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FCC Reclassifies DSL, Drops Common Carrier Rules 310

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the changing-the-rules-of-engagement dept.
Neil Wehneman writes "Via Media Law Prof Blog, it is reported that the FCC has reclassified broadband service as an "information service" instead of "telecommunications". This, among other things, gives the Baby Bells the same gift the cable companies got with Brand X : the right to stop opening their lines to competitors."
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FCC Reclassifies DSL, Drops Common Carrier Rules

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  • Uh oh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chazmati (214538) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @08:12AM (#13263356)
    I have DSL through a smaller carrier (TDS Metrocom, lines owned by SBC, I believe). Sounds like my service is in jeopardy. But won't this kill phone service, too? I mean, if DSL rides on your voice line, and SBC can tell TDS they can't sell me DSL, I'll have to drop TDS entirely to keep DSL. Or switch to cable for Internet access and pay another 900# gorilla. Sigh.
    • Re:Uh oh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sc00ter (99550) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @08:19AM (#13263371) Homepage
      Well I'm moving to an area with a suck ass telco and no chance of DSL.

      Right now (at my current place) I have DSL from a local place (mv.com). They are fantastic but they only offer ADSL, so I have to keep a local phone line. I never use it.. I pay $15/month for nothing.

      Now that I can't even get DSL I'm not going to get phone service, no reason to. My wife and I each have cell phones. Even if I do need it for whatever reason I'll get VoIP.

      Point is, if they cut off the local DSL provider where I currently live, I'd do the same thing. So rather then getting $15/month from me, plus the fee they're charging my ISP, they would get $0.

      • Re:Uh oh (Score:4, Interesting)

        by airjrdn (681898) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @08:49AM (#13263462) Homepage
        Assuming you're here in the states; if you have small children, I'd skip the VOIP and stay w/the telco.

        It's the law that the telco provide your phone with power, meaning even in a power outage, you can use your phone (dial 911, etc.).

        Your broadband provider isn't under that same law. No power = no service.
        • I do not, and do not plan to have children, but I still have two cell phones as well. I'm also moving to a small town and have already met lots of people. It's a very friendly neighborhood and I'm sure in an emergency they would let me use their phones.
        • ``It's the law that the telco provide your phone with power, meaning even in a power outage, you can use your phone (dial 911, etc.).''

          In theory, yes. But how many people have a phone that doesn't require a power supply wart plugged into AC for it to work. It's nigh upon impossible to even find a phone that doesn't require AC to operate any more. Of course, I suppose one could stick a UPS on their kitchen counter to keep the phone alive. (Yah, right. The missus would just love that.) I've hung on to an

          • It's nigh upon impossible to even find a phone that doesn't require AC to operate any more.

            Not so. [walmart.com]

            In fact, it's trivally easy [radioshack.com].

            My VOIP phone box even comes with a battery pack that keeps the phone alive for a few hours even with the power off. Along with the corded phone I've had since before I was married, I don't have any worries of not being able to dial "9-1-1" in an emergency.
          • Out of the 5 phones in my house only 2 require external power (one has the answering machine and the other is cordless). It's actually QUITE easy to find a phone that doesn't require AC power. Just go to the local Wal-Mart/Target/whatever and pick out a corded phone with no LCD screens, caller id, or answering system. There are at least a dozen models like this at every store I go to.
          • Re:Uh oh (Score:3, Informative)

            by Pharmboy (216950)
            But how many people have a phone that doesn't require a power supply

            I have used cordless phones for many years. And for all of those years, I have always had ONE unpowered phone so I can call the power company when the power goes out. I have always lived in the country/outskirts of town, where power outages are more common, but this is common sense for anyone.

            Unpowered phones are super cheap ($1-$3 at Goodwill or Salvation army if you are really cheap like me), *very* available, and you can just "Y" out
    • According to the FCC's news release, you have 1 year of grandfathering left before they can cut your service... Yeha...
    • I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned that one potentially great alternative to the monopolistic broadband providers is municipal networks.

