Thursday, September 24, 2015

Aging legacy copper infrastructure isn't solely a regulatory issue

Regulatory Relief Would Speed FCC’s Broadband Deployment Goals | USTelecom: Removing barriers to investment is a concrete action the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) can take to accelerate broadband deployment, USTelecom said in recent comments responding to an inquiry on the state of broadband availability. To that end, the commission should approve USTelecom’s forbearance petition requesting Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILECs) be relieved of directing investment to legacy telephone networks and allowed to redirect that money to next-generation broadband networks. USTelecom said its member companies are required to invest in legacy networks that soon will become obsolete while other broadband providers- cable, wireless, and competitive fiber providers do not have this requirement, and that forbearance relief for ILECs would help the FCC achieve its goal of deploying broadband to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.

This isn't a problem caused solely by regulatory requirements. Rather, it's a train wreck borne of poor policy and planning. Had an orderly plan to migrate from copper-based legacy telephone service to fiber-based Internet protocol-based telecommunications been put in place and executed starting two decades ago, the United States would not be in the current dire situation where legacy copper plant is literally rotting on the the poles. As it does, it grows increasingly less reliable to support voice telephone service -- and emergency call response -- in areas where the copper has not been replaced by fiber -- as well as copper-based DSL where it is offered.

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