conversation, and in every bilateral meeting, the
United States has a lot to offer. Our communications markets are dynamic and we have an
impressive history of getting service—getting copper wire—to everyone, no matter who they are,
or where they live. That democratic history of extending the reach of our networks to all is a
justifiable point of national pride.
But our world is changing. The digitization of our networks, our content, our commerce,
and our lives is well underway. The ways we connect, create, educate, entertain, and govern
ourselves will never be the same. If we want to further the potential of the digital age, we need
new communications architecture. But we should not simply discard on the scrap heap what
came before. Because the enduring values in our law that shaped our success in the past can also
shape our success in the future. So as we contemplate big, historic changes in infrastructure, our
work must be informed by the four basic values that have always been at the core of
communications policy—public safety, universal access, competition, and consumer protection.
I appreciate that the Wireline Competition Bureau and the Chairman have made these values the
essential guideposts in the service-based experiments we discuss today. I think they should be at
the core of everything we do.
Now from the lofty to the local, what lies ahead are some test cases in Alabama and
Florida. These are our sandboxes. They are small, contained trials that will let us test the
consequences of our policy choices—and the impact they have on consumers.
I hope we can
learn from these trials, refine our rules, and identify the best way to foster the further deployment
of networks that will create new possibilities for all in the digital age. While the world watches,
our proud history guides us—but our eyes are firmly on the future.
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