The Past, Present, and Future Impact of Our Networks

By Tom Wheeler
1hroughouL my professlonal llfe l have been lnvolved wlLh Lhe lnLroducLlon of new
Lechnologles. And Lhough my day [ob was Lo chase Lhe fuLure, hlsLory has been an abldlng
hobby. Cne of Lhe ways l have Lrled Lo undersLand whaL lles beyond Lhe nexL hlll ln Lhe
landscape of Lhe communlcaLlons revoluLlon ls Lo sLudy Lhe advenL of slmllar perlods ln Lhe
Cver Lhe lasL several years l have been lnvesLlgaLlng Lhe neLwork revoluLlons of hlsLory. l
called Lhe pro[ecL ºlrom CuLenberg Lo Coogle: 1he PlsLory of Cur luLure." 1he goal was Lo
assemble Lhe work lnLo a book. When ÞresldenL Cbama nomlnaLed me Lo be Chalrman of Lhe
lederal CommunlcaLlons Commlsslon (lCC) Lhe pro[ecL was puL on hold. neverLheless, Lhls
revlew has LaughL me a loL abouL Lhe presenL reallLles of our changlng neLwork envlronmenL.
l've always been a ºneLwork guy." My professlonal career has been lnLlmaLely engaged
wlLh Lhe cable, wlreless, and dlglLal lndusLrles. 8eadlng hlsLory has relnforced Lhe cenLral
lmporLance neLworks play and revealed Lhe common Lhemes ln successlve perlods of neLwork-
drlven change. now l flnd my lCC colleagues and myself ln a poslLlon of boLh responslblllLy and
auLhorlLy over how Lhe publlc ls affecLed by and lnLerfaces wlLh Lhe neLworks LhaL connecL us.
WhaL follows ls an aLLempL Lo synLheslze some of LhaL research - and Lhe sLorles dlscovered
along Lhe way - Lo presenL an hlsLorlcally-lnformed underplnnlng for declslon maklng. 1he
LhoughLs conLalned hereln, of course, are mlne alone.
!"#$%&$' )*+ ),-.

+,- ,..,/-0

Puman belngs, and Lhe clvlllzaLlons Lhey have creaLed, have always been deflned by
neLworks. Looklng back over Lhe long rhyLhms of hlsLory, lL ls posslble Lo observe how each
broad epoch of Lhe human saga has been deflned by Lhe way lLs lnhablLanLs connecL and
communlcaLe. lrom Lhe economlc paLLerns of producLlon and consumpLlon Lo Lhe soclal
paLLerns of everyday llfe, how we connecL has deflned who we are.

lrom Lhe blrLh of clvlllzaLlon unLll Lhe mlddle ages, human belngs were domlnaLed by
Lhe oral LradlLlon and Lhe consLralnLs of anlmal-powered communlcaLlon. ÞrlesLly classes
conLrolled whaL was known and local hlerarchles deflned and conLrolled lndlvldual amblLlon.
CuLenberg's lnnovaLlon ln prlnLlng unleashed an exploslon of lnformaLlon and
communlcaLlon such as Lhe world had never seen. 1he spread of knowledge LhaL resulLed
desLablllzed Lhe world as CuLenberg's conLemporarles knew lL.
1he nexL greaL neLwork revoluLlon was ln Lhe mld-19Lh CenLury. 1he blrLh of Lhe rallroad
acceleraLed communlcaLlon Lo a speed LhaL was lnconcelvable before Lhe perfecLlon of Lhe
sLeam locomoLlve. 1he forces of geography LhaL had prevlously consLralned human enLerprlse
succumbed Lo sLeam rolllng on sLeel.
ConLemporary Lo Lhe rallroad revoluLlon was anoLher equally lmporLanL and
desLablllzlng lnnovaLlon LhaL would furLher exLend humanlLy's reach. llrsL wlLh Lhe Lelegraph
and, Lhen, laLer wlLh Lelephony, lnsLanLaneous communlcaLlon across greaL dlsLances led noL
only Lo Lhe ulLlmaLe collapse of dlsLance buL also enabled Lhe managemenL of large-scale, far-
flung sysLems. 1he modern corporaLlon could noL exlsL wlLhouL lL.

Larly neLworks were bullL around naLure, rlvers, mounLalns, even conLlnenLs shaped Lhe paLLerns of prlmlLlve
culLures, Lhe road neLworks of anclenL emplres, and Lhe coasLal LransporL of early Lraders. 1he neLwork revoluLlons
dlscussed hereln were Lechnology-drlven. Whlle lL ls posslble Lo conslder everyLhlng from a wrlLlng sLylus Lo Lhe
wheel as some form of Lechnology, Lhe concepL hereln ls of Lechnology-based neLworks ‒ /0$0+ Lhose enabled by
mechanlcal (or elecLronlc) capablllLles.
1he same concepL of lnformaLlon as slgnals was harnessed Lo dellver sound and vldeo.
8y reachlng Amerlcans on a polnL-Lo-mulLlpolnL basls broadcasLlng overcame Lhe one-off
lnefflclency of prevlous polnL-Lo-polnL sysLems. ConnecLlng Lhe naLlon's homes, offlces and
auLomoblles, over-Lhe-alr servlces creaLed a naLlonal plaLform for shared Amerlcan
Cver Lhe lasL several decades, Lhe fourLh revoluLlon, dlglLal communlcaLlon, has boLh
conLrlbuLed Lo Lhe slze and scale of organlzaLlons (lncludlng neLwork provlders) as well as
begun Lo re-empower small economlc unlLs Lo Lake on Lhe behemoLhs. Cne of Lhe slgnal
achlevemenLs of Lhls laLesL greaL lnformaLlon revoluLlon - our neLwork revoluLlon - ls how Lhe
resulLs of lLs dlffused conLrol and lncreased auLonomy produce ºlnnovaLlon wlLhouL
lL should come as no surprlse, Lherefore, LhaL as Lhe new dlglLal neLworks of Loday
reshape Lhe legacy of earller neLworks, Lhey upend Lhe comforLable conslsLency lnLo whlch our
socleLy had seLLled.
lL has been suggesLed LhaL we are llvlng Lhrough Lhe greaLesL neLwork revoluLlon ln
hlsLory. Cn Lhls Lhe [ury ls sLlll ouL. 1he reverse Lelescope of hlsLory makes prlor experlences
seem much smaller Lhan Lhey were. Lach of Lhe precedlng changes enabled by prlnL,
LransporLaLlon and elecLronlc communlcaLlon were desLablllzlng and redeflnlng. We should
expecL noLhlng less Loday.
WhaL ls clear abouL our neLwork revoluLlon, however, ls LhaL Lhe new lnformaLlon
neLworks 1'$ Lhe new economy. Whereas earller neLworks $21&3$4 Lhe economlc acLlvlLles of
Lhelr eras, our neLwork revoluLlon 4$5/2$6 vlrLually all aspecLs of Lhe currenL economy. ln Lhe
process, lL places even greaLer lmporLance on Lhe role Congress has glven Lhe lCC Lo proLecL,
ºLhe publlc lnLeresL, convenlence, and necesslLy" of Lhe naLlon's neLworks. We are aL a
crossroads ln Lhe evoluLlon of dlglLal neLworks. 1he lCC musL play Lhe cruclal role of faclllLaLlng
more dynamlc, world-leadlng change Lo ensure LhaL Lhe galns of Lhe lasL several decades are
dwarfed by Lhe wonders of Lhe years Lo come. AL Lhe same Llme, Lhe Commlsslon musL also
safeguard, nurLure and pro[ecL lnLo Lhe fuLure Lhe endurlng clvlc values LhaL neLworks have
hlsLorlcally embodled.

-1%22 ,332)$4 &3 5(% +26 +2$6&%74
PlsLory has LaughL us LhaL Lhe power of Lhe neLwork has never been Lhe neLwork lLself,
buL whaL Lhose connecLlons enable. lL ls Lhe $55$786 of neLworks LhaL redeflne economles and
reshape lndlvldual llves. neLwork Lechnology ls on a self-lmposed paLh of conLlnual
advancemenL and acceleraLlon. Pow Lhe publlc lnLeresL deals wlLh Lhose developmenLs ls
slmllarly a work ln progress. Cnly when LhaL process plays ouL wlll we have Lhe verdlcL as Lo
wheLher ours ls, ln facL, Lhe greaLesL neLwork revoluLlon.
We can be cerLaln of Lhree effecLs of our new neLworks. 1he flrsL ls Lhe end of Lhe
Lyranny of place. AnoLher ls Lhe conLlnual acceleraLlon of Lhe veloclLy aL whlch Lhe lnformaLlon
ls uLlllzed and LransmlLLed. 1he Lhlrd ls a dlrecLlonal reversal from older neLworks, whlch
because Lhelr acLlvlLy was done aL a cenLral polnL, acLed as a cenLrlpeLal force on Lhose uslng
Lhe neLworks, Lo Loday's neLworks LhaL acL as a cenLrlfugal force because Lhelr neLwork
funcLlons are ºaL Lhe edge."

