Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Unpacking USTelecom FCC forbearance petition: no obligation to continue copper plant

GN 14-126: USTelecom Comments on 2015 Broadband Progress Report | USTelecom: First, the Commission should grant the petition that USTelecom filed in October 2014 that seeks forbearance from various outdated regulatory requirements applicable only to incumbent local exchange carriers (“ILECs”). As USTelecom explained in its Forbearance Petition, unlike most broadband providers – including cable, wireless, and competitive fiber providers – ILECs are not free to focus their expenditures on next-generation networks designed to deliver the higher-speed broadband services customers increasingly crave; instead they “must direct a substantial portion of their expenditures to maintaining legacy networks and fulfilling regulatory mandates whose costs far exceed any benefits.”

USTelecom is correct in noting there's little point in investing in obsolete copper networks. But its petition to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission fails to cite any regulations that specifically require telephone companies to deliver services solely over copper and not fiber.

Instead, the filing appears to pick a bone with existing rules governing ILEC last mile network operations and access -- rules that are predicated on ILECs having a monopoly over last mile infrastructure. The petition does not explain how these rules operate to discourage investment to upgrade copper networks to fiber.

Expect more legacy incumbent telephone company complaints as the FCC adopts final rules later this year reclassifying Internet service as a common carrier utility under Title II of the Communications Act.

No comments:

Web Analytics