Dissent in FCC over broadband rules

FCC chair Michael Powell wants to revive rules that helped cut DSL prices

FCC Chairman Michael Powell is trying to revive rules that helped lower broadband prices from small competitors like Covad, according to USA Today. The issue is "line sharing," which forced the big phone companies to let the Covads of the world use customers' existing phone lines to offer DSL (the same way SBC or Verizon would) instead of buying an expensive extra line.

The FCC phased this out as part of its sweeping Triennial Review last year. That massive ruling was deeply contentious even within the regulatory body itself. Congress is looking at reopening telecommunications regulations next year, and this could be part of a push to help prove that broadband markets are still competitive beyond the cable-telco duopoly.

Although really, how many of you can get broadband service from anyone except the phone company and the cable company. Raise your hands.

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    John Borland
    covers the intersection of digital entertainment and broadband.
     

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