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FCC Abandons Linesharing, Kills DSL Competition

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the where-are-my-leo-sats dept.

United States 612

raygundan writes "According to Reuters, the FCC today decided to greatly curtail the laws that force incumbent phone companies to share their lines with their competition at cost. This does not bode well for companies like Covad Communications who provide DSL using phone lines to bridge their data networks over the "last mile" to customers. The new rules do force line sharing as long as companies are willing to offer voice service, but this essentially states that if you are not already a phone company, you cannot offer DSL. The existing rules will be phased out over three years. There is still some hope, however, that a federal court might strike down the FCC ruling. Oddly, the news agencies seem to be reporting this as a minor change to the rules, rather than an end to all non-ILEC competition in DSL." The FCC's front page has links (luckily PDFs as well as Microsoft Word files) about the decision, including statements from each of the commissioners.

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It's times like this ... (4, Funny)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345844)

It's times like this I thank GOD I'm a a secret agent man.

Erm, I mean, a Canadian.

Re:It's times like this ... (2, Interesting)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345866)

(and I bet no one even laughs at my Devo parody, because of that silly little typo. Ah well. Stress relief paintball [beryllium.ca] !)

Re:It's times like this ... (1)

Chocolate Teapot (639869) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346062)

I was just about to say the same thing, then I remembered that I'm not a Canadian.

I do however live there as a non-Sympatico customer, so if this madness ever hits us I guess it's back the old blanket and smoke signals. (I'm pretty sure there are bylaws prohibiting that as well)

Re:It's times like this ... (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346161)

I use Cable ... and if that fails, well, I guess I'll just have to pick up a T1 line.

~# "You may never find love down a T-1 Line ..." #~
(the virtual void song)

I agree, but (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5345854)

will this help me in any way to sell more drugs?

Here is a photo of me:
http://www.thewest.com.au/20030221/unassigned /tw-u nassigned-3-sto88685-pic17133.html

please email me asap :
lee.hughes@police.wa.gov.au

3rd post! (-1)

thr0d ps1t (641973) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345855)

This thr0d ps1t is brought to you by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation's Model Thr00 Thr0d Ps1t Generator.

Share and enjoy!

Beautiful (5, Funny)

sawilson (317999) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345862)

I'll start dusting more places on the bench off
for the inevitable flood of layed off tech
workers.

Ridiculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5345865)

Ridiculous.

See? Money Well Spent. (3, Funny)

Esion Modnar (632431) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345869)

What else is for sale?

No DSL and no Jolt make Homer somthing, somthing. (4, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345877)

Go crazy?

Bottom line is if they do this they'll have a Jolt crazed tech geek attacking their office with a Nerf(tm) crotch bat. I need my Speakeasy DSL service.

Re:No DSL and no Jolt make Homer somthing, somthin (2, Interesting)

the Man in Black (102634) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345956)

Kiss it goodbye and place a call for a cable modem. With this ruling, the owners of the lines (the Baby Bell's) do not HAVE to lease their line's to any other companies. Thus removing the thing that STARTED the proliferation of DSL in the first place, and eliminating any competition to the Telecoms. You want DSL, get it through a Baby Bell. No other options.

This of course means that DSL can have the same restrictions put on it that cable does (no incoming requests, no servers, no static ips), which I'm sure will benefit "fighting terrorism", 'cuz we all know that terrorists run their own web servers from home via DSL.

*sigh* Anyone in the Michigan area want to share-lease a T1?

Re:No DSL and no Jolt make Homer somthing, somthin (0, Offtopic)

banzai51 (140396) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345982)

Sure. That make 2 of us. That's what? $500/month each?

Re:No DSL and no Jolt make Homer somthing, somthin (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346001)

No cabel modem service in my area. No cable modem with 1.5MB upload speeds anywhere. I refuse to pay PacBells fees for installation since they wanted to charge me 900$ to move my DSL service to my new address while Speakeasy wanted to give me a Playstation 2 (guess which one I picked). If I get realy pissed I'll wip out the Nerf(tm) crotch missles ans Nerf(tm) Nerf.

Re:No DSL and no Jolt make Homer somthing, somthin (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346105)

Oh good God no....I had my first DSL with BellSouth...it was a joke...no customer service...and they kept charging me for 6 months AFTER I quit and switched to Mindspring/Earthlink.... Geez, how did they sneak this one through??????????

