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Deregulation would be bad for consumers

A reader is surprised that the CEO of a group that claims it "believes individual liberty and the freedom to compete increases consumer choices" supports broadband deregulation.


Deregulation would be bad for consumers

In response to the May 8 Perspectives column by Paul Beckner, "Ending the broadband rip-off":

I am surprised that Beckner--as CEO of an organization that claims it "believes individual liberty and the freedom to compete increases consumer choices"--supports the pro-Baby Bell stance of "deregulating" broadband.

There is no valid reason why the Baby Bell companies can't deploy DSL to 100 percent of their customers. The Bells are not required to sell DSL service as an "unbundled network element" to their competitors. They are only required to sell access to the raw copper lines that are used by voice and DSL providers.

The Tauzin-Dingell bill passed in the House proposes to eliminate the requirement that allows Bell competitors to lease those raw copper lines for the provisioning of DSL. The Federal Communications Commission is also trying to change some of their regulations to accomplish the same thing. This will not encourage broadband deployment. This will eliminate all competitors to the Bell's own DSL service. That's what the Bells are really after. What will be left is a duopoly of broadband: incumbent cable and incumbent DSL. Consumers will not have much of a choice.

If you want to create true competition for broadband service, the cable companies need to be forced to open their networks to competitors. Dozens of companies competing for customers is much better for the consumer than two.

Kevin W. Brown
Manchester, Md.



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