Court Backs FCC's Fiber Line-Sharing Rules

from the get-your-own-tubes dept

Even before last year’s decision to stop forcing telcos to allow outside companies to lease their phone lines, the FCC had already said the telcos wouldn’t have to share the fiber-optic networks they were building. Earthlink, which has been actively selling its broadband access over other companies’ networks for some time, appealed this order, but a court has denied it, leaving the FCC order in place. Earthlink argued that the FCC didn’t adequately assess the level of competition in the broadband market — something that’s not hard to believe given the discredited statistics the FCC keeps on broadband penetration. While not mandating line-sharing might level the playing field between the telcos and cable providers, it’s unclear how shutting out third-party competitors has a positive effect on the overall level of competition for services. Meanwhile, the benefits of creating a more efficient, shared broadband infrastructure go largely ignored. So bring on the new wireless competitors, though plenty of doubts about their efficacy, and overall impact on broadband competition, remain.

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Comments on “Court Backs FCC's Fiber Line-Sharing Rules”

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Publius says:

This ruling overlooks the fact that consumers are already being harmed by the duopoly of the telcos and cablecos. Anytime the telcos roll out faster DSL services, the cablecos merely increase the bandwidth cap on their networks. What’s truly insidious about the fiber optic network rollout is that the telcos are “reclaiming” (i.e. removing) the copper wires which they used to be required to allow the CLECs equal access to. Thus in the process of rolling out their new networks, they’re destroying the old network.

It isn’t much, but I like the fact that I can get unlimited DSL via a CLEC and a local ISP. At least I have the features I want like static IP addresses and no restrictive Acceptable Usage Policies.

What the telcos, the courts and the FCC are all forgetting is that the telcos were granted public rights of way from the government in order to build out their networks. They therefore cannot maintain that the network is 100% “owned” by them. If they continue their anti-competitive behavior, and their merger frenzy, I fully expect another anti-trust case against them, this time with the result that they are broken up both vertically and horizontally in their markets.

One proposed solution is for the ILECs to own and maintain the wires/fibers, but be unable to sell services to anyone except CLECs and ISPs, who then can compete against one another on a level playing field.

Anonymous Coward says:

So the only thing the ILEC’s do is own and maintain the wires/fibers? You think that would lower costs to consumers? I doubt that, as that would have to include the cable companies also, or would you let them off the hook?

Why not let the services offset the cost of the connection? You buy wireless service, you get a really cheap phone because the plan offsets the cost of the handset. Buy the handset without the plan and it costs a lot of money.

Seems to work for me. You said so yourself, when DSL ups its capabilities, you get better service from your cable provider. What happens when they run fiber? Guess what, you win. What happens if WiMax comes into play? What happens if BPL comes into play?

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