Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cyber and International Communications and Information Policy Robert L. Strayer, and Brendan Carr, Commissioner for the Federal Communications Commission are in Brussels today to discuss the future of the internet with the leaders at the European Commission, Parliament, national regulators and other stakeholders in Brussels.
Speaking to journalists this morning, Strayer said the EU and the US are facing many similar issues and will have a robust dialogue on many fronts.
“We are all facing common problems,” said Strayer. “Decisions we make in the US affect people around the world and decisions made by people in other countries affect the US.”
Carr said there are many things the two sides can work on together.
“We want to continue to reassure the EU that they are one of our strongest partners in the world,” said Strayer.
One topic of discussion is the so called “Race to 5G”. The United States is hoping to lead the charge and become the first country to have a 5G cellular network. According to Carr this transition will be huge for the US and will involve massive reform in the regulatory structures.
“For our 4G network we have about 300,000 cell sites,” said Carr. “To get 5G, we will need over one million sites.”
Carr went on to say that every country wants to be the first to implement 5G, but being first isn’t enough. “No country wants to be left behind, but the key to this is reforming regulatory structures,” said Carr.
Last week, several MEPS sent a letter to US Congress urging it to reverse its decision on net neutrality. Carr cleared up the rumors surrounding the United State’s decision. He said the country had a bi-partisan agreement that had been in place for 20 years. That agreement was reversed in 2015. The recent decision brings the US back to it’s original agreement.
“The decision did not give internet service providers free reign to do whatever they want to consumers,” said Carr. “It did not give them license to block, throttle or degrade traffic.”
What the repeal did do, according to Carr, was shift the regulatory authority from the FCC back to the Federal Trade Commission. By shifting the authority, consumers will continue to be protected and there will still be free and open internet in the United States.
“Consumers will not be seeing a difference in their experience but they will see investments go back up,” said Carr
The US officials also spoke at the ETNO-MLEX regulatory summit and the CCIA’s Transatlantic Digital Economy Dialogue today.