The Early Years of the
The era of regulatory restraint defined by the FCC’s Computer proceedings created an environment where enhanced communication technologies could flourish. The most well-known of these has come to be known as the high-speed Internet.1 From a consumer’s point of view, the high-speed Internet is a faster Internet that allows for the use of high-bandwidth applications, such as video and digital telephony. From a technological perspective, the high-speed Internet refers to the use of fat pipes – pipes that increase exponentially the amount of data that can flow through them.
Much of the debate about the regulation of the high-speed Internet has focused on DSL and cable broadband. The reason for this has as much to do with the legacy regulations discussed in Chapter 2 as with the near-dominant market share these two platforms enjoy in the fixedlocation services market.2 Though the protocols defining the Internet had been in existence since the 1960s, regulation (at least in part) allowed the Internet to become commonplace. The FCC’s Part 68 rules
1 The terms “high-speed Internet” and “broadband Internet” are used interchangeably throughout the rest of this work.
2 For the FCC’s latest statistics on broadband subscribership, see Federal Communications Commission, Industry Analysis and Technology Division Wireline Competition Bureau, Internet Access Services: Status as of December 31, 2010 (2011); available at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/ edocs_public/ attachmatch/DOC-310261A1.doc. Last accessed on March 5, 2012.