Re: CPSR document on telecom [cr-95/10/27]


Sender: "Steve Eppley" <•••@••.•••>

>   U.S. Telecommunications Bill Fails to Serve the Public Interest
>                          25 October 1995
>Problem 4.  The bill lets rates rise too fast and too much.

I didn't see anything which explicitly refers to subsidizing access
for the poor, nor to affordable flat rate pricing.  I'd like to see
these included.

---Steve     (Steve Eppley    •••@••.•••)


Steve's points are good ones, and I think this list should hear what
my reasoning was when I wrote the document.  Certainly subsidized
access has been a strong theme in past CPSR statements, and will
continue to be part of our plan.  (Some members of this list might
disagree--there are many who say, "Let the free market take care of
access.")  I think CPSR has also made a statement in support of flat
rates.  That's more controversial, though.  (Perhaps we should have
some discussion so people are aware of the problems behind both flat
and metered rates.)

But when you're conducting a political campaign--a very specific one,
in the case of this telecom bill--the question is whether to promote
your ideal position or what you think it's possible to get right now.
This is an old, old political debate, but luckily we can have it both
ways.  We can still write statements promoting the broad goals of
universal access.  But this particular document has a short life
expectancy: it's meant just to influence one bill.

Since several CPSR leaders commented on the bill, I think they tacitly
made the same choice I did: to talk about things Congress might do now
rather than everything we want.

There's even some disagreement about whether to call for changes or
just to advocate a presidential veto.  If we totally gave up on the
bill, then we could attack it from the broader viewpoint.

I should probably mention that it's too late to change this document
anyway.  I first showed it to this list a couple weeks ago, and I
incorporated a lot of people's comments.  But now the document is in
the hands of the CPSR board, awaiting their approval.


 Posted by Andrew Oram  - •••@••.••• - Moderator: CYBER-RIGHTS (CPSR)
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