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Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov
TTY: 202/418-2555

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).

September 28, 2000


The Telecommunications Act of 1996 charged this Commission with encouraging the deployment of high-speed services while promoting a vibrant, competitive free market. I am glad that in recent years we have seen not only multiple providers of high-speed services, but that there has been competition among different modes of providing such services -- traditional wireline services, wireless services, cable modem services, even satellite services. Our policy has placed a high priority on new investment, competition, voluntary market-based initiatives toward openness, and avoiding multiple conflicting forms of regulation.

Recent court opinions have categorized cable modem service in differing manners, which brings home the need for a national framework for treatment of such services. In addition, after two years of initial development of high-speed Internet services by cable and other providers, the time is right to assess the competitive development of this market. Any policies concerning high-speed access should be decided at the national level, because these issues, like the broadband networks themselves, are national in scope. This inquiry is timely, in light of the court cases, and the experience of the last two years.

I have strongly advocated a policy of regulatory restraint in the cable modem services market. I have been patient in allowing the marketplace time to develop, while monitoring it closely to assess its openness. It is unclear, however, whether a marketplace solution will develop absent some form of intervention. Through this inquiry, we need to determine whether a regulatory response is appropriate to ensure that this exciting new technology develops the open competition and innovation that we cherish in the Internet.

- FCC -