As was widely expected, the FCC voted today to reclassify DSL as an information service rather than a telecommunications service. What that means, is that it gets the telcos out from under line sharing rules and means they no longer have to allow competitive carriers to offer DSL on their lines. As the FCC will no doubt claim, this does further level the playing field between cable companies and telcos -- but certainly tilts it against anyone else. The reason telcos were supposed to share those lines is because most of those lines were set up when AT&T was a government backed monopoly -- so it gives them a bit of an unfair advantage. Still, while this clearly does favor the big incumbents, it's not a big surprise. Also, given that the FCC had already freed the telcos from having to share their new fiber lines, this just quickens the pace at which other providers will have to find alternative means of offering service. It's bad news for a number of smaller providers who were offering DSL -- but (hopefully) will spur additional investments in technologies that completely route around these incumbents, such as wireless offerings.
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