Smacking states around -- so what?

New FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is in an enviable position. His predecessor, Michael Powell, engineered what will be the Martin administration's first major decision to anger state utility regulators. So Martin can blame everything on Powell.

So why is the FCC waiting so long to divulge that it plans to up-end state rules forcing major local phone companies to sell "naked DSL", or high-speed Internet over a digital subscriber line (DSL) that doesn't require a local phone subscription? It's still a waiting game for an FCC confirmation, which was expected as early as Monday.

Martin shouldn't be gun shy with his first slap at states. He was part of the same FCC regime that set aside state attempts to regulate Internet phone operators, for instance. And state utility regulators have developed a very thick skin over the decades by skirmishing over jurisdiction with the FCC.

"States used to being slapped in the face by the FCC," said one source. He requested anonymity to protect a relationship with an FCC commissioner who confirmed the regulators voted in favor of up-ending the Naked DSL rules.

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    Ben Charny
    covers Net telephony and the cellular industry.
     

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