NATOA Releases Blueprint for Localism in CommunicationsThese are exciting times. We are in the midst of a technological revolution that is fundamentally changing the communications industry. The convergence of increased computing power and Internet Protocol is transforming traditional services like cable and voice into Internet applications and enabling a revolution in mobile communications. As computing power and storage capacity increase, and become less expensive, the pace of change will likely accelerate. These advances have the potential to lead to increased consumer choice and better, more innovative services across a variety of platforms. They will also help local communities provide better services to their residents in more efficient and cost effective ways.
However, this transition presents serious challenges to the interests of NATOA members and all local communities. As our traditional communications services become applications running over essentially unregulated broadband networks, what will happen to the remaining public interest obligations historically associated with those services? What is the local role in an IP world? What will happen to PEG, consumer protection, ROW management and compensation? These are important questions that we must proactively address today and arrive at solutions that take local interests into account. If we fail to do so we risk allowing powerful forces to shape the future in of IP networks to the detriment of local communities.
With these issues in mind, NATOA has developed our Blueprint for Localism in Communications. This paper articulates a strong local role for communities in an all IP environment. We urge our members to read it and stay engaged and others to become part of the NATOA family so that we can have a stronger voice as the future of IP and communications policy evolves in our legislatures and at the FCC.