Bar, Francois; Cohen, Stephen; Cowhey, Peter; DeLong, Brad; Kleeman, Michael, and Zysman, John. "Access and innovation policy for the third-generation internet." Telecommunications Policy. 2000; (24):489-518.

Keywords: open access, broadband, policy


This paper explores the argument that policies and practices concerning broadband network architecture are vital for competition and innovation. The authors discuss the history of the Internet and attribute its the amazing success to FCC policy which sought to maintain openness. Second, an analysis is given of the current state of competitive broadband access delivery. Third, the authors look at the impact of open access on innovation.

As we enter the third phase of the Internet -- where there is a critical mass of users ready for always on connections -- the FCC threatens to abandon the successful policy of open access in favor of allowing broadband network owners, such as cable operators, to close or limit access to their infrastructures. Policy makers face an important choice; should openness be extended to the new broadband access infrastructures, again, such as cable, or will completion among networks serve as a substitute for open access and sustain innovation? The authors argue that foreclosure of openness threatens innovation, that any risk to competition in access will have profound effects on future broadband related developments. At stake according to the authors is the continuing evolution of the Internet, the innovation and evolution of network oriented business and therefore the competitive development of the network economy as a whole.

The authors believe that there is urgency for the FCC to define the critical elements of open-access for all broadband service providers, because the competitive development of broadband is so rapid that decisions made now will shape future development of the Internet.