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Regulatory Issues

As proposed above, we believe that the future infrastructure for communication to the home will develop in the consumer's best interests if competing information carriers vie for this business. Regulatory intervention should have the sole purpose of ensuring that such competition exists. Only where no competing carrier exists is rate regulation required. Where a new service to the consumer is uniquely proposed by a single organization, the regulatory authorities should act to encourage the entry of a competing entity offering the same service.

It is further arguable that regulation should work to inhibit or even prohibit any single entity from owning or controlling both program production and program delivery operations, if such control results in the consumer being denied access to any available program source. Consumer access should be a prime consideration.

Recommendations

We believe that the services required most by the consumer include entertainment and local and national news. The consumer wants the highest technical quality of picture and sound and a wide range of choices of programming and expects these services to be available at minimal cost.

The infrastructure necessary to meet these needs should have the following features:

1.

There should be multiple competing delivery systems entering the home, where it is economically feasible. A governmental role in ensuring a level playing field may be appropriate.

2.

The delivery systems should be able to carry all services now provided by broadcast, cable, DBS, and computer data networks.

3.

The delivery systems should be able to carry a range of digital data rates, including that necessary for the FCC's initiative for HDTV service.

4.

The delivery systems, as an element of the NII, following a period of innovation and standards development, should be interoperable with other elements of the NII, enabling access to nonentertainment and information services.

5.

The delivery systems should permit interactive operation by the consumer, through the use of a simple interface.

6.

The cost of delivering all services to the consumer should be such that universal access is practicable and affordable. In particular, the delivery of current terrestrially broadcast programs should continue to be free to the consumer.

7.

The existing cable infrastructure, which is broadly available to almost all television households, should continue to offer a cost-effective path to a broadband component of the NII, which builds on its existing broadband architecture.

8.

With the exception of Recommendation 1 above, no governmental role is foreseen as desirable or necessary.



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