      Two reasons I'm surprised: one, they're generally better than either DSL or Cable... and two, the telcos and cable companies have already made pre-emptive strikes against municipal networks across the country.

      In every case, the main argument from the telcos was "we have to allow other ISPs to access our lines, why build new ones?"

      So what, was this the plan?

      1. El

  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @08:18AM (#13263367)
    Yes, its mostly modern fiber and VOIP internally, but there's copper to every house, and poles, and those discrete switching stations in the bushes. Who paid for all that? Since we (the US Taxpayers) did (whether its good or bad is irrelevant to this discussion), it should be open to all.
    Those who live by the government teat (Telcos) should have to die by it, too.
    • I don't know about you, but in my hometown the polls were put in by the electric company who also pay tax to the town for the property they use. They then lease that to the telephone and cable companies that pay to have the lines run on those polls.

      • "I don't know about you, but in my hometown the polls were put in by the electric company who also pay tax to the town for the property they use."

        I'm sure the electric company has or had a government-granted monopoly in the town.
      • Are you saying your phone lines are still above ground on poles? Man I thought that went out over 30 years ago. You're quality of service must be horrendous.
        • ...your phone lines are still above ground on poles?

          Yes, along with the phone itself. Mr. Haney assures me the quality is second to none.

        • Are you saying your phone lines are still above ground on poles? Man I thought that went out over 30 years ago. You're quality of service must be horrendous.

          Most of the US is like this, except for actual core metropolitan areas. I live about a 1/2 mile from downtown Seattle, and my phone and electricity are both from poles.

          My understanding is that moving them underground is about aesthetics, not quality. It's a lot more expensive, and if you're in an earthquake-prone area I imagine it would be pretty awful
  • by DavidRawling (864446) <hulk_@nOSpAM.yahoo.com> on Sunday August 07, 2005 @08:18AM (#13263368)

    I don't understand.

    Surely this means that the local "Baby Bell" will be able to prevent other companies from using the infrastructure, either directly or by pricing them out of the market?

    If so ... how does this help the consumer? Who lobbied for this? And why was it done? TFA has little detail and the FCC press release seems to be more self-servient than anything else.

    Now ... if the price they sell broadband at is $29.95/month, but they will only sell line access to the competing ISP at $39.95/month, the ISP cannot compete.

    In Australia Tel$tra did just this (briefly) and got a slap on the wrist from our consumer agency, the ACCC. Is there a similar organisation in the US? Is that what the FCC press release is commenting on in the 2nd last para:

    In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Commission seeks comment on whether it should develop a framework for consumer protection in the broadband age - a framework that ensures that consumer protection needs are met by all providers of broadband Internet access service, regardless of the underlying technology.
    • One side effect we can hope for is that once alternative broadband providers are cut off from existing infrastructure they might decide to put down their own - say fiber optic instead of copper.

      Of course, how many will decide to this is uncertain at best.
      • One side effect we can hope for is that once alternative broadband providers are cut off from existing infrastructure they might decide to put down their own - say fiber optic instead of copper.

        The existing infrastructure was built using monopoly pricing and government assistance. There is no way a private company could build their own infrastructure to match that.

        • I would imagine that government assistance would be somewhat forthcoming in a REAL upgrade (like FTTH in ~75% of US households). Another thing you have to remember is that the bulk of the original telco rollout happened when the US population was around 120M and not the 297M that it now is. That equals a significantly improved return on investment, also the economic climate is better (this also figures into the government assistance, they reason that this class of improvement will yield a significant impac
          • I would imagine that government assistance would be somewhat forthcoming in a REAL upgrade (like FTTH in ~75% of US households).

            Do you really think the govt will hand out money to random upstarts? Or will all this money go to Verizon/BellSouth/SBC/PacBell, making them further entrenched as the dominant monopolies?

            Another thing you have to remember is that the bulk of the original telco rollout happened when the US population was around 120M and not the 297M that it now is. That equals a significantly im

        • I don't like this decision much myself (I'm set to be squeezed off my current DSL provider by the local telco monopoly), but it seems to me that if local governments don't like it, they can start offering assistance to those competing companies, or work to overturn rules and laws preventing them from providing the infrastructure directly themselves, the way many do water and sewer, for example. Wow, what a fine sentence!
        • "There is no way a private company could build their own infrastructure to match that."