LffecL #1: 1he Lnd of Lhe 1yranny of Þlace
lrom Lhe earllesL days when our ancesLors palnLed on cave walls, Lhe consumpLlon of
lnformaLlon had requlred Lhe user Lo come Lo lL.
unLll Lhe 13
cenLury hard copy lnformaLlon
was a rarlLy, conLrolled by Lhe prlesLly and Lhe powerful. When !ohann CuLenberg plcked Lhe
lock LhaL had kepL lnformaLlon conflned Lhe resulL was Lhe orlglnal lnformaLlon 8evoluLlon. 1he
neLwork of prlnLers LhaL sprung up ln 13
and 16
cenLury Lurope fed Lhe free-flow of
lnformaLlon and ldeas LhaL sLarLed us on Lhe Lrack Lo Loday.

A very few excepLlons relled on sound or slghL Lo move lnformaLlon. urum slgnals, smoke slgnals, or Lhe flashlng
of llghL could all send lnformaLlon over a dlsLance, buL for one reason or anoLher were all consLralned ln Lhelr
ablllLy Lo do so.

Lxample of a prlnLlng press, clrca 1320.

Whlle Lhe prlnLlng revoluLlon enabled wldespread adopLlon of Lhe SclenLlflc MeLhod's
use of hypoLhesls and debaLe as Lhe core mechanlsm of lnLellecLual advancemenL, lLs
lnformaLlon dlsLrlbuLlon was llmlLed by Lhe reallLy LhaL consumpLlon of Lhe maLerlal sLlll
requlred Lhe user Lo come Lo lL. 8ooks were more plenLlful and less expenslve Lhan ever, and
Lhelr lnformaLlon was porLable and perslsLenL, buL lL was sLlll a unldlrecLlonal process leadlng Lo
a commandlng lnLerface polnL. 8ound lnformaLlon may have been porLable, buL only ln pleces.
CollecLlons of lnformaLlon remalned a commandlng presence decreelng Lhe user Lo come Lo lL.
Such a Lyranny of place conLlnued Lo characLerlze Lhe flow of lnformaLlon for Lhe nexL
half mlllennlum. uurlng LhaL perlod mulLlple new lnformaLlon dellvery vehlcles were developed,
all of whlch conLlnued Lo command Lhe user Lo come Lo Lhem ln order Lo en[oy Lhe beneflLs.
ºCo Lo" Lhe book was followed by ºgo Lo" Lhe Lelegraph offlce or Lhe Lelephone, ºgo Lo" Lhe
radlo or Lelevlslon, and even ºgo Lo" a neLwork [ack ln Lhe wall. Whlle porLable devlces such as a
LranslsLor radlo offered Lhe ablllLy Lo recelve pre-selecLed lnformaLlon, Lhey lacked Lhe ablllLy Lo
command a broad specLrum (pun lnLended) of lnformaLlon of Lhe users' cholce.
1oday's neLworks have Lurned Lhe Lyranny of place lnslde-ouL. Wlreless dlsLrlbuLlon of
dlglLal lnformaLlon Lo hand-held compuLlng devlces represenLs Lhe flrsL Llme ln hlsLory LhaL Lhe
96$' commands Lhe lnformaLlon he or she needs. Moblle lnformaLlon reLrleval empowers Lhe
user Lo order Lhe dellvery of whaLever lnformaLlon he or she wanLs Lo Lhe place where lL may
be mosL producLlvely consumed.

Lndlng Lhe Lyranny of place: Leland SLanford drove ln Lhe flnal golden splke on May 10, 1869 Lo [oln Lhe ralls of Lhe
unlLed SLaLes' flrsL 1ransconLlnenLal 8allroad.

LffecL #2: ConLlnually lncreaslng Speed aL whlch lnformaLlon ls 1ransmlLLed and uLlllzed
Accompanylng Lhls reversal ls Lhe speed of Lhe new neLworks. unLll Lhe 19
cenLury Lhe
pace of llfe, lncludlng Lhe speed of lnformaLlon, cenLered on Lhe speed of man and beasL. 1he
speed and sLamlna of anlmal muscle meanL LhaL geographlc dlsLances conLrolled Lhe human
8y overcomlng Lhe llmlLaLlons of muscle power, Lhe sLeam rallroad crashed Lhrough pre-
exlsLlng llmlLs on human acLlvlLy wlLh ever-lncreaslng speed and never-endlng sLamlna. 1he
rallroad was Lhe flrsL hlgh-speed neLwork. 8y compresslng Lhe geographlc dlsLances LhaL had
prevlously lsolaLed economlc acLlvlLy Lhe rallroad enabled Lhe replacemenL of sub-scale
producLlon organlzed around Lhe locaLlon of raw maLerlals wlLh Lhe scope and scale economles
of mass producLlon. AfLer Lhe componenLs of producLlon had been lnexpenslvely LransporLed Lo
a common slLe for fabrlcaLlon aL scale, Lhey could Lhen be redlsLrlbuLed Lo a seL of newly
connecLed markeLs. WheLher a clLy was on Lhe neLwork was crlLlcal Lo Lhls lnflow/ouLflow and
Lhus crlLlcal Lo lLs economlc success.


A palnLlng of Lhe AugusL 28, 1830 race beLween a horse-drawn rallroad car and 1om 1humb, Lhe locomoLlve. 1he
horse won Lhls race, buL Lhe locomoLlve proved lLs vlablllLy.

LffecL #3: uecenLrallzaLlon of Lconomlc and CreaLlve AcLlvlLy
1he modern map of our clLles ls a neLwork effecL reflecLlng Lhe aggregaLlon of masses of
workers aL neLwork-creaLed common polnLs ln order Lo mass produce producLs for a mass
markeL. 1he effecL of Loday's neLwork ls Lo move ln Lhe opposlLe dlrecLlon. Whereas Lhe
neLworks of hlsLory cenLrallzed economlc acLlvlLy, Lhe new neLworks push such acLlvlLy ouLward
Lo enable small-scale yeL lnLerconnecLed and economlcally-efflclenL acLlvlLy on a geographlcally
dlspersed basls.
1he neLworks of Lhe 19
cenLury desLroyed lndlvldual arLlsans ln favor of
lndusLrlal producLlon, Lhe new neLworks are creaLlng a new generaLlon of dlglLal arLlsans.

Whlle physlcal proxlmlLy remalns lmporLanL ln areas such as Slllcon valley, lL ls less Lhe funcLlon of a physlcal
neLwork and more Lhe resulL of an ecosysLem of experLlse, educaLlon, caplLal, and Lhe workforce. 1he new
neLwork, unllke Lhe old, ls noL :$' 6$ a cenLrallzlng force.
And LhaL lnLerconnecLlon moves aL Lhe speed of llghL. When Samuel l. 8. Morse Lapped
ouL ºWhaL haLh Cod wroughL" he began Lhe Lhlrd greaL neLwork revoluLlon: Lhe separaLlon of
lnformaLlon from Lhe physlcal dellvery of lLs ºpackage." 1he early unlLed SLaLes creaLed an
lmpresslve posLal servlce buL Lhe lnformaLlon ln a leLLer could Lravel no fasLer Lhan Lhe leLLer
could be carrled, by fooL, or boaL or horse. 1he rallroad may have been Lhe flrsL hlgh-speed
neLwork, buL lnformaLlon sLlll Lraveled ln Lhe physlcal package of a book, leLLer, or newspaper.

1hls palnLlng deplcLs an amblLlous (and ulLlmaLely unsuccessful) 1863-1867 pro[ecL by WesLern unlon Lo lay
Lelegraph llnes beLween San lranclsco and Moscow.

8y separaLlng lnformaLlon from lLs physlcal manlfesLaLlon Lhe Lelegraph noL only
removed LransporL Llme from Lhe lnformaLlon equaLlon, buL lL also esLabllshed Lhe concepL of
lnformaLlon as elecLronlc slgnals, Lhus sLarLlng down Lhe paLh LhaL led Lo Lhe Lelephone, radlo
and Lelevlslon. ulLlmaLely, Lhe off-and-on doLs and dashes by whlch Lhe Lelegraph conveyed
lnformaLlon echo ln Lhe off-and-on zeroes and ones of Loday's blnary dlglLal code.
Cur revoluLlon ls based upon absLracLlng lnformaLlon lnLo lmpulses, a concepL LhaL
began wlLh Lhe Lelegraph.
lmporLanL new neLworks Look advanLage of Lhls Lhlrd neLwork
revoluLlon, lndeed, ln a real sense, Lhe lCC was creaLed orlglnally Lo oversee Lhe Lhlrd
generaLlon neLworks of Lelephony, broadcasL, and cable, unLll Lhe 1elecommunlcaLlons AcL of
1996 presclenLly looked forward Lo Lhe nexL neLwork revoluLlon.
ln oLher words, Lhe prlnLlng press, rallroad, and Lelegraph were Lhe semlnal Lechnology-
drlven neLwork revoluLlons of hlsLory. 1hey esLabllshed Lhe groundwork LhaL led Lo Loday's
fourLh neLwork revoluLlon of compuLlng devlces LhaL communlcaLe aL hlgh-speed across a
dlverse collecLlon of lnLerconnecLed neLworks. 1he earller neLworks also esLabllshed Lhe 681896
;9" LhaL Lhe new neLworks are now dlsassembllng.

