New FCC Plan A Small Step For Telecom Deregulation

Washington, D.C., February 20, 2003— The Federal Communications Commission today approved new rules affecting competition between telecommunications firms. Today's plan does not require established local phone companies to share new broadband networks at regulated prices. But the Commission left room for individual states to determine which network elements the local companies will have to provide to new competitors in providing traditional local voice services.

“At least the FCC got the rules for broadband right. The weight of the evidence before the Commission was that its forced sharing of telecom networks had gone too far, and was slowing down both new entrants' and incumbents' build-out of new network elements.  It's unfortunate that the agency did not also deregulate things like switching,” said CEI Senior Policy Analyst Solveig Singleton.

“That the states were left leeway to tailor the unbundling rules to their own state is, I think, a case of federalism choosing a most unfortunate occasion for a revival.  Telephone markets and telephone investors need a consistent and reasonably uniform approach to deregulation nationwide,” Singleton concluded.

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