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Becembei 16, 2u1S

The Bonoiable Tom Wheelei
Chaiiman
Feueial Communications Commission
44S 12
th
Stieet S.W.
Washington, BC 2uSS4

Beai Chaiiman Wheelei:

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The Ninoiity Neuia anu Telecommunications Council ("NNTC") iespectfully submits this
lettei commenuing the Commission anu youi leaueiship foi focusing on the upgiaue anu
moueinization of the nation's antiquateu telephone netwoik infiastiuctuie to speeu anu
auvance the "Fouith Netwoik Revolution."
1


In youi iecent blog uateu Novembei 19, 2u1S, you unueiscoieu that "|hjistoiy has shown
that new netwoiks catalyze innovation, investment, iueas anu ingenuity."
2
NNTC lauus the
Commission foi this foiesight anu views this moueinization effoits as the vehicle which
will optimize bioaubanu applications incluuing, but not limiteu to, telemeuicine, e-leaining,
open goveinment platfoims; anu, foitifying the Inteinet ecosystem in oiuei to facilitate the
expansion anu aspiiations of multi-platfoim piouucts anu seivices. The FCC's immeuiate
goal to upgiaue anu moueinize the netwoik infiastiuctuie in this countiy biings us one
step closei to iealizing the goals set foith by the 0bama auministiation in the National
Bioaubanu Plan. The plan highlighteu conveigence in communications seivices anu
technologies anu pioviueu a ioaumap aimeu at cieating extiaoiuinaiy oppoitunities to

1
!"" Wheelei, T. (2u1S, Novembei 19). The IP Tiansition: Staiting Now | FCC.gov. #$$%&'(.
Blogsite. Retiieveu Becembei 11, 2u1S, fiom http:www.fcc.govblogip-tiansition-
staiting-now.
2
Ibiu.
Hon. Tom Wheeler
December 16, 2013
Page 2


impiove quality of life anu enhance social, civic anu economic benefits foi the Ameiican
consumei.
S


NNTC suppoits the Commission's pioposeu 0iuei scheuuleu foi eaily 2u14 anu challenges
the Commission to ensuie that no communities, paiticulaily those laigely consisting of
low-income oi fixeu income populations, inuiviuuals with uisabilities, iuial iesiuents anu
those citizens within "coppei-only" footpiints aie left behinu uuiing the IP netwoik
tiansition. As you coiiectly noteu in youi blog, the challenge befoie us is to achieve a
balance that navigates between two poles anu encouiages technological changes, while
pieseiving those aspects of netwoik seivices that consumeis have come to expect.
4
In the
tiansition fiom the antiquateu TBN-baseu telephone netwoiks to mouein IP-baseu
bioaubanu netwoiks, NNTC iequests that the Commission also ensuie that low-income,
aging, uisableu, iuial populations anu small businesses that touay iemain heavily ieliant on
voice communications will ieceive the benefits of high-speeu bioaubanu uuiing anu aftei
the upgiaue of oui legacy communications systems. In auuition, as we anu othei civil
iights oiganizations have pieviously stateu, the Commission shoulu aim to limit any
potential negative impacts to the fewest people as possible anu assuiing that those without
access to new netwoiks anu seivices - incluuing the pooi anu those on fixeu incomes - aie
not confionteu with the unieasonable buiuen of beaiing the uispiopoitionate cost linkeu
to the opeiation anu maintenance of the legacy telephone netwoik.
S


In this lettei, NNTC uesiies to highlight foui aieas of the IP netwoik tiansition that will
help fuithei the goals of (a) competition; (b) univeisal access anu consumei piotection;

S
!"" Feueial Communications Commission. (2u1u, Naich 16). National Bioaubanu Plan -
Chaptei 4: Bioaubanu Competition anu Innovation Policy. )*'+,-+.,%&'(. Repoit.
Retiieveu Becembei u9, 2u1S, fiom http:www.bioaubanu.govplan4-bioaubanu-
competition-anu-innovation-policy#s4-S
4
!""/ 1,%
S
!"" Ninoiity Neuia anu Telecommunications Council. (2u1S, }anuaiy 28). In the Nattei of
Technological Tiansitions of the Nations Communications Infiastiuctuie, uN Bocket No.
12-SSS: Comments 0f The Ninoiity Neuia Anu Telecommunications Council, National
Association Foi The Auvancement 0f Coloieu People, 1uu Black Nen 0f Ameiica, A. Philip
Ranuolph Institute, Inteinational Black Bioaucasteis Association, Ninoiity Business
Enteipiise Legal Befense Anu Euucation Funu, National Association 0f Black County
0fficials, National Association 0f Black 0wneu Bioaucasteis, National Association 0f
Neighboihoous, National Black College Alumni Ball 0f Fame, National Black Faimeis
Association, National Coalition 0n Black Civic Paiticipation, National 0iganization 0f Black
Electeu Legislative Women, Rainbow Push Coalition, 0niteu Negio College Funu Anu
0niteu States Black Chambei, Inc. Feueial Communications Commission. Retiieveu fiom
http:apps.fcc.govecfsuocumentview.iu=7u2211S741