          You mean like the fiber optic lines that Verizon is laying down at a stunningly high pace around here? Sorry, sir, but that argument isn't going to fly.

          -Erwos
          • And how do you think verizon is paying for that? With the monopoly money that we (the citizens of the US) gave them.

            Verizon only has to sit on their ass to make billions - no private startup could ever compete with that in the current funding environment.
          • "There is no way a private company could build their own infrastructure to match that."

            You mean like the fiber optic lines that Verizon is laying down at a stunningly high pace around here? Sorry, sir, but that argument isn't going to fly. My mistake, I should have used "non-Baby Bell company" rather than "private company". We were talking about upstarts, after all.

    • by DannyO152 (544940) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @08:56AM (#13263492)

      Here's the theory, in perfunctory fashion, because I don't buy it. Broadband uptake in the US is not going as quickly as somebody wants. Aha! the FCC reasons (helped by whispers in the ear), it must be because the owners of phone lines won't upgrade them unless they get the full return of their investment. So if the Baby Bells own and maintain the lines, the Baby Bells are granted full control over how much they charge other information service providers, and, in order to make negotiations between the Baby Bells and indy DSLs more equitable, the Baby Bells can now walk away and say no soup for you, More return on investment means more investment in infrastructure and more supply means more demand. Entry into the brand new beautiful broadband world accelerates.

      And some folks at SBC and Verizon get together with their lobbyists and a few of their contacts in Congress and the Executive, and tilt many a glass in honor of these days in the new gilded age.

    • Surely this means that the local "Baby Bell" will be able to prevent other companies from using the infrastructure, either directly or by pricing them out of the market?

      Well, we could always prevent THEM from using OUR infrastructure if they don't want to play by our rules. They seem to have a lot of trouble remembering that their existance depends upon governments and private property owners granting them permission to place their equipment all over our property.

      Maybe as additional wireless frequences are

      • Well, we could always prevent THEM from using OUR infrastructure if they don't want to play by our rules.

        Be careful. In the new legal environment, what constitutes 'THEM' and what constitutes 'OUR' has changed radically. The recent Eminent Domain ruling has changed a lot of the rules. (basically, those slick fucks who took both Business Administration and Sociology courses in college, meaning 'the liberal MBAs', are on the march)

  • Corporate America (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jurt1235 (834677) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @08:19AM (#13263370) Homepage
    As it might be clear to the average US citizen by now, is that monopolies are detested by the US goverment. They do everything in their power to break foreign monopolies to give US companies a fair chance in the big bad foreign world.

    What is also clear by now is that for inside the US there are different rules. Good luck! I live in a foreign country and the weirdest things happen under the name of free market (like jeopardizing the electricity network), but everything gets more expensive because of this. You (US citizen) however are in the lucky situation that things happen in reverse, and everything will get more expensive.
    • by LostCluster (625375) * on Sunday August 07, 2005 @08:20AM (#13263376)
      I live in a foreign country and the weirdest things happen under the name of free market (like jeopardizing the electricity network), but everything gets more expensive because of this.

      California is not a foreign country.
      • No, but we copied the Californian model overhere in Europe, and it really works out good! From a good distributing grid network buffer we are now on the edge of outages since companies do not like to invest in buffers (buffers are overcapacity and therefore expensive).
      • California is not a foreign country.
        Sounds like you haven't visited for a while.
    • As it might be clear to the average US citizen by now, is that monopolies are detested by the US goverment

      You're joking, right? The U.S. government doesn't seem to mind monopolies as long as they're not too out of line. Take for instance commercial airlines. At Minneapolis and Detroit, Northwest Airlines has a virtual monopoly and charges rates pretty much as they see fit.

  • Not a good thing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gomaze (105798) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @08:20AM (#13263375) Homepage
    This is going to only going to create local monopoly providers. I work for a small, state of michigan only internet provider. That has been around for 8 years. We have started servicing DSL and it is exploding.