Re:No DSL and no Jolt make Homer somthing, somthin (4, Interesting)

rindeee (530084) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346142)

I gave up DSL and got a T-1 a little over a year ago. $400/month and I share it (and the cost) with my neighbors (802.11b). All the IP's I want (within reason) and it has never once gone down. Money well spent.

Re:No DSL and no Jolt make Homer somthing, somthin (1)

SlipJig (184130) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346007)

I just signed up for Speakeasy since DirecTV Broadband went out of business. Now I guess I'm screwed again. THANKS A LOT FCC! Jerks.

Here in the uk... (4, Informative)

Neophytus (642863) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345879)

It is all done over the phonelines, but there many many DSL companies competing (although only a few get mainstream attention). The competition gives the 'hardcore' internet users much choice, but in the end the DSL network is all owned by BT.

Re:Here in the uk... (0)

snack-a-lot (443111) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345954)

And all the authentication etc. is done by BT equipment too. Compared to dial-up over POTS, it's like BT owning all the modem racks and just leasing out the use of them to the ISPs.

Re:Here in the uk... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5346052)

....which, believe me, is a very depressing thought if you've ever had to deal with BT for anything other than a bog standard voice line that hardly gets used.

fuck dsl. and you. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5345900)

hahahaha dsl sucks and so do you hahahahaha

Powell Stinks (1, Interesting)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345901)

Between this and the initiative to loosen the rules on media ownership [yahoo.com] , it's clear that he's got a soft spot in his heart (wallet?) for monopolies and oligopolies. And golly, he's a Republican! Who'da thunk?

Re:Powell Stinks (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5346053)

DId you read the FCC desicion? I guess not, because on the FIRST PAGE of powell's DISSENT, he disagrees with the ending of line sharing. Next time, RTFA(read the fsck artical)

Cable companies (0)

snack-a-lot (443111) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345903)

But it's not too much of a problem, as you can still get such services over Cable TV wires. Here in the UK the two main methods of consumer broadband Internet are over the phone lines (ADSL) and over cable (using a DOCSIS modem).

Non-issue? Sounds like it.

Re:Cable companies (1)

Reid (629) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346150)

But it's not too much of a problem, as you can still get such services over Cable TV wires.

Maybe you can, but it's not a given in the US that anyone who gets DSL can get cable internet access.

Non-issue? Sounds like it.

Hardly. I'm currently a Speakeasy-via-Covad customer, and I've been very happy with their service and policies. If Covad is given the boot, I have to either hope my telco offers Speakeasy as an ISP option with the same speeds (1.5 down, 384 up) or use my telco as my DSL provider. The only benefit to the latter is cheaper prices, and without competition in my area, they could start jacking them up. Or, I can go without and wait for my cable company to offer internet access in my area, but even then there are restrictions compared to my current DSL (upload speed, server policies).

Bottom line, I don't see how removing a competitor from a market that already has few providers is going to help consumers.

DSL. (4, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345905)

ok, so what did line-sharing do for me anyway? I am in, what I consider to be, a large suburb of Minneapolis. We have about 60k people. I was unable to get QWest DSL b/c I am over 8 miles from the CO (don't ask me how).

My two other options were (ATTBI which is now over $60 w/o CATV, or IDSL through IIRC Covad for $90).

So what did it do for me? Nothing. I am still stuck with a service I am not entirely pleased with (the speeds are fine, it's the price increases and the conversion to Comcast that I am not happy about).

Re:DSL. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5345978)

If you have LOS to the IDS tower you can go wireless (several ISP's I think). Another ISP has an LOS point on the bloomington 494 strip (sihope.com).

Re:DSL. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5345995)

sure. it's 640k/640k and it's a $500 setup fee. That's not fair either.

Re:DSL. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5346014)

I think I'm gonna need to get out my acronym dictionary for this conversation.

Re:DSL. (1)

tidge (85471) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346040)

ATTBI just raised their prices on me again this week. I turned in my modem and had the service disconnected just now.
Screw it. I'll deal with dial up for a while, if it means I don't have to read AT&T's letters saying "We are bumping up the price because we provide a good quality service and we think it is worth more."
Ok, fine. I don't.

Re:DSL. (5, Informative)

spinkham (56603) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346093)

ATTBI is raising it's prices because it's no longer AT&T, it's now Comcast. I had comcast where I used to live, get ready for worse service for more money....