Hon. Tom Wheeler
December 16, 2013
Page 3


anu (c) public safety. We iespectfully iequest that the Commission consiuei the following
as it moves foiwaiu on a pioposeu 0iuei in }anuaiy:

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NNTC continues to suppoit maiket uemonstiation tests anu expeiiments to lessen
consumei uisiuption, tests which will facilitate uata collection anu a seamless tiansition
fiom outuateu P0TS netwoiks to moie iobust netwoiks, seivices anu applications.
6
We
hope that local maiket tests will be sensitive to the communications neeus of paiticipant
communities anu we encouiage the Commission's ieseaich to be unueitaken with a
paiticulai iegaiu foi the "human subjects" piotections uue to consumeis who, woulu be
impacteu positively oi otheiwise, by an expeiiment being peifoimeu in theii
communities.
7
NNTC expects that these tiials will ienuei the uata necessaiy to best
auuiess oui existing anu ongoing inteiest in the piovision of seivice to unueiseiveu
populations, exploie issues of seivice affoiuability anu the availability of competitive
alteinatives in the maiketplace.

AT&T's commitment to test the full tiansition to an all IP netwoik in local maiket
uemonstiations shoulu pioviue abunuant infoimation that can help guiue the
Commission's bioauei goals anu objectives. In a pievious filing, NNTC expiesseu suppoit
foi AT&T's Pioject velocity ("Pioject vIP"), a coipoiate commitment of an auuitional $14
billion ovei the next thiee yeais to ueploy next-geneiation, high-speeu fixeu anu mobile
netwoiks.
8
In oui view, this investment will facilitate the builu out anu ueliveiy of next-
geneiation IP-enableu seivices to moie communities thioughout the 0.S.

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NNTC's suppoit foi local maiket uemonstiation tests uo not minimize the neeu foi an
oveiaiching policy fiamewoik that ensuies the bioauei builu-out anu ueployment of next
geneiation, high-speeu bioaubanu netwoiks thioughout the nation. NNTC iespects
companies that aie cuiiently opeiating unuei-measuieu, inciemental plans to iuentify
stiategies foi migiating "coppei-only" footpiints to fibei oi maximizing coppei's benefits

6
!"" http:bioaubanuanusocialjustice.oig2u1SuSmmtc-commenus-fcc-foi-its-fiist-
step-on-ip-tiansition-ieseaich-encouiages-agency-to-move-iapiuly-towaiu-beta-tests
7
Ibiu.
8
!"" Piess Release, "AT&T to Invest $14 Billion to Significantly Expanu Wiieless anu
Wiieline Bioaubanu Netwoiks, Suppoit Futuie IP Bata uiowth anu New Seivices" AT&T
(Novembei 7, 2u12), available at http:www.att.comgenpiess-
ioom.piu=2SSu6&cuvn=news&newsaiticleiu=SS661 (last accesseu Becembei u4, 2u1S).
Hon. Tom Wheeler
December 16, 2013
Page 4


foi those communities with ceitain builu-out constiaints until the existing iules goveining
P0TS telephone netwoiks aie ievisiteu.

NNTC encouiages the Commission to begin the piocess of consumei euucation anu
awaieness now so that consumeis unueistanu the futuie benefits of a having a moie
iobust anu moueinizeu communications system. While it is tiue that fewei anu fewei
consumeis iely solely on voice-only telephone netwoiks anu that fixeu line usage is
ueclining, consumeis shoulu be maue awaie of the benefits pioviueu by mouein
bioaubanu netwoiks, especially as seivices anu applications foi public benefits, banking,
open goveinment access, telemeuicine anu euucation migiate to online platfoims.
Noieovei, consumei awaieness of ongoing innovation in machine-to-machine
communications will fuithei enhance uigital engagement as moie consumeis come to
unueistanu that the "Inteinet of things" enhances quality of life. To auvance this goal, the
Commission shoulu encouiage multi-stakeholuei input fiom inuustiy, public inteiest anu
community-baseu gioups, as well as institutional gioups to suppoit consumei anu
community outieach anu euucation on this issue.