    People are coming to us because they dont have to call flippin India to get tech support and they know we are a locally owned family company. We can provide DSL for $20 a month for a year contract and after you add the taxes and charges of SBC you are at that or over it.

    It is times like this why I shake my head and ask why the rebulican party wants to kill local businesses, seeing that is what they say they stand for.
    ----
    Gomaze
    • Re:Not a good thing (Score:2, Informative)

      by darkonc (47285)
      Time to go to your customers and say "this is what the supposedly 'good for business' Republicans are about to do to you. Time to start railing at them now."

      When people get their heads directly kicked in, they really can raise a ruckus.
      You have a year to force this decision to be reversed.

    • by nagora (177841) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @09:10AM (#13263553)
      why the rebulican party wants to kill local businesses, seeing that is what they say they stand for

      No, the republican party stands for the republican party, that's all. Professional politicians are the last people you should turn to to run a country.

      TWW

    • by timeOday (582209)
      Yes, my first thought was that this might NOT be so good for the copper network owners who are probably behind it.

      Before, DSL had an advantage over Cable - you could shop around for an ISP with good policies and service. Not anymore! The Cable companies must be breathing a big sigh of relief that the FCC decided to kill off all the young, hungry competition. Now it's a boxing match between a pair of fat old geezers.

      At a personal level, I hope you don't lose your job!

    • Re:Not a good thing (Score:2, Interesting)

      by frizop (831236)
      The problem with this is the FCC has put similar restrictions on resale telephone lines as well. Meaning, the small guy can't resell dial tone to customers that they don't own the copper too without one of the bells or SBC or whoever, gouging them out the ears. The FCC has been making moves like this for years, that is, submitting to the big Telco's and doing whatever they say to do. I can only hope that cable ends up being an even better medium to dial tone to create better competition.

      Oh, I work for one o
  • Larry Magid (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jmichaelg (148257) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @08:27AM (#13263397) Journal
    Larry Magid said on CBS something to the effect that the telcos still have to allow access to the copper wire but don't have to allow access to the telco equipment. For all I know about DSL equipment, DSLAM may as well be what Mark McGuire hits.

    Does Magid's comment make any sense to those of you who know how DSL works?

    • That's supposed to be the case, and if it is still so then this ruling is a Good Thing. Basically, how I understand it (and I may very well be wrong), is that an ILEC is no longer obligated to sublet their ISP services to other companies. For instance, in a number of cities Earthlink sells a repackaged version of the ILEC's services - that will no longer be required. However, they still have to offer access to the dry copper in order to let CLECs operate. Covad, for instance, is a CLEC. As are most DSL
      • What I'm a lot less clear on is whether "line sharing" will still be OK - right now, for instance, my Speakeasy service is operating split on my Verizon line, via equipment co-located at my CO. Will that state of affairs continue, or will Speakeasy have to lease a wire from Verizon in it's entirety? The other variable will be what happens when Verizon gets FIOS deployed - will there still be a place for the CLECs at that point?

        Well, it's in the telcos best interest if they continue to allow that... Right n
    • Re:Larry Magid (Score:5, Informative)

      by suitepotato (863945) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @09:16AM (#13263580)
      The majority of competitive DSL ISP offerings are through CLECs, which are Competitive Local Exchange Carriers. Should the ILECs (Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers) be required to keep their copper open to CLECs, then competitive DSL will still be an option should any CLEC choose to pay for the co-location, backhaul, per line cost, etc.

      It makes no financial sense whatsoever to eliminate CLECs from the copper/fiber as they PAY the ILECs for the access/maintenance and always have. The majority of Speakeasy lines are through COVAD (properly capitalized, it is an acronym, COpper Value Added Distributor) if I am not mistaken. However, there really isn't a lot of money to be made at consumer DSL as a CLEC and acting as an ISP over ILEC DSL set-ups is more cost effective. This ruling eliminates the requirement that the ILECs open up their DSLAMs to other ISPs but it does not invalidate the existing contracts. Merely means that the ILECs will have supreme latitude in renegotiation at the contract's expiration. Don't like their terms? Tough.