Re:DSL. (2, Interesting)

Golias (176380) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346138)

I live in Bloomington, MN, and I get DSL service from VISI using QWorst's lines (because QWest sucks ass). If this law means that Qwest no longer needs to serve the DSL line for VISI, then VISI's residential broadband business dies, and that would be a shame.

I don't consider cable to be a viable alternative to DSL for me, because the upstream of Cable sucks. If affordable DSL (through locally-run companies) goes away, I'm jumping on the Wi-Fi bandwagon.

(For those of you wondering, VISI is formally owned by a bigger company, but it is still run by the same old geeks who defected from Winternet to establish it. Call their support line, and you get one of them on the phone.)

Re:DSL. (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346158)

does VISI sell telephone service? If not, no.

Wi-Fi is far from affordable. Sure, the monthly price is the same, but the setup costs are astronomical ($500).

Cable upstream sucks? You have Qwest DSL. 640k/160k. I have ATTBI, 1800/256k. Looks more attractive to me as far as bandwith goes.

Interesting (5, Interesting)

ShavenYak (252902) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345907)

If I understand correctly, all Covad (or whoever) would have to do is offer voice and it wouldn't be a problem. Surely they could slap together some kind of VoIP thing and offer it to their DSL customers, then BellSouth would still have to share.

Re:Interesting (4, Interesting)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346002)

Hell, it doesn't even have to be working, just offered. Just the offer of local phone service for some outrageous fee should be enough to require sharing.

The Bells have been dicking people around for ages, why not return the favor?

Re:Interesting (2, Informative)

Dr.Enormous (651727) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346004)

Rivals would still be able to lease access to an entire phone line, but at a costlier rate than just leasing the high-frequency portion used for DSL. The lower frequency on the copper wire carries voice calls.

This seems to indicate that you're right, but you'll also end up paying a good bit more for it. Unless I'm misreading...

Re:Interesting (1)

wobblie (191824) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346070)

are you nuts? "just slap in some voice and you're done", huh?

Let's see, what about hiring an entire voice support infrastructure? These companies are geared to support data customers. Most of them don't know shit about voice, and taking that on is a major, major undertaking. Look how horrible the voice or cable oriented ISP's are at data services. Some of them are OK, but it's nothing like the old days.

Re:Interesting (5, Informative)

raygundan (16760) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346080)

I don't know all the details for sure, but the two folks I know at Covad are saying that it can't be VOIP or VoDSL, it has to be traditional voice service. The way the FCC's crack-addled thinking goes is something along the lines of "why should Covad be allowed to sell only the GOOD half of the phone line? let's force them to pay for the crappy half, too!"

Never mind that the crappy half is already strung to every house everywhere, and the running redundant phone wires is both wasteful and counterproductive.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5346098)

Which if you're right could be a big impetus for the growth of VoIP. Heck it'd even be effectively unregulated like that libertarian-style dude wanted last week.

Oh, and you meant "whomever". Where have all the grammar nazis gone...

Re:Interesting (0, Offtopic)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346141)

Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

Interesting.

Coincidence? I think not.

Charman vs Commisioners (4, Interesting)

Orne (144925) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345908)

This ruling is extra notable because Powell, the FCC Chairman, publicly disagrees [yahoo.com] with their decision: "An FCC chairman has not dissented from a high-profile FCC ruling for roughly 15 years." Powell was a very strong proponent for deregulation, and it seems this time around, state regulators and Bell want the status quo.

Re:Charman vs Commisioners (1)

lysurgon (126252) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346083)

That article came out before the ruling. In fact, it seems like the opposite of what was expected occurred.

Powell has promoted an approach that would automatically lift the network-sharing requirement ..

This is what happened, except that exemptions were made (the voice thing) for the big boys like WorldCom and possibly AT&T. The commission didn't go as far as powell wanted.

Re:Charman vs Commisioners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5346102)

What? All peoples at democrats.com said is deregulation is evil. U = mron. gv't control = good. hi sovet russa. ps. bush am dum;

I wanna put down my own cable! (1)

eaddict (148006) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345910)

So how can I help my ISP run cable to my house? They HAVE to be allowed to run thier own fiber or it isn't fair!

Thanks FCC! (2, Informative)

gekkotron (641131) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345915)

Let's see: Qwest won't service my line for DSL, but Covad does. That's the only broadband I can get. Guess I'm screwed.

