New US Broadband Internet Plan Scrutinised; Cybersecurity Bill Includes IP 17/03/2010 by Kaitlin Mara for Intellectual Property Watch and William New Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The United States Federal Communications Commission’s newly released plan to expand broadband internet access within the country was well-received from several sides of the digital rights debate, with some questions. Separately, a new cybersecurity bill introduced in the US Congress today includes measures to protect intellectual property rights. The plan, which can be read in full here, was delivered to Congress on 16 March. It finds that while the costs of lacking a broadband connection are only increasing, there is still much to do to ensure that every American who wants access to high speed internet from home can do so, and much more that could be done to harness the power of the internet to improve delivery of key public services, according to an FCC press release. Key suggestions include making 500 megahertz of spectrum newly available for broadband within the next decade and increase competition and transparency in allocation, according to a summary [pdf]. The Motion Picture Association of America praised the FCC for its comments on copyright law, stating its usual position about the need to protect creative content from digital theft. Harold Feld, legal director of Public Knowledge, called the plan “pretty damn good, actually,” and in particular praised the fact that it calls for competition among telecommunications providers (currently much of the population can only choose one or two), recognises privacy and consumer protection “as key elements of competition policy as well as ‘nice stuff,’” and has thought through issues of access to unlicensed spectrum. The Consumer Electronics Association similarly praised the call for competition, and the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative said the plan had the potential to address the US’s shortcomings vis a vis other industrialised nations on the issue of access to and affordability of broadband. But others raised doubts as to the FCC’s authority to carry through on implementing the plan. Art Brodsky, also of Public Knowledge said the plan “took no position on how the competition necessary to improve consumer welfare should develop.” The New America Foundation said that many of the plan’s points rest on existing market policies that have produced the digital divide in the United States. CNet reported today that broadcasters are expected to oppose the reallocation of some of their spectrum that the FCC sees as underutilised. FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said of the plan that while some implementation would be difficult “at last, we begin to walk the broadband walk” with the plan in place [pdf]. Separately, the US Department of Justice hosted on Monday an event “celebrating open government and freedom of information,” where Attorney General Eric Holder delivered remarks about progressing transparency initiatives in the US, such as assuming default openness to Freedom of Information Act requests. And earlier today, the FCC held a panel addressing a technical issues around the creation of a wireless broadband network exclusively devoted to issues of public safety that would be interoperable across the entire country. US Cybersecurity Bill Contains IP Rights Enforcement In another development, Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller, chairman of the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME), a senior member of the committee, introduced legislation to boost the nation’s cybersecurity. The bill contains measures for the protection of intellectual property rights, along with civil liberties and business proprietary information, according to committee release. The cybersecurity bill summary and language are available here. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Kaitlin Mara may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.William New may be reached at email@example.com."New US Broadband Internet Plan Scrutinised; Cybersecurity Bill Includes IP" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.