      But all those Speakeasy over COVAD lines aren't going anywhere. Most likely, they will have to do some hard thinking and probably look at partnering with CLECs.

      BTW, DSLAM means DSL Access Multiplexor. These are where all the DSL lines terminate and aggregate first and then hand off usually via Fast Ethernet or DS-3 to a switch/router. CLECs may have one or several at a colocation. Some use multiple kinds and some use one kind. See Paradyne, Copper Mountain, Cisco, Lucent, Alcatel for DSLAM models availible.
  • Oh joy! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by darkonc (47285) <stephen_samuel.bcgreen@com> on Sunday August 07, 2005 @08:34AM (#13263418) Homepage Journal
    So much for market forces, eh?
    Adam Smith [bcgreen.com] considered 'the free market' to be a good number of small merchants. Big business produces the same sorts of centralized stupidity as big government -- especially when it has a (pseudo) monopoly.
    • Equally important: he advocated "hands-off" in part because of businesses' tendancy to influence government in to doing the wrong things. Remember: Adam Smith's target was mercantialism which as a policy was in fact that darling of merchants among others.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @08:36AM (#13263423) Homepage Journal
    IS not to protect consumers.

    The dropping of common carrier status also removes any protection of content. Now the ISP will be liable for content that passes over their lines.

    The 'consumer' no longer will have a right to privacy, since its no longer considered 'telecommunications', which was protected.

    So its not about protecting us, its about controlling and monitoring us. Oh, and if it happens to make the big campaign contributors a few bucks along the way, all the better.
  • by rcw-home (122017) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @08:40AM (#13263429)
    I've been watching the stories on this since they started hitting news.google.com. Most of the initial headlines were "FCC eases rules" or "Phone companies get internet relief".

    Is it unreasonable to expect headlines like "Local ISPs across the country doomed"? Even if the press doesn't care about the ISPs, that's a lot of people who will probably be out of work soon, and employment trends generally are something the press cares about.

    I hate this ruling for several reasons:

    • It's the FCC wantonly overriding Congress. The line-sharing rules were set up by Congress as a main purpose, perhaps the main purpose of the 1996 Telecommunications Reform Act.
    • The wiring that the phone companies pretend is theirs alone really belongs to the people. It's common infrastructure - if everyone had to attempt to duplicate it to compete, the result would be an expensive mess.
    • It reduces us to a handful of choices for ISPs. The cable company, the phone company, maybe a WiMax ISP, some form of satellite access, etc. Those of us who consciously chose to buy our DSL service from a competitor do it for the markedly better customer service and for more options.

    I think that the press is slowly starting to pick that up, thanks in part to organizations such as the Consumers Union. I hope the FCC is forced to reconsider. If they don't, I hope the local ISPs take the initiative to build some new infrastructure of their own (and I hope it's something so clearly better that it's not just an expensive mess).

    • . Most of the initial headlines were "FCC eases rules" or "Phone companies get internet relief".

      The news outlets are writing the story because they're getting faxed press releases from the telcos, and therefore are accepting the Telcos' spin.

    • Is it unreasonable to expect headlines like "Local ISPs across the country doomed"?

      Maybe the owners of many news agencies have investments in things like major ISPs. Take Time Warner for example. Could any of that news be coming over from a source like Yahoo as in SBC/Yahoo DSL?
    • maybe a WiMax ISP

      Hopefully this will start taking off. At 300', you need a whole lot of them. At 30 miles, "one per city" is often good enough.

      Cory Doctorow's latest novel, "Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town" has a sub-plot about unwiring the entire town. It's not the first place I've seen such an idea, and it worked well with the story. Remember to switch all your nodes to ParasiteNet!

