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.