Focuses on Advancing Broadband Investment, Competition, Consumer Choice
WASHINGTON, D.C. – USTelecom today is filing a proposal with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to update rules that act as barriers to competition and investment in broadband. The petition seeks forbearance from archaic regulations dating back to the age of monopoly telephone service, which today inhibit innovation and serve no meaningful role in protecting consumers.
“We invite the commission to innovate with us in creating an improved policy environment that will stimulate competition and broadband consumer choice,” said Steve Davis, chairman of USTelecom’s board of directors and CenturyLink executive vice president of public policy and government affairs. “We believe this petition can help the commission meet its goal of improving competition and extending more broadband service to consumers.”
USTelecom’s petition offers a strategically targeted set of reforms that include removing antiquated rules requiring companies to separate local and long-distance business, and requiring traditional phone companies to continue the provisioning of obsolete technology, instead of allowing them to invest in the kind of advanced communications services that consumers want today.
The petition includes submissions from two experts in the field of telecom public policy: Kevin Caves, senior economist, Economists Incorporated, and former assistant economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; and John Mayo, professor of economics in the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. Both support the petition’s finding that the suggested reforms are long overdue in today’s competitive world.
BUILDING ON TODAY’S INVESTMENTS
“Telephone carriers across the country are demonstrating their commitment to investment and innovation, and in many places are setting the pace on fiber deployments despite regulatory barriers,” said USTelecom President & CEO Walter McCormick. “Verizon led the way with FiOS, AT&T has plans to cover up to 100 cities; CenturyLink is currently providing gigabit service in 16 cities; and nearly every phone company, large and small, rural and urban, is engaged in fiber upgrades,” McCormick said.
Companies are making these investments even though they face regulatory obstacles that don’t apply to other marketplace competitors — cable, wireless and competitive fiber providers. Four years ago, the administration’s National Broadband Plan warned that requiring telephone companies to invest in antiquated services and technology could lead to stranded investment.
More recently, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler alluded to the problem in a February 2014 speech: “Due in part to outdated rules, the majority of the capital investments made by U.S. telephone companies from 2006 to 2011 went toward maintaining the declining telephone network, despite the fact that only one-third of U.S. households use it at all.”
“Our petition offers some workable solutions that can increase competition where Chairman Wheeler has said it is most needed — in fiber-based broadband,” McCormick said. “We are pleased to play a role in ensuring the further development of robust competition, and look forward to working with the commission on these issues.”
For more information about the petition, visit our website.
USTelecom is the nation’s leading trade association representing service providers and suppliers for the telecom industry. Its diverse member base ranges from large publicly traded communications corporations to small companies and cooperatives – all providing advanced communications services to markets both urban and rural.