Phone companies' DSL may be deregulated

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Federal regulators appear set to deregulate phone companies' DSL broadband services, a move that would likely mean fewer choices for consumers but could spur wider rollout of the offerings.
But Federal Communications Commission members are negotiating to preserve some oversight of both DSL and cable broadband services in a bid to protect consumers and competitors.


The agency's two Republicans and two Democrats are close to a deal on the main provisions of a ruling that could be approved Friday at the FCC's monthly meeting, four FCC officials say. No final agreement has been reached, and the proposal could still unravel.


After the Supreme Court ruled in June that cable broadband is an unregulated "information service," FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said he would move to deregulate DSL, too. Both services, he said, should compete on a level playing field.


As "telecommunications services," phone companies currently must lease their high-speed lines to competing Internet service providers, such as EarthLink.


By contrast, the FCC ruled in 2002 that cable broadband companies offer "information services," so they don't have to share their wires with rival ISPs. Most cable companies offer consumers only their in-house ISP, so they reap a bigger share of per-subscriber revenue than their DSL counterparts.


An appeals court struck down the FCC's information-service label, but the Supreme Court recently reversed that decision. Under Martin's proposal, phone companies would no longer have to share their broadband lines after a six-month transition. Democrats want a longer transition, perhaps a year.


Consumer advocates worry the move will lead to fewer choices and higher prices. But the phone companies say it would provide greater incentives for them to widely roll out broadband. Also, phone companies would no longer have to contribute 10% of their DSL revenue to the universal service fund, which subsidizes phone service in rural areas. The companies would have to continue to pay into the fund during a phase-out period, also possibly six months to a year.


By then, the FCC expects to offset the loss of that revenue by revamping the universal service fund so that Internet-based phone companies and wireless carriers contribute a larger share of their income.


FCC Democrats Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps are also concerned that deregulating DSL broadband would strip the FCC of its power to ensure that those services can't discriminate against rivals. For example, DSL providers could slow access to rival Web sites or block the calls of Net-based phone services using their wires.


The FCC appears likely to issue a policy statement promoting unimpeded access to all services on the Web. The statement would fall short of a rule, but it could give the FCC more solid legal ground to halt malicious practices.


"It provides some assurance for new services to get off the ground," says Andrew Schwartzman of the Media Access Project.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/20050804/tc_usatoday/phonecompaniesdslmaybederegulated;_ylt=AkR3kiD13KOhvPZ0TNy.So8jtBAF;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl
 
rad

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Frankly, I've been living under this type of regulation for awhile now. Since I'm on a remote terminal for DSL, SBC doesn't allow for 3rd party ISP's to use that facility, only if you can be reached from a DSLAM in the CO can we use a 3rd party. Do I wish there was compatition, yep, but if this is the only way to get broadband rolled out to more areas via DSL or fiber what else can we do? SBC stopped Project Pronto until they got the laws the way that wanted them to not have to share RT's with other ISP which lock out a large number of folks from DSL.

What I would like to see, if the FCC moves forward with this is that the telco's need to sell naked DSL, get rid of the POTS requirement, while not jacking up the naked DSL charge so it's basically the same as if you had a POTS line. I'd also like to see them require a package(s) where you don't have to pay for all the portal garbage that they include. Just give me transport, forget the movies, news, music, etc.
 
Stargazer

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Does this mean that they will be allowed to roll out DSL services farther out even though the speeds will be less and less the farther out you go? The telephone company told me that they are not allowed to offer DSL to those that they cannot get the same rate of speed as those close enough to the central office by law.
 
rad

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Stargazer said:
Does this mean that they will be allowed to roll out DSL services farther out even though the speeds will be less and less the farther out you go? The telephone company told me that they are not allowed to offer DSL to those that they cannot get the same rate of speed as those close enough to the central office by law.

That sounds like a load of horse sh*t. In SBC land their packages give a speed range such as 384Kbps-1.5Mbps or 1.5Mbps-3.0Mbps, what you actually will get will vary based on line quality and distance. I'm on an RT and 1500 feet and my line is sync'd at 6016Kbps/618Kbps which is better then someone directly on a CO DSLAM could get at 10K feet. I know SBC has cut back on the distances that they will sell service for because they were getting too many support calls about dropped connections or poor speeds. I knew one person that called on once too often due to line problems that SBC just cancelled her service and cancelled her commitment.
 
Stargazer

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I thought I heard that they were going to be able to offer DSL at greater distances particularly when they increase the speed (from 1.5 MB to 3 MB).
 

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