819$ :*4$&%; -29)124 <4 9=&($ +2$6&%74
!ohn Cardner once observed, ºPlsLory doesn'L look llke hlsLory when you're llvlng
Lhrough lL."
We know how Lhe earller neLworks changed Lhe world. We are presenLly llvlng a
new neLwork revoluLlon LhaL promlses a slmllar lmpacL on Lhe hlsLory we leave behlnd.
lor almosL four decades l have been lucky enough Lo be enmeshed ln Lhe evolvlng
lnLerface beLween new neLworks and socleLy. lrom Lhe early days of cable Lelevlslon, Lo Lhe
dlglLal revoluLlon, and Lhen cuLLlng Lhe cord Lo go wlreless, l have been prlvlleged Lo have a
rlngslde seaL as new neLworks redeflned old ways. now, as Chalrman of Lhe lCC, my colleagues
and l have Lhe responslblllLy of belng Lhe publlc's represenLaLlve Lo Lhe ongolng neLwork
revoluLlon. 1o us falls Lhe [ob ÞresldenL lranklln 8oosevelL descrlbed as belng, ºa 1rlbune of Lhe
people, puLLlng lLs englneerlng, accounLlng, and legal resources lnLo Lhe breach for Lhe purpose
of geLLlng Lhe facLs and dolng [usLlce Lo boLh consumers and lnvesLors.."

1he Lerm Lelegraph ls used broadly. 1he concepL of messages by elecLronlc lmpulses can be Lraced as far back as
a 1733 arLlcle ln <7"86 magazlne.
1he acceleraLlon of lnformaLlon dellvery, Lhe end of Lhe Lyranny of place, and Lhe
dlspersal of economlc acLlvlLy ls a Lrolka of neLwork-drlven change LhaL raLLles Lhe foundaLlon
of our commerce and culLure. neverLheless, you can puL me down as an opLlmlsL when lL
comes Lo Lhe effecL Lhe currenL revoluLlon wlll have on Lhe commonweal.
8uL l am an opLlmlsL wlLhouL llluslons. PlsLory Leaches LhaL whlle new neLworks creaLe
greaL opporLunlLles, lL ls only Lhrough LormenL and LumulL LhaL Lhese opporLunlLles become
manlfesL. 1he economlc dlslocaLlon, ldeologlcal confronLaLlon and uncerLalnLy LhaL dog us
Loday repeaL slmllar experlences durlng prevlous perlods of neLwork change.
1he prlnLlng press helped end Lhe uark Ages, sparked Lhe 8eformaLlon, and spread Lhe
8enalssance. 1oday we look aL Lhe 8enalssance as a golden era of lnLellecLual and soclal
advancemenL. 1o Lhose llvlng Lhrough lL, however, lL musL have seemed far from golden. 1he
dlssoluLlon of Lhousands of years of LradlLlon and percelved LruLh LhaL resulLed from Lhe prlnLed
free flow of ldeas produced fear, uncerLalnLy and confllcL. ln one 16
cenLury clerlc's warnlng
we hear Lhe echoes of some of Lhe gnashlng worrles ralsed abouL Lhe changes belng lmposed
Loday. ºWe musL rooL ouL prlnLlng, or prlnLlng wlll rooL us ouL," Lhe vlcar of Croydon

1he rallroad fed Lhe lndusLrlal 8evoluLlon LhaL pulled people from lndependenL, self-
sufflclenL agrarlan llfesLyles lnLo a melLlng poL of workers harnessed Lo power mass producLlon.
Spewlng sooL and sparks as lL cuL Lhrough prevlously prlsLlne flelds and pasLures, pulllng Lhe
younger generaLlon from Lhelr ancesLral rooLs, Lhe sLeam locomoLlve recasL Lhe paLLerns of
cenLurles. Agaln, Lhe changes were noL always welcome. ºWe do noL rlde on Lhe rallroad,"
Penry uavld 1horeau complalned, ºlL rldes on us."

Alongslde Lhe rallroad's rlghLs-of-way were sLrung Lhe wlres of Lhe Lelegraph. Whereas
Lhe rallroad compressed dlsLance, Lhe Lelegraph condensed Llme. 1he facLor of Llme, whlch had
always been a buffer Lo dull Lhe sharp lmpacL of change, became a casualLy of Lhe elecLronlc
neLwork. 1he lnsLlLuLlons of socleLy, bullL around Lhe lmmuLable facL LhaL because lnformaLlon
moved physlcally lL moved slowly, were hlL by a selsmlc shlfL Lo speed.
lnformaLlon speedlng fasLer Lhan Lhe wlnd meanL Lhe hereLofore lmponderable of
weaLher could now be forecasL. news dellvered from afar aL llghLnlng speed changed Lhe
pollLlcal process, forclng naLlons ouL of reglonal lsolaLlon and ln Lo an lnLerconnecLed whole.
LlecLronlc messages coordlnaLed producLlon acLlvlLles, creaLed a new managerlal class, and
enabled Lhe rlse of markeL-conLrolllng corporaLlons. And, as wlLh earller neLwork lnnovaLlons,
Lhere were dlre predlcLlons as Lo Lhe resulL. Medlcal experLs of Lhe perlod warned LhaL Lhe
ºwhlrl of Lhe rallways and Lhe pelLlng of Lelegrams" caused menLal lllness by placlng an
unnaLural burden on Lhe human body.

undersLandlng Lhe hlsLorlcal reacLlons Lo neLwork change, we should noL be surprlsed
by a conLemporary headllne ln =<> ?"41@, º1ech 1yranny Þrovokes 8evolL." ln apocryphal
Lones Lhe arLlcle reporLed, º1echnology was supposed Lo free us and make our llves easler, buL
lL's done Lhe opposlLe. lL's creaLlng havoc ln our llves. Lveryone ls overwhelmed and sLressed

5>>&%$(#*$*24 ?%&@*'2' =; +26 +2$6&%74
lL ls a false assumpLlon LhaL Lhe changes lmposed by our new neLworks should be any
less LumulLuous Lhan Lhelr predecessors. AL Lhe same Llme, however, Lhe new neLworks provlde
an opporLunlLy Lo lmprove on Lhe legacles lefL by Lhose earller neLworks.
Cur healLh care sysLem, for lnsLance, began as Lhe rallroad broughL masses of workers
Lo a cenLral polnL for mass producLlon. Þubllc healLh servlces such as adequaLe supplles of safe
drlnklng waLer and lnsLlLuLlonallzed sanlLaLlon servlces had noL been a prlorlLy ln smaller Lowns
buL became a blg-clLy necesslLy. 1he small Lown doc (lf one was avallable) was a medlcal arLlsan
and [ack of all Lrades who dealL wlLh everyLhlng from a broken fooL Lo a cracked cranlum on a
sub-scale one-off basls. 1he Llde of urbanlzaLlon, however, suddenly broughL scale Lo slckness.
1he soluLlon was Lo apply Lhe prlnclples LhaL had worked for mass producLlon. Þubllc hosplLals
became facLorles for Lhe slck where cenLrallzed servlces permlLLed speclalLy pracLlces Lo be
applled aL scale.
1oday, healLh care has never been beLLer - or more cosLly. As medlcal success permlLs
people Lo llve longer lL also expands Lhe opporLunlLles for healLh problems. And Lhe mosL
expenslve way of LreaLlng Lhose problems ls ln Lhe hosplLal. 1he new neLworks creaLe Lhe
opporLunlLy Lo Lransform medlcal LreaLmenL from an $A :"68 experlence deallng wlLh a
presenLed problem, Lo an $A 128$ experlence LhaL anLlclpaLes Lhe problem and prevenLs or
mlLlgaLes lL - all aL slgnlflcanLly lower cosL. 1hey offer, ln oLher words, a new comblnaLlon: Lhe
blgness of scale economlcs wlLh Lhe personallzaLlon of Lhe lndlvldual deslgn. 1he power of mass
producLlon meeLs Lhe lndlvldual arLlsan.
SlxLy percenL of hearL fallure paLlenLs, for lnsLance, are readmlLLed Lo Lhe hosplLal wlLhln
slx Lo nlne monLhs of Lhelr lnlLlal dlscharge.
1he facLory approach Lo medlclne prescrlbes LhaL
we walL for an occurrence of Lhe problem, Lhen lnsLlLuLlonallze Lhe paLlenLs (aL greaL cosL) unLll
Lhey are well enough Lo be dlscharged. 8ecause of Lhe connecLlvlLy of our new neLworks, lL ls
now posslble Lo geL ln fronL of Lhe problem.
My docLor ls fond of Lalklng abouL how medlclne ls an observaLlonal acLlvlLy, abouL how
Lhe onseL of medlcal problems can be predlcLed by Lhe observaLlon of sLaLlsLlcally slgnlflcanL
daLa lnpuLs. 8ecause our new neLworks are all abouL Lhe collecLlon and use of daLa lnpuLs, Lhey
can be marrled wlLh Lhe lnformaLlonal naLure of medlclne Lo change Lhe healLh care paradlgm
(even as we safeguard paLlenL prlvacy).
8aLher Lhan walLlng for a reoccurrence of new problems Lo re-hosplLallze a cardlac
paLlenL, a wearable wlreless devlce can Lrack key lndlcaLors, consLanLly reporLlng Lhe slLuaLlon
Lo a medlcal professlonal, Lo predlcL and preempL problems. l was recenLly ln a meeLlng of
abouL a dozen people where, unbeknownsL Lo each oLher, Lwo were wearlng such devlces. Cne
person's connecLed wlLh her moblle phone, whlle Lhe oLher's wlLh a wrlsLwaLch LhaL Lhen
connecLed Lo Lhe neLwork. 1hese lndlvlduals were able Lo go abouL Lhelr dally affalrs, carrylng
wlLh Lhem Lhe opporLunlLy of earller deLecLlon LhaL allows for earller LreaLmenL, beLLer
ouLcomes, and lower cosLs.


