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Monday, November 16, 2009

Big Telco Hates Harvard: US Telecom Assoc. Bashes Berkman Center's Broadband Report to FCC

StimulatingBroadband.com 11/16/09 Boston - Somewhere Al Vellucci is smiling.



The late long-term City Councilor from Cambridge, Massachusetts made a highly successful local political career out of bashing Harvard University, also of Cambridge, Massachusetts. For years Councilor Vellucci attempted to actually tax Harvard, which of course was as unconstitutional as taxing, say, The Church.



No Massachusetts elected would be crazy enough to try to tax The Church, but Al figured Harvard (which has existed in Massachusetts longer than The Church) was fair game. When Al wasn't calling for the legal power to tax Harvard, he was calling for its students to be locked-up for all kinds of misdemeanors, real and imagined.



Most legendary among the latter, is the the habitual destruction, allegedly by Harvard students, of Al's favorite City tree, allegedly planted to block the view of the Harvard Lampoon building. Mostly the Lampoon staff is content to give stupid prizes annually to celebrities they like to insult (above left), but Al just had to go and get them honked off years ago.



Al Vellucci was in a small minority among Massachusetts electeds, most of whom are smart enough not to attack The World's Greatest University, so named by a hopelessly sardonic "journalist" for The Boston Globe, one Alex Beam. Except for Al, most of us try not to bash an institution responsible for creating tens of thousands of jobs, gathering in billions in research dollars, and having more U.S. presidents and global potentates as alumni than, say, Yale.



U.S. Telecom Association Piles On Poor Harvard

Today we see that the U.S. Telecom Association (USTA), the powerful lobbying arm of the largest telephone operating companies in the nation, is just as smart as, say, the late Al Vellucci.



Today USTA filed comments as part of the National Broadband Plan proceeding of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which bashed the work, previously submitted to the Commission, of the Berkman Center at Harvard. Something must have gotten under the skin of the USTA attorneys as they drafted-up the surprisingly harsh 15-page critique of Berkman's report submitted on 10/15/09 to the Commission. Perhaps they didn't get into The World's Greatest University.



The Berkman Center on The Internet and Society, is a specialized research adjunct to the Harvard Law School (safely on the other side of Harvard Square from the Lampoon building), focused on the legal and political role of digital media and telecom policy in countries around the world.



USTA Focus: The Role of Network Unbundling

Central to USTA's criticism of the Berkman Report, a centerpiece document commissioned on 07/14/09 by the FCC itself as part of the Broadband Plan mandated by Congress in the Recovery Act, is the Association's idea that Berkman ascribes positive value to the network unbundling policies of telecoms regulators in other nations.



The Association's filing opens with the Summary statement, "The Berkman Center for Internet and Society's draft study of broadband development and strategies in other countries is, unfortunately, seriously flawed." USTA's opinion of the Berkman study pretty much goes down hill from there.



Unbundling policies were central to the Federal Telecom Act of 1996, which is credited with ushering in billions of dollars of investment in the telecom infrastructure serving the U.S. Those policies were litigated against by the large telephone operating companies represented by USTA, to the point that they were effectively eviscerated.



Policies of network element unbundling, writ large, are further central to the regulatory concept of open access networks which are best seen in
the national telecoms regulatory schema of some Asian and many European nations. Arguably, open access network policy is also closely aligned with a strict rendition of network neutrality principals, in which multiple content and program providers may easily transit carrier facilities via mandated interconnection terms.



In all of this, one assumes USTA is smarter than the rest of us who never beat up on Harvard. 'look where it got Al Vellucci.





Topic Resources at StimulatingBroadband on Scribd:



1. USTA - Berkman Comments in FCC GN 09 47 09



2. Berkman Center Broadband Study of 10-13-09



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