Re:Thanks FCC! (1)

octover (22078) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346048)

same potential problem here, and the Covad DSL isn't all that great $60 for 1.5 Mbs/128 K. It works fine most of the time but in the rare case I'm working from home the upload cap is some what limiting.

Even way down here we have FAILURE (-1, Offtopic)

DARTH FAILURE (652097) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346106)

*DDHHHAARRRR* Though you were not attempting to gain first post honors, you have nevertheless discovered a way in which to FAIL IT. You will be denied the power of the DSL, and continue to LIKEWISE FAIL IT.

Say goodbye to inexpensive DSL... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5345922)

The phone companies have been pushing for this for a while - it means they don't have to share and can basically charge what they want. I've heard rumors that some phone companies have been holding subscribers "hostage" to try to force the FCC to change the laws - they're refusing to upgrade their networks until they can be assured that they'll be the only ones to profit.

It's time for the phone company monopoly to end - it's obviously not working for the interest of the consumer.

Re:Say goodbye to inexpensive DSL... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5346044)

Uh, when did we say hello to inexpensive DSL?

Re:Say goodbye to inexpensive DSL... (2, Insightful)

ctr2sprt (574731) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346156)

Why should they have to share? They invested all the money in laying down the lines. They spend all the money to keep them working and repair them if they get damaged. They employ the vast worker force required to do all the maintenance. They're responsible for building new lines and upgrading existing ones. So given that they're currently shouldering 100% of the initial investment costs and 98% of the maintenance costs, why on God's green earth are the telcos obliged to share?

What we should get out of this whole thing is real innovation and competition. Now that it's becoming increasingly difficult to be a successful DSL provider, maybe we'll start to see viable alternatives to cable and DSL. Wireless has real potential, if you can make it sufficiently low-cost and secure ("secure" in the sense of making it difficult for people to hijack).

Oh, and by the way, wherever there's a cable company there's competition. We get our phone service from our cable company here. The only monopoly is in the phone lines, so all you need to do is what the cable companies are doing (and doing very successfully): find an alternative to the phone lines.

Solutions (1)

bofkentucky (555107) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345926)

1) Become a full-on Telco, Covad could pull it off if they tried.
2) Lay your own damn pipes.

Yes I work for a Non-Bell ILEC and frankly why should "my" infrastructure be used for someone elses profit. I wouldn't like it if Bell tried to bully their way into one of our markets, why should I be allowed to steal from them.

Re:Solutions (1)

muyuubyou (621373) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345975)

3) migrate like the goose in winter

Regulatory aspects of laying one's own pipe? (1)

yerricde (125198) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345986)

Lay your own damn pipes.

How does one go about getting permission from the municipal government and from all the individual real property owners in the city to do this?

Re:Regulatory aspects of laying one's own pipe? (1)

bofkentucky (555107) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346111)

If they want your service, you could get it done. Convince people your service is beter than Bell they will hound their officials to allow it or risk finding a new job.

In the first city? (1)

yerricde (125198) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346143)

Convince people your service is beter than Bell they will hound their officials to allow it or risk finding a new job.

How does an upstart convince a first city that it can provide better service, when it doesn't have reputations in other cities to fall back on?

Re:Solutions (5, Interesting)

loucura! (247834) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345989)

Perhaps because the Bell's infrastructure was paid for by the public, not by the Bells?

Re:Solutions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5346009)

Because sharing your pipes was part of the fucking deal you made so that you could do things like sell Cable TV (nonregulated) and long distance (nonregulated) and other shit.

Fucker.

Re:Solutions (1)

banzai51 (140396) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346021)

As a pipe owner, you do get to profit from these companies selling DSL. You lease your lines. Quite frankly, it is becoming clear that high speed lines should be a public good. Now if I could only get those pesky details worked out.

Re:Solutions (2, Insightful)

bofkentucky (555107) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346157)

My understanding is that Bell has X cost invested in a mile of copper, but they had to lease at Y cost to Covad, actually losing money in the process.

Re:Solutions (4, Informative)

quantum bit (225091) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346029)

Yes I work for a Non-Bell ILEC and frankly why should "my" infrastructure be used for someone elses profit. I wouldn't like it if Bell tried to bully their way into one of our markets, why should I be allowed to steal from them.