Lxamples of wearable Lech used Lo Lrack healLh facLors or Lo communlcaLe.
12 | 13

1he mld-19
cenLury facLory-llke approach also shaped Lhe manner ln whlch we educaLe
our young. ÞroducLlon llne Lechnlques were applled Lo learnlng. LducaLlon became a process of
lnpuLLlng Lhe raw maLerlal, movlng lL Lhrough varlous processes, unLll 12 years laLer lL becomes
a flnlshed producL. 1he pedagogy of such mass producLlon became a lecLure followed by
lsolaLed lndlvldual homework ln whlch Lhe sLudenL Lrled Lo apply Lhe concepLs of Lhe lecLure.
1he new neLworks allow for Lhe old pedagoglcal approach Lo be sLood on lLs head. 1he
LradlLlonal model used Lhe Leacher's Llme Lo unlformly broadcasL a unlform lesson Lo a
decldedly non-unlform audlence, Lhen Lhe sLudenL would sLruggle alone Lo apply Lhe lesson Lo
homework. 1he new neLworks enable anoLher approach, Lhe sLudenL waLches Lhe common
lecLure on a connecLed devlce alone and aL hls/her own pace. 1hey can sLop as needed Lo
repeaL someLhlng LhaL wasn'L clearly undersLood. 1hen Lhe sLudenL comes Lo class where Lhe
Leacher can personallze lnsLrucLlon based upon Lhe sLudenL's comprehenslon of Lhe lesson and
where Lhe lrreplaceable sLlmulaLlon of colleglal dlscusslon can be hosLed.
new neLworks, of course, allow Lhls new educaLlon paradlgm Lo operaLe by dellverlng
lessons Lo Lhe sLudenLs' connecLed devlce wherever Lhe sLudenL may be and aL whaLever pace
may be approprlaLe. 1he process also allows Leachers Lo monlLor Lhe sLudenLs' acLlvlLy so as Lo
be able Lo lnLervene as necessary. SLudles by Carnegle Mellon unlverslLy's Cpen Learnlng
lnlLlaLlve have shown LhaL such programs blendlng onllne learnlng wlLh ln-person lnsLrucLlon
can dramaLlcally reduce Lhe Llme requlred Lo learn a sub[ecL whlle greaLly lncreaslng course
compleLlon raLes.

1he new neLworks also allow for a rlcher ln-school experlence. 1he ablllLy of a sLudenL ln
class Lo revlew a lesson on hls or her LableL, or brlng up a vldeo demonsLraLlon of a Loplc belng
dlscussed ls changlng Lhe classroom we knew. My colleague, lCC Commlssloner 8osenworcel,
Lells Lhe sLory of a school she vlslLed ln llorlda where, ºSLudenLs have fully Lraded ln
chalkboards and LexLbooks for vldeo screens and lapLops.a program LhaL blends onllne
learnlng wlLh ln-person lnsLrucLlon."

1hls new educaLlonal opporLunlLy, of course, depends on access Lo Lhe new neLworks'
capablllLles. lf a sLudenL cannoL geL access Lo Lhe lnLerneL aL home Lhe new model falls aparL.
When a newspaper headllnes, º1he Web-ueprlved SLudy aL Mcuonald's" because Lhey can'L
afford Lhe lnLerneL aL home and Lhe publlc llbrary ls closed, buL Lhe burger [olnL has free Web
access, someLhlng ls wrong.

Slmllarly, lf sLudenLs do noL have access Lo a hlgh-speed lnLerneL connecLlon aL school,
Lhelr learnlng experlence ls furLher consLralned. lL should be a concern Lo all of us LhaL a survey
of publlc school Leachers and admlnlsLraLors found LhaL 80 percenL of schools parLlclpaLlng ln
Lhe lCC's e8aLe program reporLed bandwldLh below Lhe level necessary Lo meeL Lhelr
educaLlonal needs.

PealLh care and educaLlon are buL Lwo examples of how our new neLworks can be puL
Lo work Lo solve Lhe legacy lssues of Lhe prevlous neLworks. 1he challenge of energy creaLlon
and consumpLlon along wlLh Lhe accompanylng envlronmenLal lmpacLs, for lnsLance, can also
be confronLed wlLh Lhe appllcaLlon of daLa neLwork funcLlonallLy. uslng LelecommunlcaLlons
neLworks Lo lncrease efflclency of Lhe power neLwork can ºbulld" vlrLual power planLs LhaL
creaLe energy Lhrough neLwork-conLrolled demand managemenL efflclencles.
Lconomlcally, neLworks have always been growLh englnes. Cur new neLworks are no
excepLlon. SlxLy-Lwo percenL of Amerlcan workers rely on Lhe lnLerneL Lo perform Lhelr [obs.

lor mosL of Lhe lasL decade l have been engaged ln Lhe developmenL of new buslnesses wlLh
one Lhlng ln common - Lhe harnesslng of Lhe lnLerneL. ln Lhe process l have waLched an
amazlng LransformaLlon Lake place.
ln Lhe world ln whlch l grew up lnnovaLlon and Lhe [ob creaLlon LhaL resulLed was Lhe
provlnce of corporaLe developmenL cenLers such as 8ell LaboraLorles. 1oday Lhe former
headquarLers of 8ell Labs sLands deserLed. 1he lnnovaLlons lL ploneered have enabled Lhe work
lL accompllshed Lo be decenLrallzed across Lhe landscape, creaLlng [obs, lnvesLmenL, and
lnnovaLlons on a dlsLrlbuLed LemplaLe. never has lL been easler and less expenslve Lo develop
Lechnologlcally-based lnnovaLlons Lhan by explolLlng hlgh-speed connecLlvlLy and neLwork-
based cloud compuLlng.
1he opporLunlLles presenLed by Lhe new neLworks Lo aLLack challenges lefL behlnd by
prevlous neLwork revoluLlons are almosL llmlLless. Cur opporLunlLy ls Lo focus noL only on Lhe
bulldlng of neLworks, buL also on how Lhose neLworks wlll be applled Lo meeL our naLlonal

A24*4$9#)2 $& +2$6&%7 /19#B2
As we go abouL Lhls Lask, Lhe lessons of hlsLory are agaln lnformaLlve. Cne such lesson ls
Lhe blow-back LhaL confronLs Lhe opporLunlLles presenLed by neLwork change. 1he economlc
lncumbenLs LhreaLened by Lhe change ofLen opposed lLs lnnovaLlons. 1he oLher lesson ls LhaL
lnsurgenLs evenLually become lncumbenLs and behave accordlngly.
1he prlnLlng revoluLlon's lnLroducLlon of open lnqulry was a LhreaL Lo Lhe LsLabllshmenL
of Lhe Llme. CovernmenLs and Lhe CaLhollc Church boLh Lrled Lo shuL down or curLall Lhe new
Lechnology LhaL was upseLLlng Lhe esLabllshed order. Þre-prlnLlng auLhorlzaLlon and censorshlp
were lmposed. 8uL Lhe revoluLlon conLlnued. ?eL even Lwo cenLurles afLer CuLenberg's greaL
breakLhrough, Lhe LsLabllshmenL was sLlll flghLlng back. 8ooks, lL was warned, ºwlll make Lhe
followlng cenLurles fall lnLo a sLaLe as barbarous as LhaL of Lhe cenLurles LhaL followed Lhe fall of
Lhe 8oman Lmplre."