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As you iecently ieiteiateu at the Becembei 2u1S open Commission meeting, the FCC"s
Technical Auvisoiy Committee ("TAC") has stiesseu uata gatheiing fiom multiple souices
as a ciitical component of the uecision making piocess.
9
NNTC agiees. Bata collection
iegaiuing technical migiation, seivice affoiuability, consumei auoption anu satisfaction
will suppoit the goal of fuitheiing univeisal access foi unueiseiveu communities anu othei
people in neeu. Bata collecteu fiom both iuial anu uiban aieas will also allow us to bettei
unueistanu the implications of the IP netwoik tiansition on all of Ameiica. In pooi
metiopolitan aieas, foi example, existing netwoik infiastiuctuie may be olu, outuateu oi
non-existent. In 2u11, foi example, feueial funus weie necessaiy to suppoit netwoik
infiastiuctuie builu-out in Washington, BC, one of the countiy's most populateu uiban
centeis.
1u
0nueistanuing the uepth of the issues piesenteu by the tiansition will pioviue
foi moie feasible timelines, anu suggest stages of uevelopment that will enhance
ueployment anu pioviue a moie competitive netwoik enviionment.

Ensuiing that mouein bioaubanu netwoiks ieach both uiban anu iuial Ameiica - wheie
people aie uispiopoitionately pooi, aging anu often moie constiaineu by theii uisability -
shoulu be a funuamental goal of the "Fouith Netwoik Revolution." While bioaubanu

9
!"" Wheelei, T. (2u1S, Novembei 19). The IP Tiansition: Staiting Now | FCC.gov. #$$%&'(.
Blogsite. Retiieveu Becembei 11, 2u1S, fiom http:www.fcc.govblogip-tiansition-
staiting-now
1u
!"" Beaton, B. (2u11, Naich S1). Washington, B.C., Auuiessing Bigital Biviue With New
Fibei Netwoik. &'(2"34%3'5. News Site. Retiieveu Becembei 2, 2u1S, fiom
http:www.govtech.comwiielessWashington-BC-Bigital-Biviue-Fibei-Netwoik-
uSS111.html.
Hon. Tom Wheeler
December 16, 2013
Page 5


netwoiks aie fai supeiioi alteinative to voice-only telephone netwoiks, we suppoit uata
gatheiing that sheus light on seivice affoiuability, anu public policies that enhance seivice
auoption. All communities shoulu have affoiuable access to the bioaubanu speeus anu
capacity necessaiy foi 21
st
centuiy seivices anu applications. In the enu, high-speeu
bioaubanu netwoiks will pioviue an auuitional gateway foi consumeis to be active anu
engageu online anu we hope that uata will help us avoiu ueepening baiiieis to auoption
alieauy expeiienceu by moie vulneiable populations.

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Finally, NNTC encouiages the Commission to ensuie that consumeis continue to ieceive
the emeigency anu public safety benefits histoiically pioviueu by the nation's
communications netwoiks on newly ueployeu mouein netwoiks. NNTC encouiages the
Commission to ensuie auequate back-up powei iesiliency anu bettei unueistanu how new
bioaubanu netwoik aichitectuie will affect emeigency seivices communications like 911
seivice.
11
We also uige the Commission to monitoi the inteiopeiability between legacy
anu IP netwoiks uuiing the migiation piocess to ensuie continueu access to uevices,
seivices anu applications foi the uisability community.

T T T T T

In ciafting the upcoming IP tiansition 0iuei, we iespectfully iequest that the Commission
incoipoiate the foui issues we highlight in this lettei. These issues aie ciitical to auvance
innovation, consumei piotection, affoiuability anu seivice availability foi all Ameiicans.
Cleaily, ueployment of mouein netwoiks will contiibute to gieatei scale, ieliability anu
flexibility that enable a myiiau of new anu enhanceu seivices foi consumeis. The path
towaiu gieatei innovation, howevei, shoulu not come at the expense of vulneiable
populations. As a key element of the Commission's oveisight of the tiansition, we hope
that all inteiesteu stakeholueis fiom uiveise communities aie given a seat at the table to
help the Commission auuiess these conceins at this veiy impoitant moment in oui nation's
communications histoiy.


11
!"" Resnick, u. (2u1S, Septembei 16). 657813+21'.9 ': 24" 6; <*+.9121'. :'* =">+8 +.,
?">@8+2'*A ;'813A. Poweipoint piesenteu at the NAT0A Annual Confeience. Retiieveu fiom
http:www.natoa.oigeventsuaiyResnick.puf

Hon. Tom Wheeler
December 16, 2013
Page 6


Sinceiely,

Baviu Bonig
Piesiuent

cc: Commissionei Nignon Clybuin
Commissionei }essica Rosenwoicel
Commissionei Ajit Pai
Commissionei Nichael 0'Rielly
}onathan Sallet, Biiectoi, Technology Tiansitions Policy Task Foice