August 11, 2005 Washington, D.C. -- The Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council of North America has urged the U.S. Congress to address what the council sees as two major barriers to the growth of next-generation broadband networks: the lack of a streamlined cable television franchising process, and restrictions on municipal broadband deployments.
In a letter to the U.S. Congress delivered on August 8th, the FTTH Council called for a "converged services approach" to encouraging next-generation deployments, in which networks capable of providing information services competitive in the 21st century would receive relief from current franchising requirements and municipal broadband restrictions. At a minimum, the letter also states, next-generation networks must simultaneously provide multiple high-definition television programs, high-speed bi-directional data services, and high quality voice connections.
"Americans must gain access to next-generation broadband networks to remain competitive in a global information economy," contends FTTH Council senior vice president Joe Savage, in the letter. "The U.S. economy increasingly relies on the ability to send and receive huge amounts of electronic information."
"Copper wire is incapable of carrying the kind of bandwidth demand we are beginning to see," adds FTTH Council president Len Ray. "It is crucial for the United States to replace its aging telecom infrastructure. We cannot fall behind in next generation broadband as we have in current generation broadband."
The letter notes that Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and the European Union already lead the United States in FTTH deployment.
"We're on the front lines of next-generation broadband deployment," concludes Tom Wendt, chairman of the Council's Government Relations Committee. "It is obvious that these roadblocks are for real. Congress needs to act quickly to tear them down."