Tom Wheeler, Chairman at the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), revealed on Friday that new rules might be proposed to guarantee real consumer choice. This announcement comes at a time when the giants in the telecommunication business are shutting off their copper based networks and moving on to the next-gen fiber based IP networks. According to the information shared by the officials, a set of proposals will be put forth by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler at an agency meeting scheduled to be held on November 21. The proposal will chiefly be aimed at protecting voice customers.

 

This move by the chief communication regulatory body in the USA will make sure that customers continue to have access to rival telecom operators.

The official said that the FCC will not only deliberate on network-sharing rules, but will also consider the requirement of power backup systems on VoIP networks.

The ability of rival networks to reach consumers like schools, businesses, etc. might be affected if the existing phone companies “withdraw access to the last mile of their networks,” an FCC official said Friday on a call with reporters.

Chip Pickering, CEO of CompTel, a trade association that represents the competitive telecom industry, also endorsed the same views.

“To foster robust competition in the business market, there must be sound policies that ensure wholesale access to the last mile. Any evolution in transmission technology does not change that fundamental fact,” he said, adding, “As the commission proceeds, it must ensure that incumbents do not exploit their transition to IP technologies as a way to diminish or eliminate the wholesale access to last-mile connections on which competitors rely to serve business customers.”

Meanwhile, no one from Verizon, AT & T and USTelecom, a trade organization which represents existing carriers, responded to a request for comment on this proposal. In the last meeting, FCC officials talked at length about the transition to new services and a separate Wheeler proposal aimed at ensuring access to 911 services as the networks evolve. All these issues will be brought up during the FCC’s November meeting.

 

 

One Response

  1. UncleNine

    I apologize for this long post, but I feel it’s important:

    Tom Wheeler is nothing short of a cable industry shill. The former chief lobbyist for the National Cable Industry Association and for the Cellular and Wireless Industry Association knows there is NO consumer choice in the monopoly cable and telecom industry. Every stupid proposal he comes up with is to satisfy his monopolist overlords, not to represent the public interest. He (and really the rest of the FCC) is the very definition of the “fox in the chicken coop.”

    The issue of Net Neutrality is not the “internet’s biggest threat.” Net Neutrality is important and critical, but I feel there is a real case to be made that the Net Neutrality issue is really a red herring. A distraction. The real threat is the industry’s plan to implement Metered Billing. The monopoly cable industry’s major business objective is to quietly slide into metered internet billing. Their plan is to bill you by usage. Which, BTW, is total price-gouging. A consumer rip-off.
    The industry, with the FCC’s help, will seem to “lose” on the the Net Neutrality issue in order to seem “entitled” to the Metered Billing System.

    Metered billing will make your old cable TV bill look cheap. Internet service is already the most profitable product the monopoly cable systems sell, by far. Fees for incremental usage above
    some phoney cap are almost pure profit. Multiple credible studies around the world have repeatedly shown this. Internet service is not like groceries, or gasoline or electricity. But monopolists throughout history always create artificial scarcity in order to charge higher and
    higher prices. In the case of Comcast, failure to invest in their system (which we all know, with advancing technology and low-cost commodity equipment, is actually cheap) makes it seem like they deserve more money to keep up with demand. They failed to invest very much for decades
    and now they want to charge more for this failure. It has been shown that Metered Billing is actually a DIS-incentive to the monopolists to ever improve service–just bill more!

    The cable “industry” is publicly projecting that the average internet bill will be $200 to $300
    per month in 3-5 years. JUST FOR INTERNET. That does not include a Netflix subscription or MLB TV subscription, or TV fees–just for internet service. Comcast SVP David Cohen publicly stated to his investors just last February that they plan to do this. It will be a license to print money for a very few, very rich companies. “I would predict that in five years Comcast at least [!]
    would have a usage-based billing model rolled out across its footprint.” These monopolists want more and more and more. And they want you to believe they’re entitled to it!

    So, the real (and huge) pot of gold is Metered Billing. They really don’t care so much about Net Neutrality. They’ll give that away, and in doing so will eliminate the opposition that Netflix and the other the big content providers have to their merger activities.

    If we don’t stop them now, we’re screwed. It will be The United States of Comcast/AT&T. They will have more money for lobbying, electioneering, and just plain bribery, than any other industry in America. Most of the Republicans you’re planning to vote for on Tuesday favor the monopolists. Most Democrats don’t. Metered Billing will cause a $2,000 to $3,000 “tax”
    increase that -you- don’t favor. Vote accordingly on Tuesday.

    Reply

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