      • The problem with WiMax is Quality Of Service.
        The bandwidth seems like a decent amount, but spread over 30 miles leaves very little per person. One kazaa user would destroy your connnection, making it useless for persistant connections, but still okay for its intention (roaming). You never want to rely on wireless connections for longer than you have to.
  • I'm not sure about the underlying reasoning here- FCC has changed a lot since Mike Powell left. They may have decided that preventing anticompetitive behavior is too much intereference in free markets, although that hasn't often stopped them before.

    But it is obvious that this move will constrain DSL's quality and price advantages. I have to suffer with Verizon and I'm in PAIN everytime I use it and everytime I see my bill. Things will only get worse. What the hell is everyone waiting for? Oh right, I forgot
  • Build more networks! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Brian Stretch (5304) *
    You want a better network than the telcos and cable companies provide? Build one. Roll out new FTTH. Or wireless. Or carrier pigeon [slashdot.org]. Whatever. This is the Internet, a network of networks. We can build more than one.

    Don't force another company that spent $millions or $billions on their network to "share" with their competitors at government-dictated rates. The expense is in the network, not the backend and marketing layers. I wouldn't spend $gigabucks building new plant if I knew the government was
    • by jyoull (512280)
      Your argument sounds good in theory, but that's not how it happened.

      Telcos were legal monopolies for many years, in exchange for doing the work (NOT "taking the risk") to build out the infrastructure. The customers paid for that build-out with higher-than-necessary rates (had there been competition), all manner of rules about where you could get a telephone (from the phone company, only), how you could get a phone (rentals only, no purchases), and on and on.

      During that period many miles of copper and fiber
    • You want a better network than the telcos and cable companies provide?

      Not really. I want a cheaper network than the telcos and cable companies provide.

      Build one.

      Seriously though, how would I go about doing this? Who would I have to talk to to get access to the right of ways so I could lay or string cables? I'm not asking a rhetorical question, I really want to know.

    • by The Breeze (140484) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @02:07PM (#13264916) Homepage
      Yeah, they spent $millions or $billions, sure. Over 100 years. And most of those $millions or $billions were MATCHED with taxpayer dollars - incentives, free gifts of right-of-way, etc. The telephone network was built with the help of BILLIONS of taxpayer dollars, over DECADES. It could not be "rebuilt" by any competitor, no matter how well financed, in anything less than another few decades - and even then, they most likely would not be able to legally acquire the same rights-of-way that were given to the telco when it was a monopoly.

      You want to be a free-market capitalist? Fine, so do I. In a free market, you have to pay for value received. The telcos want a monopoly over their partially-taxpayer funded network? No problem. Let's calculate how much taxpayer support they've received over the past 100 years, bill them, with interest, and then they can be allowed to have exclusive control over their lines.

      THAT'S free market. What the FCC has just done is corporate welfare - big companies sucking off of the public tit and pushing the smaller puppies away.

  • by ZPO (465615) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @09:33AM (#13263654)
    It seems unclear from the press release whether the upcoming R&O, which doesn't seem to have been published yet, removes the requirement for ILECs to share copper pairs as UNEs or simply removed the requirement to share DSLAM ports as UNEs.

    I find this section from the press release more chilling on a long-term basis:
    "The Order also requires facilities-based providers to contribute to existing universal service mechanisms based on their current levels of reported revenues for the DSL transmission for a 270-day period after the effective date of the Order or until the Commission adopts new contribution rules, whichever occurs earlier. If the Commission is unable to complete new contribution rules within the 270-day period, the Commission will take whatever action is necessary to preserve existing funding levels, including extending the 270-day period or expanding the contribution base."

    (Emphasis Added)

    This is the FCC putting everyone on notice that they may expand the list of services/providers which pay into USF. That is a step that I don't want to see happen. While USF is a nice theory, in practice it is used as a method to defray costs for the incumbent telcos in serving desired markets. Can anyone provide several examples of rural CLECs or WISPs receiving USF dollars to support their efforts?
    • While USF is a nice theory, in practice it is used as a method to defray costs for the incumbent telcos in serving desired markets. Can anyone provide several examples of rural CLECs or WISPs receiving USF dollars to support their efforts?