1he lron horse's ablllLy Lo span greaL dlsLances aL hlgh speed LhreaLened Lhe llvellhood
of Lhose whose buslness was based on slower reallLles. As one hlsLorlan noLed, ºLvery ploy
known Lo shrewd local lawyers was used Lo keep Lhlngs nlce and cozy for local carLlng
companles, frelghL forwarders, hack drlvers, hoLel and resLauranL owners, local wholesale
merchanLs, and anyone else" for whom Lhe rallroad represenLed a change from Lhe 681896
When legal means falled, vlgllanLes Lore up aL nlghL Lhe Lrack LhaL had been lald durlng
Lhe day. LeglslaLures passed laws resLrlcLlng Lhe ablllLy of Lhe new neLwork Lo compeLe wlLh Lhe
Panglng on my offlce wall aL Lhe lCC ls an 1839 posLer prlnLed by Lhose opposed Lo Lhe
lnLerconnecLlon of Lwo rall llnes. 1he slgn says noLhlng abouL lLs sponsors or Lhelr deslre Lo
proLecL Lhelr buslnesses of haullng people and frelghL beLween Lhe dlsconnecLed llnes or selllng
food and sundrles Lo Lhose ln LranslL. lnsLead, Lhe connecLlon was porLrayed as a dlre LhreaL Lo
publlc safeLy - especlally women and chlldren. ºMC1PL8S LCCk Cu1 lC8 ?Cu8 CPlLu8Ln" Lhe
posLer blares accompanled by an lmage of ladles scurrylng Lo safeLy Lo avold a rampaglng


1839 posLer opposlng lnLerconnecLlon of Þhlladelphla rall llnes.

.%&C "#4(%B2#$ $& "#)(C=2#$
1he hlsLory of Lhe rallroad neLwork also lllusLraLes whaL happens when Lhe lnsurgenL
becomes Lhe markeL-domlnaLlng lncumbenL. 8ecause small agrlculLural communlLles rarely had
more Lhan one rall llne, for lnsLance, LhaL company was able Lo exLracL whaL economlsLs call
ºmonopoly renLs." 8aLes were hlgher Lhan would have been charged ln a compeLlLlve markeL.
1he raLes charged small Lown farmers Lo move Lhelr produce a shorL dlsLance Lo a Lradlng
cenLer, for lnsLance, were ofLen Lwlce Lhe raLe charged for a longer run on a compeLlLlve llne.
ln 1887 pressure from Lhese farmers resulLed ln Lhe creaLlon of Lhe lnLersLaLe
Commerce Commlsslon (lCC). 1he mandaLe of Lhe lCC was Lo apply offseLLlng governmenL
power agalnsL Lhe power of Lhe rallroads so as Lo assure Lhe proLecLlon of Lhe neLwork's users.
lL was Lhe flrsL lndependenL lederal regulaLory agency and Lhe LemplaLe for all LhaL was Lo

1he evoluLlon from lnsurgenL Lo lncumbenL was also Lhe paLh followed by Lhe Lelephone
neLwork. As Lhe 8ell 1elephone Company Lrled Lo bulld upon Lhe Lechnology developed by lLs
namesake, Lhe mlghLy WesLern unlon 1elegraph Company, whlch had also gone lnLo Lhe
Lelephone buslness, explolLed lLs markeL poslLlon Lo block 8ell. 8y Lhe end of 1878 WesLern
unlon had almosL slx Llmes Lhe number of Lelephone subscrlbers as dld 8ell.

1hls 1891 map skeLches ouL Lhe lnlLlal llnes maklng up A1&1's early neLwork. 1he cover of Lhe map sLaLes Lhe
followlng: "300 mlles and reLurn ln 3 mlnuLes. 1he mall ls qulck, Lelegraph ls qulcker, buL Long ulsLance 1elephone
ls lnsLanLaneous and you don'L have Lo walL for an answer."

AL Lhe 8ell baLLlemenLs flghLlng Lhe ever-expandlng Lelegraph/Lelephone colossus sLood
1heodore vall. 8alllng agalnsL Lhe larger company's markeL power, vall was Lhe classlc
lnsurgenL. LvenLually, and amazlngly, however, !onah swallowed Lhe whale by buylng WesLern
unlon's Lelephone asseLs. When vall's markeL poslLlon changed, so dld hls approach.

As presldenL of A1&1, vall lmposed pollcles he had prevlously foughL. º1wo exchange
sysLems ln Lhe same communlLy.cannoL be concelved of as a permancy," he wroLe ln Lhe 1907
annual reporL. ºuupllcaLlon of charges ls a wasLe Lo Lhe user." lL was Lhe concepL of a ºnaLural
monopoly," LhaL for such a caplLal-lnLenslve buslness Lhe only efflclenL soluLlon was a slngle
provlder. 1o furLher Lhls vlslon vall began Lo buy up lndependenL Lelephone companles across
Lhe unlLed SLaLes. Pe leveraged A1&1's markeL power Lo asslsL hls expanslon. lf a company
reslsLed selllng lL would suddenly dlscover dlfflculLy lnLerconnecLlng wlLh A1&1's long dlsLance
ln a 1913 agreemenL wlLh Lhe lederal governmenL, 1heodore vall codlfled Lhe naLural
monopoly concepL ln reLurn for, among oLher Lhlngs, a requlremenL LhaL oLher Lelephone
companles musL be allowed Lo lnLerconnecL wlLh A1&1's long dlsLance neLwork. lL was Lhe
beglnnlng of Lhe regulaLed monopoly LhaL would go on Lo deflne LelecommunlcaLlons servlce
for mosL of Lhe 20

-12 ,@&D@*#B A2B(D9$&%; E&'2D 3&% +2$6&%74
1he neLwork revoluLlon Lhrough whlch we are llvlng has produced a markeLplace far
dlfferenL from LhaL whlch we knew ln Lhe 20
cenLury. As we llve Lhe hlsLory of Lhese changes
we are also llvlng Lhe evoluLlon of Lhe regulaLory model LhaL developed around Lhe reallLles of
Lhe 20
cenLury. 1here are some who suggesL LhaL Lhe new Lechnology should free Lhe new
neLworks from regulaLlon. Whlle Lhe ellmlnaLlon of clrculL-swlLched monopoly markeLs
cerLalnly obvlaLes Lhe need for Lhe old monopoly-based regulaLlon of LhaL Lechnology, one can
also argue LhaL Lhe new neLworks are even more lmporLanL Lo socleLy Lhan were Lhe old ones
and LhaL Lhe publlc has Lhe rlghL Lo be represenLed ln Lhe change equaLlon.
Pow we deal wlLh Lhese lssues has never been more lmporLanL because of one oLher
neLwork effecL. 1he lmporLance of Lhe baslc neLwork has always come from how lL enables
oLher neLworks Lo exlsL. 1he rallroad, for lnsLance, enabled neLworks for Lhe dellvery of parcels
and mall order reLall as well as Lhe refrlgeraLed dellvery of food LhaL subsLanLlally reduced
prlces and puL meaL on Lables. 1he Lelegraph enabled Lhe esLabllshmenL of news neLworks and
flnanclal neLworks. 1hese were subsLanLlal neLwork effecLs, buL Loday's neLworks are even
more crlLlcal ln Lhelr effecLs.
lnformaLlon dellvery neLworks 1'$ Lhe new economy. Cur neLworks have never been
more lnLegral Lo our well-belng. 1he lndusLrlal economy has been replaced by Lhe lnformaLlon
economy LhaL ls predlcaLed on Lhe operaLlon of lnformaLlon neLworks. Lconomlc growLh,
aLLacklng Lhe legacy problems of Lhe old neLworks, and bulldlng on Lhe new opporLunlLles of
hlgh-speed daLa are all dependenL upon Lhe core LelecommunlcaLlons neLworks. lrom healLh
care, Lo educaLlon, Lo Lhe new apps on your moblle devlce, Lhe growLh neLworks of our
economy rely on Lhe performance of core lnformaLlon neLworks.

A vlsuallzaLlon of Lhe early 2003 lnLerneL. noLe LhaL green llnes represenL .com and .org and blue llnes represenL
.neL, .ca, and .us.