Yeah, the problem is though that the government subsidized the creation of Bell's infrastructure in the first place.

Re:Solutions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5346042)

It's not "your" ILEC's infrastructure -- much of it was paid for with "my" tax money under a social contract that "your" ILEC would manage it for the public benefit (i.e. accept a "reasonable" profit rather than "whatever the market would bear" profit) when we originally granted you a monopoly and "rights of way" on public property to lay your infrastructure.

It didn't work anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5345930)

I spent three months trying to get DirectTV DSL, since they gave statis IP addresses. They could never get it functioning and, of course, blamed it on shared BellSouth lines that Bell South ahd to fix. Of course, BellSouth nevber found anything wrong with the lines and my neighbor, who had BellSouth DSL, never had a problem. Screw it, I says, I'm getting a cable modem. And it works perfectly. So, this linesharing thing was a joke anyway.

No home servers for you!! (1)

banzai51 (140396) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345951)

No servers for you! Now your only choice will be to buy time from a responsible company that will censor you or hand you over to the Feds at the slightest provocation.

This is very bad (1)

sjgman9 (456705) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345953)

I dont like this at all. Concentrating internet access in the hands of fewer and fewer companies will lead to easier censoring by the concent cartel. The bells will be able to raise prices and act irresponsibly.

Michael Powell is a deregulation whore! Does this happen ever stinking recession?

Finally the bells can use their *property* (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5345968)

Finally the bells can use their *property* without subsidising their competitors. This will be a good thing in the long term 3-5 years. Take a look at Broadband deployment %s in South Korea for example and the costs, plus the speed: 70-80%, $30/month, and 8MBps etc. and you will see what we'll have.

With previous rules there was no incentive to upgrade their systems because then their competitors would be able to use it too. Now we can have: cable, phone, satelite, wireless, and (perhaps) power line all competing.

This is a good thing even if it is not the socialist position.

Re:Finally the bells can use their *property* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5346159)

The bells have all their "property" because they had a sanctioned monopoly. As soon as they pay back the economic rent they extracted from the artifical lack of competition, they're more than welcome to dictate what can be done with their lines as far as I'm concerned.

In Soviet Russia... (-1)

-1bynextweek (642604) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345971)

the government created NEW laws to be phased in over five years that forced YOU to share with the PHONE COMPANY...

AND EVERYONE ELSE!!!

there is a *small* upside (5, Interesting)

FarmKing (52823) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345976)

Where I live, I am 150 yrds from a box containing DSL equipment. I have thus far been unable to use it because SBC refuses to power it up as long as they are forced to resell service to other companies. Maybe now, they will turn it on and allow me to get decent broadband service. While it is bad for competitors, I *the consumer* will probably be able to get DSL now.

Re:there is a *small* upside (5, Interesting)

jmorse (90107) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346129)

Yeah, for 3 times as much as it costs people now and with a lot more restrictions, crappy service, and "privacy" policies that let them monitor every move you make and then sell that data to every spammer in sight. Don't blame the line sharing requirement for your woes: blame the RBOC.

BAH! (4, Funny)

sevensharpnine (231974) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345984)

Then fuck the FCC! I hereby call upon all slashdotters to boycott those worthless...wait a minute...oh shit...

--

What on earth are they thinking? (1)

seldolivaw (179178) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345993)

In the wake of the telecoms bust a whole bunch of comms companies went under: that's what's supposed to happen. The market was oversupplied, so the weaker companies died. It's competition, and it's good. Changing the rules like this is nothing more than protectionism for these companies, which is almost never a good idea (occasionally it can be justified if the company is being regulated to provide service to unprofitable areas that would suffer from the removal of the service, like train companies serving outlying districts). But were these phone companies really in enough financial trouble to justify this rule-change? The FCC isn't the greatest institution in the world, but they're not sub-moronic; does anybody know what their motivation was for doing this?

Points of View (2, Interesting)

snatchitup (466222) | more than 11 years ago | (#5345994)

Basically, the Big Phone companies have fabricated the argument that they're getting their clock cleaned by the Cable TV companies, and that regulations are stifling their ability to compete with CATV companies.

Cable modems currently dominate in market share.

Basically, they say, "There won't be any competition in broadband access because we can't compete with Big CableTV".

This is a joke, unfortunately, many people see it their way.