      More to the point, can anyone offer examples of USF money going to the actual deplyoment of new lines? As fas as I can see, there's lots of new cell towers (with much higher margins) going up in rural America, but very little new wired infrastructure.

  • Anybody else think that the primary driver behind this ruling is CALEA and not "competition" at all? Just think how much easier it will be to implement the new wiretap requirements without having to deal with the hundreds or thousands of local ISPs. Some of which may be owned by people who may have moral objections to wiretaps. Or may be small enough that the operators actually know their customers and may be tempted to tip them off.

    Instead they can deal with maybe a dozen or so mega corporations. The size
  • Sure, we could use VOIP services on cable broadband instead, but the local cable companies are also a monopoly, and have had the freedom to screw their customers as the phone companies now have again the entire time.

    It would have been nice if instead the cable companies had been regulated. Then I might not now be paying ridiculous fees for a 'commercial' account just so that I can host my own *personal* mail and web servers.

  • Competition... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by e12532 (158556) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @10:24AM (#13263888)
    Leased loops are not going away. The telcos still have to provide access to the dry copper going out to customer locations. This ruling simply says that the telcos no longer have to provide the actual service on these copper pairs. I can see how in some areas this will be devastating. The company I work for, fortunately, has enough vision that they've seen this coming. For the past several months we've been implementing a solution using Ciena networks equipment that will allow us to continue providing dial tone as well as DSL to formerly resold SBC and Bell South customers. Basically instead of the copper getting plugged into SBC / Bell South equipment it is physically moved into our collo equipment. This is actually better for our company, leasing a copper pair is far less expensive than just reselling DSL or local phone service, and it gives us the opportunity to grow into new service areas and offer price points we weren't able to meet previously.

    Also, we've obtained a $100 million grant to develop fiber networks in three cities, over which we will be able to provide data, voice, and television services...

    This ruling is just a kick in the arse of the small telcos who have been skimming profit from the large ones by just reselling service (they've been able to do this for around 5 years now)

    As someone else said, the teat is being taken away, it's time for the small telcos to stand on their own two feet and invest in their own infrastructure...

    Just my $.02
    • Oh Jesus! What are you on? The vicious piranha aka small telcos mercilessly tearing into the soft, sweet flesh of the gentle, plankton-eating, giant whales aka big telcos?
      C'mon, the big guys were soaking the consumers as much as they could, and not offering much in the way of innovative services unless forced. All the while they were sitting on an infrastructure largely paid for with public money and pocketing big bucks with shady accounting.
      I recall a story about falsified depreciation of telco equipment
  • The only reason I even -have- a landline to my house is so I can get DSL service. So as long as I got the land line I signed up for unlimited service, it's not that expensive.

    Now if I can't get DSL, why do I need a landline? I'll just cancel it and use a cellphone.

    That is the market pressure we can apply, and the one (hopefully) which can be used to bring the telco's to heel. They want us to buy phone service from them? Then they continue to give us the DSL access we want.

    A lot of people are already forsaki
  • by UlfGabe (846629) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @10:45AM (#13264001) Journal
    DO NOT forget that should common carrier status be dropped that ISP's can now CENSOR PARTS OF THE INTERNET.

    Please Correct me if I am mistaken, This is wildly more important that price gouging.

    For example, the ISP you are currently at may block you from going to a competetors site, a party may give $$$ to the ISP and block you from viewing another party's website.
    • To some extent, they've already been doing this. For years, SBC's been filtering out large chunks of Usenet they don't want you seeing.
  • by earthbound kid (859282) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @11:00AM (#13264068) Homepage
    There's a lot of moaning and doom and gloom in this thread, but I think most people have overlooked the one problem with the business of DSL resellers:

    They're selling something they don't own.

    Think about it, what do local DSL providers actually provide? They provide a link between your computer and some internet backbone. And how is this link made? By going over "the last mile" of copper, which is owned by the phone company. How does it make any sense for someone to sell service on a wire they don't own? That's like having the Canadian government collect tolls in one set of booths on I-95: it might add "competition" in the sense that now there's more than one group competing to be your toll booth, but it doesn't change the physical facts of the highway. Traffic is going to be just as bad, pot holes aren't going to go away, and if anything the situation will be made worse, since the transit company in charge of the actual highway isn't going to see as much profit for the changes it makes.

