Yesterday’s kickoff of the FCC’s Broadband Plan proceedings were broadcast over the Internet in a proprietary video format.
Worse, it was likely converted from a standards-based format to a proprietary format before it was put on the Internet! (The tip-off is that the closed-captioning overlay was already composited in).
Clearly, a proprietary broadband internet would not be, borrowing one Commissioner’s phrase, an “enlightened public policy” for America’s Broadband Plan. The FCC’s notice of inquiry states (emphasis added):
“We also note that the development of equipment and protocol standards is a key element in broadband deployment and seek comment on the appropriate role of the Commission in facilitating the development of such standards.”
So here is a clear, actionable role for the Commission — use standards. Just say no to proprietary formats.
Statements by Commissioners echoed the historic policy importance and high stakes of this proceeding (emphasis added):
“Broadband can be the great enabler that restores America’s economic well-being”…
…. “the most important public policy initiative affecting broadband since the landmark Telecommunications Act of 1996” …
…. “it is critical that our plan be competitively and technologically neutral … our plan must not favor one particular technology or type of provider over another, even inadvertently”
Please do not inadvertently favor turning the open Internet into a proprietary one in the name of broadband policy.