-1%22 ?*DD9%4 $& /&CC(#*)9$*&#4 ?&D*);
1he resulL of such neLwork rellance ls whaL makes Lhe work of Lhe lCC so lnLeresLlng
and lmporLanL. Llke Lhe resL of socleLy, Lhe Commlsslon musL deal wlLh legacy lssues as well as
plan for Lhe fuLure. 1he lCC's role musL be lnexLrlcably Lled Lo Lhe dual responslblllLles of
517/3/818/2B Lhe dynamlc Lechnologlcal change LhaL wlll persevere long afLer we are gone, and Lo
:'"8$78/2B and exLendlng forward ln Llme Lhe endurlng clvlc values LhaL successful neLworks
have hlsLorlcally embodled.
1here are Lhree plllars Lo communlcaLlons pollcy LhaL gulde LhaL process: promoLlng
growLh, preservlng Lhe fundamenLal arrangemenLs LhaL l call Lhe ºneLwork CompacL," and
safeguardlng Lhe broader values hlsLorlcally assoclaLed wlLh communlcaLlons pollcy.

Þlllar #1: ÞromoLlng Lconomlc CrowLh and naLlonal Leadershlp
1he flrsL ls LhaL pollcy should promoLe economlc growLh and naLlonal leadershlp. A
semlnal legacy lssue ls LhaL our currenL neLworks each grew up ln dlfferenL envlronmenLs.
1hose dlfferenL hlsLorles affecL how Lhese neLworks plug lnLo Lhe new fuLure, lncludlng Lhe role
of governmenL. 1he wlred neLworks - wheLher Lelephone companles or cable companles -
grew ouL of 20
cenLury monopolles. 1yplcally, Lhere was only one Lelephone company and one
cable company ln a Lown. ConLrasL LhaL wlLh how from Lhe sLarL Lhere have been mulLlple
wlreless neLworks. 1he CommunlcaLlons AcL's pollcy goal for all neLworks ls Lo ensure
reasonably prlced, world-class servlces for all Amerlcans. 8ecause compeLlLlve markeLs are
more nlmble Lhan Lhe regulaLory process, Lhe goal should be Lo ask how compeLlLlon can besL
serve Lhe publlc - and whaL, lf any, acLlon (lncludlng governmenLal acLlon) ls needed Lo
preserve Lhe fuLure of neLwork compeLlLlon ln wlred neLworks or wlreless neLworks.
ln a compeLlLlve markeL Lhe speed, prlce, capaclLy, quallLy and cholce of neLwork
servlces should show consLanL lmprovemenL. Þollcles LhaL encourage new lnvesLmenL,
compeLlLlve offerlngs and proLecL markeLs from unwarranLed consolldaLlon also lncrease Lhe
ºhome fleld advanLage" for Amerlcan companles. Cne of Amerlca's hlsLorlcal advanLages ln Lhe
world economy has been a large lnLernal markeL. Such an advanLage was Lhe bedrock of
Amerlcan leadershlp ln Lhe lndusLrlal era and musL noL be losL ln Lhe lnformaLlon era. 1he
quallLy and scale of our counLry's Lelecom neLworks gave us Lhe pole poslLlon ln Lhe
lnformaLlon economy. MalnLalnlng LhaL compeLlLlve advanLage ls a naLlonal prlorlLy. 1he
lnLerneL began ln Lhe u.S. because governmenL encouraged lL and our neLworks permlLLed lL,
squanderlng LhaL advanLage would be a naLlonal calamlLy.

Þlllar #2: CuaranLeelng Lhe neLwork CompacL
8eyond such sLrucLural lssues ls Lhe baslc relaLlonshlp beLween neLworks and Lhose Lhey
serve. 1he Lechnology LhaL drlves Lhe new neLworks may have changed Lhelr deslgn and
operaLlon, buL Lhe essenLlal componenLs of Lhe relaLlonshlp beLween Lhe neLwork and lLs users
has noL changed.
1he second pollcy plllar, Lherefore, ls Lhe neLwork CompacL beLween Lhose who provlde
Lhe paLhways and Lhose who use Lhem. 1hls clvll bond beLween neLworks and users has always
had Lhree componenLs: access, lnLerconnecLlon, and Lhe encouragemenL and enablemenL of
Lhe publlc-purpose beneflLs of our neLworks (lncludlng publlc safeLy and naLlonal securlLy).
1he lnablllLy Lo access a neLwork ls llke Lhe proverblal Lree falllng ln Lhe foresL. lf you
can'L access neLworks, Lhey mlghL as well noL exlsL. 1here are several manlfesLaLlons of neLwork
access, all of whlch are Loplcs of Lhe CommunlcaLlons AcL. Cne componenL of access ls unlversal
servlce. lf hlgh-speed lnLerneL connecLlons have noL been bullL Lo an area or are denled Lo
lndlvlduals because of elLher Lhelr lndlvldual economlc reallLles or Lhe pracLlces of Lhe provlder,
Lhen access has been effecLlvely denled. lor example, rural communlLles LhaL don'L have access
Lo our new neLworks cannoL fully parLlclpaLe ln our economy and our culLure. Slmllarly, lf
someone has a deslre Lo use Lhe neLwork buL ls LhwarLed by unreasonable neLwork pracLlces,
Lhen access has been denled. And lf when uslng a neLwork baslc consumer rlghLs and Lhe rlghLs
of people wlLh dlsablllLles are vlolaLed, Lhen Lhe rlghL of access has also been vlolaLed.
lnLerconnecLlon ls, of course, Lled llngulsLlcally Lo Lhe ºlnLerneL", whlch ls shorL for Lhe
orlglnal name ºlnLerneLworklng." 1he lnLerneL ls Lhe sLlLchlng LogeLher of ofLen dlsparaLe
neLworks Lhrough Lhe use of a common proLocol (1CÞ/lÞ). 1he lnLerneL ls noL a neLwork, :$' 6$+
buL a collecLlon of neLworks harnessed Lo a common purpose. As such, Lhe value of Lhe lnLerneL
has always been lLs ºlnLer" - as ln Lhe *#$2%connecLlon and *#$2%operablllLy of Lhese dlsparaLe
neLworks. As a collecLlon of neLworks over whlch lnformaLlon packeLs Lravel ln seemlngly
random paLhs, Lhe lnLerneL ls noL llke Lhe Lelephone neLwork's dedlcaLed clrculLs. 1wenLleLh
cenLury Lelephone regulaLlon focused on deallng wlLh Lhe effecLs of Lhe swlLched clrculL
monopoly. 1elecommunlcaLlons overslghL Loday should focus on encouraglng and proLecLlng
Lhe unlque capablllLles of Lhe componenLs of Lhe lnLerneL. 1he Lelephone neLwork creaLed an
ldenLlflable, slngular, end-Lo-end paLh. 1he lnLerneL ls far dlfferenL, lL ls a collecLlon, noL a Lhlng.
As such Lhe lnLerconnecLlon of Lhe parLs of Lhe collecLlve we call Lhe lnLerneL ls a 6/2$ ;91 2"20
We musL be clear. º8egulaLlng Lhe lnLerneL" ls a non-sLarLer. WhaL Lhe lnLerneL does ls
an acLlvlLy ln whlch pollcy makers should noL be lnvolved (oLher Lhan assurlng overrldlng
purposes such as Lhe ablllLy Lo compleLe 911 calls or Lhe ban of chlld pornography). 8egulaLlng
lnLerneL access ls a dlfferenL maLLer. Assurlng Lhe lnLerneL exlsLs as a collecLlon of open,
lnLerconnecLed faclllLles ls an approprlaLe acLlvlLy for Lhe Þeople's represenLaLlves.
1he flnal componenL of Lhe neLwork CompacL ls Lhe responslblllLy Lo proLecL naLlonal
securlLy and publlc safeLy. 1he packeL-swlLchlng Lechnology of Lhe lnLerneL was developed Lo
enhance u.S. naLlonal securlLy by maklng lL dlfflculL for an enemy Lo desLroy Lhe ablllLy of Lhe
unlLed SLaLes Lo order a reLallaLory sLrlke.
1oday, Lhe Lechnology deslgned Lo enhance
naLlonal securlLy has become Lhe paLhway by whlch Lhose who would do us lll - ranglng from
crlmlnal gangs Lo sLaLe acLors - can access Lhe very essence of our economlc, lndlvldual, and
mlllLary well-belng. Cur neLworks musL be secure. AL Lhe same Llme, our neLworks musL
conLlnue Lo be Lhe safeLy backbone durlng lndlvldual or mass emergencles. 1he ablllLy Lo

lL ls an urban legend LhaL Lhe lnLerneL and lLs predecessor, A8ÞAnL1, were developed as a means by whlch
communlcaLlons could survlve a nuclear aLLack. lL ls facLual, however, LhaL Þaul 8aran developed Lhe concepL of
packeL swlLchlng (upon whlch Lhe lnLerneL relles) whlle worklng aL 8Anu CorporaLlon on a u.S. CovernmenL
conLracL Lo develop a means Lo make neLworks capable of survlvlng a flrsL sLrlke.
summon emergency help, Lo coordlnaLe emergency response, and Lo do so vla a neLwork LhaL ls
as secure as posslble from cyber-aLLacks musL be unquesLlonable.

