FCC Has Time On Line Sharing, May Lock Out Fiber

from the not-too-surprising dept

A couple months ago, Verizon admitted that all of its various announcements about deploying fiber to the home was basically just for show… if the FCC didn’t agree to announce that fiber wouldn’t be subject to line sharing rules. In other words, “change the rules in our favor, or we’re taking our ball and going home.” A few days ago, SBC decided to make the same demand. It looks like the FCC is listening, because it’s now been leaked that they’re going to give in to Verizon’s demand. However, in related news, an Appeals Court has said that the FCC can (as they did) freeze regular line sharing rates for telephone lines, while they come up with a new plan that hopefully doesn’t piss everyone off so much. While both sides make compelling arguments why line sharing either helps or harms competition, the answer is that it really does both. Letting the Bells exclusively own the fiber sets up natural monopolies in those regions, but could help spur faster deployment of alternatives like high speed broadband wireless connections. While fiber has the ability to obliterate wireless bandwidth, there’s a good chance the Bells will screw it up anyway, and the mobility aspect of wireless could be a big selling point over the fixed nature of fiber. Of course, the way things seem to be shaking out these days, the Bells may end up being the main providers of wireless services as well — meaning that we’re pretty much stuck in the same monopolistic quagmire many currently face. Once again, a more reasonable solution to such natural monopolies is to treat them more like the highway system, but no one seems to be considering that idea very seriously.

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