FCC Chairman Only Able To Help Telcos Halfway This Week

from the and-the-ps3-was-sold-out-too dept

It looks like Kevin Martin won’t be able to play Santa Claus for AT&T and BellSouth and deliver the companies approval for their merger before the end of the year. However, on the agenda for this week’s meeting is another present for telcos: plans ease their entry into the cable TV business by making it easier for them to obtain local franchises for areas in which they want to offer video services. Martin says it’s a move that’s crucial to increasing competition in the cable TV market, but given his own flawed ideas of what constitutes competition as well as the FCC’s persistent unwillingness or incompetence to increase the level of competition, it’s hard to see this FCC action really benefiting anybody other than the telcos (despite what their shills say). Apparently, it’s more important for Martin to deliver the win to the telcos by pointing the finger at local governments, rather than own up to the FCC’s and his own long and storied history of stifling competition in telecom markets. It’s easy to believe that making it easier for telcos to enter, the cable TV market will instantly become more competitive and prices for consumers will drop — but nothing has happened to suggest anything of the sort will occur. The same sort of duopoly hasn’t caused real competition in broadband, while the FCC will apparently also this week discuss Verizon’s recently announced price increases for its TV services, illustrating how this introduction of competition doesn’t automatically translate into lower prices. If the telcos were able to wring some favors out of Martin after singing him Happy Birthday, you think they’ve already had the Christmas carolers pay him a visit?

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Comments on “FCC Chairman Only Able To Help Telcos Halfway This Week”

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Jim Clark says:

Re: Verizon

RURAL Areas? I’m in Richmond, VA and my home is served by buried cable so old that it’s construction is that of copper conductors with PAPER insulation and the bundle is then wrapped with lead. Often, with a heavy rainstorm, we start getting noisy phone connections due to water soaking the paper.
Thanks, Verizon… and you start offering FIOS to areas where the copper was installed only 10 years ago, instead of areas with such old infrastructure like ours… go figure!

Dosquatch says:

Re: Re: Verizon

I’m in Richmond, VA and my home is served by buried cable so old

Preach it, brother! I’m out here in Mechanicsville, with POTS cabling not much better than yours*. No DSL, no cable, questions about fibre get laughter. Dial-up barely breaks 28.8k on a good day. Satellite broadband suffers from high latency and high packet drop.

I read stories here about FIOS, muni-projects, 10Mb service in other countries, and I just have to sit here thinking, WTF? And I see other articles about merger after merger, braindead decisions by the FCC, and reports that competition are alive and well that I can only imagine are a drug-induced hallucination… who do I have to beat with a stick to get real change?

*- My POTS lines were orignally run by GTE, which Verizon bought out AGES ago (actually, it was horse-traded to Bell Atlantic in the name of “contiguous areas” well before the GTE/BA merger that created Verizon), but due to a couple of obscure implications of the trading and subsequent merger they are not allowed to rebrand our CO until God-knows-when, which means they have no interest in investing money into it or its cabling. It also means that no phone call (not also served by my CO) is truly “local” to me because because that would be some sort of cross-company collusion (how does a company collude with itself?), so even “local” calls are billed to me at a fraction of a penny per minute for the “interconnect”.

luggage (user link) says:

I agree about the horrible cabling! How exactly are all these mergers and competing entities and FCC decisions helping the consumers? There seems to be no change. I know that the majority of costumers live in urban areas where (for the most part, anyway), internet speeds are fine. These costumers are happy (unless you live in Richmond?), yet none of the companies seem to be willing to even take a stab at bringing high speed internet to the rural areas. What, just because I live on a ranch I’m not entitled to a high speed connection? Oh, sure, I can shell out tons of money for a freaking satellite connection each month, but who can afford that? Sorry for the rant, but I have nothing else to do while my dial up connection loads a simple webpage of mostly text.

realism oil paintings (user link) says:

Kevin Martin on AT&T and BellSouth merger

I’ve known that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, a Republican who supported the merger from early on, and fellow Republican Deborah Taylor Tate complained that AT&T was forced to accept “unnecessary” conditions to win approval for the deal. Martin and Taylor Tate said the conditions “impose burdens that have nothing to do with the transaction, are discriminatory, and run contrary to commission policy and precedent.” I wonder what are these conditions.

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