Þlllar #3: Lnabllng Lhe Þubllc Þurpose 8eneflLs of neLworks
1he Lhlrd pollcy plllar ls Lhe encouragemenL and enablemenL of Lhe publlc purpose
beneflLs of our neLworks. 8roadband for Lhe sake of broadband ls an empLy goal. As we have
seen, Lhe lmporLance of neLworks ls noL Lhe Lechnology lLself, buL whaL Lhe Lechnology enables.
CuL of Lhe flrsL Lwo pollcy plllars comes an accesslble, usable neLwork. 1he Lhlrd plllar's purpose
ls Lo apply LhaL for Lhe dellvery of publlc beneflLs. lncluded ln such a llsL of publlc beneflLs musL
be Lhe provlslon of Lhe Lools necessary for a 21
cenLury educaLlon, access Lo Lhe beneflLs of
Lhe new neLworks by lndlvlduals wlLh dlsablllLles, and Lhe malnLenance of dlverslLy, locallsm,
and free speech. As hlsLory has LaughL, Lhe lmporLance of neLworks ls noL whaL Lhey are, buL
whaL Lhey enable.
1he CommunlcaLlons AcL ls qulLe speclflc LhaL Lhe role of Lhe lCC ls Lo proLecL ºLhe
publlc lnLeresL, convenlence and necesslLy." 1hls mandaLe Lraces Lo Lhe creaLlon of Lhe lederal
8adlo Commlsslon ln 1927, was lncorporaLed lnLo Lhe CommunlcaLlons AcL of 1934, and was
reafflrmed by Congress ln 1996. lor almosL 90 years Lhls lnsLrucLlon has been Lhe alpha and
omega of Lhe governmenL's responslblllLy and auLhorlLy. As Lechnologles have changed and
markeLs have evolved lL has remalned lnvlolaLe. 1he challenge of Lhe lCC Loday ls Lhe dellvery
on Lhls mandaLe - whlch conLlnues ln law and musL conLlnue ln pracLlce - ln a manner LhaL
supporLs Lhls Lhlrd plllar, enabllng Lhe publlc purpose beneflLs of our neLworks.


Lugene CcLave Sykes (seaLed boLLom lefL) served as Lhe flrsL Chalrman of Lhe lCC from 1934-1933.

-12 A2D9$*&#41*> =2$622# /&C>2$*$*&# 9#' A2B(D9$*&#
LeL's begln wlLh Lhe facL LhaL a dynamlc markeL deserves dynamlc declslon maklng. lL
Look Lhe lCC 13 years afLer lLs 1968 declslon Lo dusL off a 10-year old peLlLlon for moblle
Lelephony specLrum before Lhe lmplemenLaLlon of Lhe flrsL cellular servlce ln Chlcago. uurlng
LhaL Llme Amerlcans waLched as counLrles around Lhe world rolled ouL moblle servlces Lo Lhelr
clLlzens. noL only was Lhe process slow, buL also Lhe Commlsslon had a ºwe know besL" aLLlLude
LhaL was exempllfled by Commlssloner (laLer Chalrman) 8oberL L. Lee's warnlng LhaL people
calllng each oLher on cellphones was ºfrlvolously uslng specLrum."

Powever slow and deblllLaLlng Lhe lCC's declslon maklng on cellular servlce was, lL was
noL [usL Lhe harblnger of Lhe unLeLhered era, buL also of Lhe compeLlLlve era. When lL flnally goL
around Lo allocaLlng specLrum, Lhe governmenL goL lL rlghL, Lhere would be Lwo compeLlLors ln
each geographlc area - and more over Llme. ln an era when Lhere was 1he 1elephone
Company, Lhe lCC broke wlLh precedenL and creaLed a compeLlLlve wlreless markeLplace. 1hlrLy
years laLer, Lhe regulaLory mlsslon of Lhe lCC conLlnues Lo be lnformed by Lhose waLershed
precedenLs: delay ls Lhe enemy of lnnovaLlon, and compeLlLlon ls Lhe llfeblood (or 6/2$ ;91 2"2)
of growLh and lnnovaLlon.
1hese lessons manlfesL Lhemselves ln a few regulaLory concepLs.
1here should be an lnverse relaLlonshlp beLween compeLlLlon and governmenL acLlon.
1he more Lhere ls of Lhe former, Lhe less Lhere need be of Lhe laLLer. 1he old monopoly model
began wlLh Lhe assumpLlon LhaL LelecommunlcaLlons was a ºnaLural monopoly" sancLloned by
Lhe governmenL and overseen ln greaL deLall by LhaL governmenL. When Lhere ls effecLlve
compeLlLlon Lhere ls less need for Lhe governmenL Lo subsLlLuLe for lL.
vlable compeLlLlon among neLworks ls essenLlal, and Lhe neLworks musL remaln
compeLlLlve. CompeLlLlon musL be encouraged, faclllLaLed, and where presenL proLecLed. 1he
response Lo Lhose who complaln abouL ºregulaLory burden" ls Lhe embrace of effecLlve
?eL, workable compeLlLlon someLlmes ls noL aLLalnable, and even where lL ls
LheoreLlcally posslble, lL ls noL Lhe mosL naLural of economlc acLs ln Lhe markeLplace. CaplLal
markeLs and lnvesLors worry LhaL hlgher proflLs do noL always come from Lhe prlce dlsclpllne of
rlgorous compeLlLlon. ApproprlaLely celebraLed for lLs beneflLs, economlc forces noneLheless
naLurally connlve Lo llmlL compeLlLlon. Cver Lhe years l have repeaLedly heard buslness leaders
commenL, ºWe welcome compeLlLlon." 1hey are slncere ln Lhese sLaLemenLs, buL Lhere ls a
dlfference beLween celebraLlng Lhe concepL of compeLlLlon and aggresslvely seeklng lLs
lmplemenLaLlon. 1he real world buslness envlronmenL lnherenLly aLLracLs anLl-compeLlLlve
anLlbodles seeklng Lo lmmunlze markeLs from lLs effecLs.
1he role of Lhe lCC ls Lo boLh proLecL and sLlmulaLe compeLlLlon ln order Lo provlde
consumers access Lo world class neLworks on reasonable Lerms. lf Lhe goal of Lhe provlders of
LelecommunlcaLlons servlces ls Lo avold regulaLlon, Lhen Lhe paLh Lo LhaL end ls clear: effecLlve
compeLlLlon ln Lhe presenL and an effecLlve paLh Lo compeLlLlon ln Lhe fuLure. Where markeLs
fall or are LhreaLened, Lhe lCC has Lhe responslblllLy Lo provlde redress.

-12 A&D2 &3 E(D$*F0$9721&D'2% ?%&)24424
ln a world of fasL-paced Lechnologlcal lnnovaLlon Lhere ls also a leglLlmaLe reason Lo
lnvesLlgaLe wheLher Lhe process LhaL faclllLaLes such rapld lnnovaLlon can be applled Lo Lhe
process of governmenL. Cne of Lhese models ls Lhe use of mulLl-sLakeholder coordlnaLlon LhaL
brlngs LogeLher all Lhe affecLed players for Lhe purpose of developlng a common soluLlon and
Lhen enforces lLs lmplemenLaLlon. AnoLher ls a slmple precepL: successful buslnesses learn
conLlnuously, so musL governmenL. 1he mulLl-sLakeholder approach wlLh lLs eLhlc of lncluslvlLy
has many aLLracLlve feaLures and poLenLlal beneflLs, buL Lhey musL be produced efflclenLly -
LhaL ls, qulckly - ln Lhe conLexL of Lhe rapld change ln whlch we flnd ourselves.
Where Lhe mulLl-sLakeholder model exlsLs, speed, learnlng, and flexlblllLy should be
rewarded where lL serves Lhe ºpubllc lnLeresL, convenlence and necesslLy," as a valuable
addlLlon Lo Lhe Commlsslon's Lools. 1he lCC can ldenLlfy speclflc goals and work wlLh Lhe
sLakeholders Lo develop a meanlngful process. 1hls should noL be confused, however, wlLh a
º8egulaLlon lree Zone." 1he lCC can ldenLlfy Lhe lssues LhaL lend Lhemselves Lo mulLl-
sLakeholder soluLlons wlLhln Lhe agency's responslblllLy, provlde Lhe convenlng funcLlon, and
coordlnaLe Lhe process. MosL lmporLanLly, however, Lhe resulL musL be more Lhan words on
paper. ºlf you wlll, we won'L" ls a good regulaLory phllosophy for Lhe era of fasL-paced
Lechnologlcal lnnovaLlon. Powever, lL only works when accompanled by serlous overslghL and
an lron-clad corollary: º8uL lf you don'L, we shall."
1he lCC recenLly had an experlence wlLh [usL how volunLary sLandards can be lgnored.
1he neLwork CompacL of provldlng for Lhe publlc's safeLy was vlolaLed when Lhe self-regulaLlon
assoclaLed wlLh Lhe provlslon of backup 911 servlces was lgnored by some companles, only Lo
be exposed durlng an emergency. A wlse man once LaughL me Lo ºlnspecL whaL you expecL."
1he regulaLory agency should encourage mulLl-sLakeholder soluLlons Lo neLwork responslblllLles
whlch lnclude sLrong overslghL Lo assure Lhe dellvery on Lhe promlses and a rapld regulaLory
response lf Lhe promlses are noL fulfllled.