The thinking is... "We don't have enough time to do what is right, we just want to make sure we at least get an Oligopoly out of this."

The whole thing is a joke, and I'm actaully kind of happy that Cable will rule the day. I consider them the lesser of two evils. Also, I like the way cable franchises are granted much better than the original consent decree that split up AT&T.

The little companies get hurt. Ma Bell is just too powerful, end of discussion.

AT&T ought to hold onto their cable a little longer. But, they've got just too much debt.

Too bad.

Cable is the GREATER of two evils (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5346087)

with dsl, the physical layer is the only thing under control. the code layer (dsl) and content layer (isp) is NOT controlled. it's open.

with cable broadband access, all 3 layers are controlled. you have to abide by WHATEVER the cable provider says. they have been proven on slowing down connections to sites that are competing with them or their network, and even blocking those that they see fit.

this vote is an abomination to the end-to-end openness that the Internet once was.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5346005)

Does this mean I don't have to worry about early cancellation fees?

Encouraging investment? (4, Insightful)

lysurgon (126252) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346010)

From the article:

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted to exempt new high-speed communications networks from requirements that they be shared with competitors, a move aimed at encouraging investment in bringing fast Internet access to consumers.

Right. Big time investment. Just around the corner. We just need to know it won't all get snapped up by our competition. But we're planning. Yes we are. Big Time Investment. Promise. Even though the economy's in the crapper. Investment. In the future. Of the internet. For Consumers. Investment.

Horseshit!

This is such complete and total doublespeak. Every telecom network in this country was built with public assistence. That's the way to "encourage investment." This is simply a move to allow the established Bells (and neo-bells, like SBC) reap more profit off of existing (publicly subsidised) infrastructure.

Where am I going, and how did I get in this handbasket!

The Net closes in. (3, Interesting)

rdewald (229443) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346011)

When I was a small business systems consultant I frequently encountered a problem with SMTP. The DSL lines for a certain baby bell would not pass outgoing email if the "from:" field did not contain the approved domain. I likened it to the post office refusing to deliver mail that was placed in a box with a return address not on the block where the box resides.

If these companies can lock down these networks, then average users (those not interested/willing to manipulate email fields) are going to be "forced" to use the email domain of the provider as a return address. This provides these baby bell ISP's with a MSoft-ish method for bullying users into using their products (as opposed to just competing on the basis of quality).

This is anti-competitive, un-American and anti-capitalist.

Re:The Net closes in. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5346139)

no it isn't

it's called good network practice to prevent the
spammers from using hijacked dsl customers to
flood the network with forged email.

there are many many ways to get email otherwise:
a website like hotmail
set up your own smtp server (sendmail/qmail)
use some other mail provider via imap / smtp

Re:The Net closes in. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5346149)

The DSL lines for a certain baby bell would not pass outgoing email if the "from:" field did not contain the approved domain.

If they did allow something else in the From: field, ten million other folks would be complaining that they were "Spam-friendly". It wouldn't bother me a bit if every ISP did that.

Difficulties .. and Wireless (2, Insightful)

peatbakke (52079) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346012)

If I laid out a serious amount of money to establish COs and copper to (nearly) every house in the United States, I'd be a little pissed at the government for making me open it up to people who are offering competing services.

Technically, the Bells really should be able to lay down the law when it comes to who access their cables. I mean, it's their cables.

I'm all for competition, but this is kind of an awkward situation.

On the other hand -- all ya'll who are hot to trot with wireless Internet access: hop on the venture capital wagon, and start your roll out in about .. oh .. a year. When phone companies jack their DSL rates, and the competition gets locked out of the copper ... guess who they're going to turn to?

Re:Difficulties .. and not Wireless (1)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346085)

Cable.

Maybe some Comcast stock might be a better bet than some wireless venture.

Re:Difficulties .. and Wireless (2, Interesting)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346119)

If I laid out a serious amount of money to establish COs and copper to (nearly) every house in the United States, I'd be a little pissed at the government for making me open it up to people who are offering competing services.

Here's a question though.. Do you really WANT every company and its brother running unsightly wires all over the place (or ripping up your roads to bury them)? Talk about duplication of effort, which hackers are supposed to hate..

Also, aren't the service poles and underground rights-of-way owned by the State, ergo giving the state a say in how those resources are used?

