Parties responding to an FCC request for comments on the formation of a national broadband plan recommended that the agency focus on promoting accessibility to broadband services and investment in infrastructure, as some commenters warned against the imposition of net neutrality regulations that they claim would stifle the investment needed to boost deployment. As of Monday, numerous parties filed comments with the FCC on a notice of inquiry that addresses the development of the national broadband plan, mandated earlier this year by Congress under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, which the FCC is required to submit to Congress by February 2010. Asserting that the FCC’s plan “should acknowledge and continue to promote, the robust facilities-based competition that consumers have come to expect,” the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) said the FCC should first focus on “increasing deployment of broadband networks in rural areas,” then work on “stimulating adoption of high-speed Internet access services, particularly by underserved populations.” NCTA also called on the FCC to “work with other government agencies to eliminate obstacles to the use of broadband for advanced applications.” In a ten-point plan submitted to the FCC, Verizon Communications recommended, among other things, that the agencyestablish a “consumer-choice framework,” encourage innovation, adopt a pro-growth regulatory approach, and pursue reforms to Universal Service Fund regulations that would promote broadband deployment. As AT&T stressed that the FCC’s plan should “foster an environment in which all participants in the Internet ecosystem have the incentive to continue the massive investments required to create more bandwidth,” a coalition of 31 minority and small business organizations that include Council Tree Communications, M2Z Networks, the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council and the Asian American Justice Center urged the removal of market entry barriers that prevent minority-owned and economically-disadvantaged small businesses from offering broadband services. Warning that more regulation will slow investment in broadband, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers told the FCC that the imposition of net neutrality restrictions is unwarranted as the agency already possesses the power to act against bad players.
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Comments on broadband plan emphasize accessibility, investment while warning against net neutrality
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