-12 +22' 3&% ,G>2'*$*&(4H .9)$FI942' ?&D*);C97*#B
A slmllar demand for dlspaLch should apply Lo Lhe agency's regulaLory acLlvlLles. 1he
regulaLory processes of Lhe lCC have been crlLlclzed by some as belng Loo opaque and
cumbersome. AL Lhe same Llme, however, Lhls ls Lhe agency LhaL moved expedlLlously afLer
belng glven specLrum aucLlon auLhorlLy ln 1993 and wlLh slmllar dlspaLch Lo meeL all Lhe
deadllnes ln Lhe lmplemenLaLlon of Lhe 1996 1elecommunlcaLlons AcL. lnvesLlgaLlng how Lhe
agency can operaLe qulckly and smooLhly under Lhe procedural requlremenLs of Lhe
AdmlnlsLraLlve Þrocedure AcL (AÞA) should be a prlorlLy.
Cne key componenL of Lhe lCC's admlnlsLraLlve process ls Lo focus llke a laser on a facL-
based, daLa-drlven process. 1he goal of Lhe agency's rulemaklngs should be Lo begln wlLh a
rebuLLable presumpLlon and lnvlLe submlsslon for Lhe record of daLa LhaL elLher supporLs or
refuLes Lhe proposlLlon. lL ls a slmple, yeL powerful concepL LhaL should be Lhe lCC's norLh SLar,
facLs evldenced by supporLlng daLa.

* * *

1he neLwork revoluLlons of hlsLory have led us Lo our momenL of hlsLory, a hlnge
momenL when Lhe deflnlLlve acLlvlLy of how we connecL ls belng redeslgned. ln Lhe comlng
monLhs we wlll lay ouL ln greaLer granularlLy how Lhls hlsLory and Lhese prlnclples apply Lo Lhe
responslblllLles of Lhe lCC. 1he hlsLory of oLher such momenLs when neLworks redeflned Lhe
human experlence Leaches us LhaL whlle such perlods are full of LumulL, Lhey are even more full
of opporLunlLy. 1o our generaLlon has been passed Lhe prlvllege of parLlclpaLlng ln an hlsLorlc
momenL. 1o Lhose of us charged wlLh belng Lhe publlc's represenLaLlve Lo Lhe revoluLlon falls
Lhe responslblllLy Lo malnLaln lncenLlves Lo expand and garner Lhe value of Lhe presenL and
fuLure elecLronlc neLworks whlle proLecLlng Lhe endurlng values neLworks provlde Lhe people
Lhey serve.
lronL cover lmages (Clockwlse from Lop lefL):
• º!ohannes CuLenberg," 1300s, Þu-1923, reLrleved aL
• Carl 8akeman, u.S. ueparLmenL of 1ransporLaLlon, º1830 - 1he lron Porse Wlns," Þu-uSCov-uC1,
reLrleved aL hLLp://
• nASA, ºCÞS SaLelllLe nASA arL-llf," Þu-uSCov-nASA, reLrleved aL
• ºMorse 1elegraph key" by Carl Malamud ls llcensed under CC 8? 2.0

ºÞress1320," 1320, Þu-1923, reLrleved aL hLLp://Þress1320.png
ArchlLecL of Lhe CaplLol, ºColden Splke," 1993-1994, Þu-uSCov-ÞC1uS, reLrleved aL
Carl 8akeman, u.S. ueparLmenL of 1ransporLaLlon, º1830 - 1he lron Porse Wlns," Þu-uSCov-uC1, reLrleved aL
!ohn ClayLon WhlLe, ºColllns Cverland 1elegraph," Þu-1923, reLrleved aL
!ohn Cardner, CuoLed ln 8hoda 1homas 1rlpp, ?C$ D28$'218/"213 ?C$619'96 "5 E9"818/"26 (1970), p.280
lranklln u. 8oosevelL, 1he ºÞorLland Speech," SepLember 21, 1932, hLLp://
1he speech was ln Lhe conLexL of lu8's experlence wlLh a sLaLe Þubllc Servlce Commlsslon.
CerLrude 8urford 8awllngs, ?C$ <8"'@ "5 F""G6+ u. AppleLon and Company, 1910
Penry uavld 1horeau, H134$2+ uover ÞubllcaLlons, p. 60
AlbuLL Cllffors, ºnervous ulseases and Modern Llfe," I"28$%:"'1'@ J$#/$K+ 1893. See also hLLp://[ama.ama-
Ldward lwaLa, º1ech's 1yranny Þrovokes 8evolL," =<> ?"41@+ AugusL 2, 2000
!uan M. Aranda, !r., eL al, ºCurrenL 1rends ln PearL lallure 8eadmlsslon 8aLes: Analysls of Medlcare uaLa," 32
I3/2/713 71'4/"3"B@ 47, 47 (2009), hLLp://ÞulS1A81, clLed
ln !18/"213 F'"14&124 L312+ p. 201
ºWhlLe llLblL Zlp" by SLeven Walllng ls llcensed under CC 8?-SA 3.0
ºÞebble waLch emall 1" by Þebble 1echnology ls llcensed under CC 8?-SA 1.0
Marsha LoveLL, eL al, ?C$ M:$2 N$1'2/2B D2/8/18/#$O P$169'/2B 8C$ Q55$78/#$2$66 "5 8C$ MND <818/68/76 I"9'6$ /2
>77$3$'18/2B <894$28 3$1'2/2B+ !. lnLeracL. Medla ln Lduc., May 2008, avallable aL
hLLp://[[lme-2008-14.pdf, clLed ln !18/"213 F'"14&124 L312+ p.227
Pon. !esslca 8osenworcel, WashlngLon LducaLlon 1echnology Þollcy SummlL, Aprll 11, 2013,
AnLon 1rolanovskl, º1he Web-ueprlved SLudy aL Mcuonald's," ?C$ H133 <8'$$8 R"9'213, !anuary 28, 2013,
LLAu Commlsslon, ºPow do we ensure every sLudenL and educaLor has hlgh-speed connecLlvlLy, aL school and aL
home?" hLLp://
Mary Madden and Sldney !ones, Þew lnLerneL & Amerlcan Llfe Þro[ecL, ºneLworked Workers, 3 (2008), clLed ln
!18/"213 F'"14&124 L312+ p. 263
Ann 8lalr, º8eadlng SLraLegles for Coplng wlLh lnformaLlon Cverload ca 1330-1700," ?C$ R"9'213 "5 8C$ S/68"'@ "5
D4$16+ 64, no. 1, p. 1, quoLlng lrench scholar Adrlen 8allleL ln 1683
Albro MarLln, J1/3'"146 ?'/9%:C128, Cxford unlverslLy Þress, 1992. Þ. 49
naLlonal Archlves,
ºMoLhers Look CuL lor ?our Chlldren," 1839, Þu-1923, reLrleved from auLhor's personal collecLlon.
Larly LelecommunlcaLlons was added Lo Lhe lCC's [urlsdlcLlon ln 1910. 1he lederal CommunlcaLlons Commlsslon
(lCC), creaLed ln 1934, was concelved along Lhe llnes of Lhe lCC Lo Lake over Lhe agency's LelecommunlcaLlons
auLhorlLy as well as LhaL of Lhe lederal 8adlo Commlsslon (l8C).


ºLlnes and MeLalllc ClrculL ConnecLlons, Amerlcan 1elephone and 1elegraph Co, March 1, 1891," 1891, Þu-1923,
reLrleved aL
1here was a break ln vall's servlce beLween 1887 and 1902. ln 1907 he became CLC of A1&1
ºlnLerneL map 4096" by 1he CpLe Þro[ecL ls llcensed under CC 8? 2.3
Parrls-Lwlng collecLlon, ºlederal CommunlcaLlons Commlsslon 1937 10 6," 1937, Þu-1923, reLrleved aL
1om larley, º1he Cell-Þhone 8evoluLlon," >%$'/712 S$'/81B$+ WlnLer 2007, vol. 22, lssue 3

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