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So I’m unclear… is this good or bad for broadband? On one hand it allows them to invest in DSL etc. without having to worry about giving others access to the network, but on the other it still forces them to lease DSL to their competitors. I think it’s probably the difference between leasing your competitors the whole kit and kaboodle as a bundled service, or leasing them floor space in COs and allowing them access to individual circuits, but I am interpreting a lot here.

Strange ruling.

Or maybe just a badly written article.



Wednesday September 15 10:40 AM ET

FCC Leaves Bell Equipment Alone By KALPANA SRINIVASAN Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) – Bell telephone companies won’t be forced to lease to their rivals equipment used for high-speed Internet services but still will have to provide them access to parts of their local phone networks under action taken today by federal regulators.

Long-distance companies and other upstart competitors had sought access to the local phone companies’ equipment that delivers advanced telecommunications services. They had argued that such equipment is need so they can roll out high-speed Internet and data services more quickly to consumers.

But the Federal Communications Commission voted 5-0 today not to require major local carriers – like the regional Bell companies or GTE – to give competitors such access in its latest set of rules that attempt to wedge open the local phone market. Two commissioners dissented in part.

The commission rules still will enable competitors to lease certain components from major local phone carriers so they can provide local service without having to build their own facilities. A 1996 telecommunications law envisioned this as one way to spur more entrants into the local phone marketplace.

“We are telling companies that the elements you came to rely on, you are still going to have those to rely on,” FCC Chairman Bill Kennard said in an interview Tuesday.

One piece consists of the wires that run from local phone company offices to homes and businesses. These are the most crucial network elements because they would be very expensive to duplicate.

But in an effort to get high-speed Internet services out to consumers more quickly, Kennard said the commission doesn’t intend to force the Bells and others to lease equipment used for such advanced services.

This will give incumbent phone companies an incentive to invest in high-speed Internet services in the face of competition from others like cable companies who are offering such access over their lines, Kennard said.

At the same time, Kennard said, new competitors will have to invest in their own equipment for providing these Internet services.

“We are creating the conditions for lots of companies to get out there,” he said.

The FCC originally developed a list of items – which did not include advanced services – that local companies had to make available in 1996. The Supreme Court eventually sent the rules back to the commission, saying the FCC did not adequately consider whether competitors could obtain the pieces from another source.

Kennard said the commission has gone back to provide justification for its rules.

“Those rules have worked. They are going to stay in place,” Kennard said.

The major local phone companies also have urged the FCC to provide more limited access to some of the network elements – such as the switches that connect calls to their destination – in areas where there is already enough competition. —