    So basically, we as consumers are essentially screwed, because it's only natural that whoever controls the last mile exerts a natural monopoly over internet service, right? Well no, not exactly.

    How the consumer can escape being screwed is, while competition over the same set of lines is basically impossible, there are multiple sets of "last miles" coming into our houses already today. To point out the obvious: cable. Now, in a lot of areas, cable service is shitty, but that's only because cable has little competition for TV service, outside of satellite, and little competition for broadband service, outside of DSL. And the DSL service is always weak, because it hasn't been in the interests of the phone companies to make DSL service better.

    But, all of this can change, because of A) new pressures from wireless internet services and B) this new ruling which lets the people who own the last mile of DSL finally act like they own the last mile of DSL.

    So essentially, we are going to have to give up fake competition within the realm of DSL in order to achieve real competition between DSL and cable. And that's not a bad tradeoff, in my book.
    • How the heck did this get modded "insightful"?

      There are lots of businesses that "sell something they don't own" by your criterion that a service requires end-to-end ownership. In fact, very few businesses have end-to-end ownership of the means for their service. For example:

      • Long-distance carriers who aren't your local telco don't own the local phone lines. Instead, they contract for access to your home via the telco.
      • Internet service providers can only provide direct access within their own pool of custo
  • The FCC is owned (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AngryNick (891056)
    The Bu$h administration has slowly replaced all the pro-consumer people (read "democrats") in the FCC (and for that matter, most other regulatory agencies) so that it is now more big-bu$ine$$ friendly. Republican$ tend to refer to it in happy terms, like "removing the barriers to free enterprise," but leave out the part "...at the expense of the little guys." Raising the expenses of the smaller DSL providers will only result in higher prices across the board, as the lack of upward price controls will cause
  • The actual article (Score:2, Informative)

    by Sir_Dill (218371)
    is here http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/ DOC-260433A1.pdf [fcc.gov]

    Word of PDF take your pick. Good thing OpenOffice opens docs.(another discussion alltogether)

    Essentially this is going to screw us all and the FCC really pisses me off lately. I would like to know just who our government really represents because lately it sure as hell doesn't feel like the people.

    So basically all us outlaw DSL users that don't opt for the telco sponsored service have a year, after which who knows what will h

  • The renaming game... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by linuxhansl (764171) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @12:01PM (#13264363)
    Renaming things to circumvent or change the laws regarding the renamed thing seems to be in fashion. (Somewhat off topic)
    • "Enemy Combatant" instead of "Prisoner of War"
    • "Act of War" instead "Terrorist Attack"
    • "Terrorist" instead of "Criminal" (happened in some cases)
    • "Information Service" instead of "Telecommunication"
    • and so on, I wonder what's next
    Renaming is convenient, you do have to go through all the trouble of actually changing the law, finding majorities and such.
    Just name things differently and the law does not apply anymore (or so it seems these days). It's that easy.
  • CALEAwas supposed to apply to telecom services, yes? Now they're saying that DSL isn't a telecom service, but CALEA still applies to it.
    From The CALEA act

    (6) The term ``information services''--

    (A) means the offering of a capability for generating, acquiring, storing, transforming, processing, retrieving, utilizing, or making available information via telecommunications; and

    If DSL is no longer a telecommunication, then there is no longer a need to complay with th

  • by Skapare (16644) on Sunday August 07, 2005 @04:41PM (#13265598) Homepage
    If the telcos want to stop offering a "telecommunication [wikipedia.org] service" the last mile [wikipedia.org] to the home and offer an "information [wikipedia.org] service" instead, then they would have less of a basis for fighting against someone else coming along and offering a "telecommunications service", such as Lafayette, Louisiana [slashdot.org]. The city has a stronger defense when they are building something that isn't being offered by some company. So in a way, I see this as a good thing. The telcos are tying their own noose [wikipedia.org].

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