Re:Difficulties .. and Wireless (5, Informative)

lunenburg (37393) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346132)

If I laid out a serious amount of money to establish COs and copper to (nearly) every house in the United States, I'd be a little pissed at the government for making me open it up to people who are offering competing services.

Technically, the Bells really should be able to lay down the law when it comes to who access their cables. I mean, it's their cables.

I'm all for competition, but this is kind of an awkward situation.


The point you're missing is that the Bells, unlike say McDonald's being forced to let Burger King use their extra grills, have a monopoly in the last-mile telecom arena. What's more, it's a government-sponsored monopoly. That means that the Bells have, as a condition of their monopoly, certain restrictions and responsiblities that other industries don't.

The Bells can stifle any sort of telecom competition simply because they DO control the wires going into your house. Thus, the only way to ensure any sort of telecom competition is to force the Bells, as a condition of their maintaining their utility/monopoly status, to open their networks to competitors at reasonable prices.

Re:Difficulties .. and Wireless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5346144)

What are you on crack ? How much money did Ma Bell get from the gov't to build the COs and lay the original copper? Seems like the competition needs an edge just to get the playing field back to even.

Re:Difficulties .. and Wireless (4, Insightful)

Chocolate Teapot (639869) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346148)

Technically, the Bells really should be able to lay down the law when it comes to who access their cables. I mean, it's their cables.
Under their streets too I suppose? Imagine the chaos and waste that would ensue if competing companies were forced to lay their own cable. Do you have a choice of electricity companies where you live? I suppose they should all use their own power cables too. Not to mention the water and sewerage companies. How about different rail companies using their own track?

When it comes to essential public amenities, you cannot allow monopolies to stamp their and say "It's my ball, you can't play with it!"

Re:Difficulties .. and Wireless (1)

rcs1000 (462363) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346153)

That's true and not true. Lets not forget that the Baby Bells (which grew out of old Ma Bell) were a government regulated monopoly. So, they never really had to face competition.

The case for deregulation is simple "You guys effectively had massive hidden subsidies for a long time, which meant there were no effective competitors, we'd like to open the market up to others."

Well, maybe not the end of the world (4, Interesting)

alta (1263) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346018)

Here's two things that make me feel like this isn't soooo bad...

First, just about every DSL provider in my area is already offering Phone to go along with DSL. Most of the DSL only providers in all areas died in 2000/1.

Additinally what to stop a DSL only provider such as Covad to start "offering" voice. They could charge $900/line to get around the FCC rules. Nobody would buy it, but at least they could still sell their DSL.

All the smoke and fury... (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346022)

I've been puzzling over something, lately. If AT&T was such a terrible beast that it needed to be broken up into (what, 11?) baby-bells, how is it acceptable that these things are pulling a T2, gathering themselves together so only 3 baby bells exist? Seems the whole anti-competitive issue begins there, not with the FCC yanking the rug out from under non-bell DSL providers.

Covad bad? (1)

Old Wolf (56093) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346024)

I thought we all hated Covad [slashdot.org] ?

So does this mean worse service for DSL customers? (1)

J. J. Ramsey (658) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346033)

In my house, the DSL supplier ended up being Brightnet because SBC kept giving us the runaround. It looks to me like if the line sharing abandonment sticks, we may become stuck with SBC's nonsense again. :(

This passed despite heavy dissent? (3, Interesting)

LowneWulf (210110) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346036)

From a linked Yahoo article: "Essentially, the majority of the FCC opposed the deregulation plan set forth by agency chairman Michael Powell."

Excuse my ignorance (I'm Canadian), but if the majority of the FCC is opposing it, how did the plan get decided upon?

Other ISPs? (1)

theraccoon (592935) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346057)

What does this mean for ISPs like Earthlink, and other smaller "mom and pop" ISPs? Does this take them out of the running for offering DSL service?

DSL Competition? (1)

sjonke (457707) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346074)

DSL Competition? Will it get me a monthly bill of less than $50? What? There is already DSL competition now? Huh.

Prepare to burn karma... (2, Insightful)

alaric187 (633477) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346076)

/sarcasm on

Dammit, thats so unfair. The government should force companies to sell their property to other companies at cheap rates. Why should companies benefit from investing in infrastructure? The big companies should just buy lines for other small companies to use for free because they have more money. Damn capitalist pigs.

Seriously? Anyone here believe in private property? I mean, would it be fair to for the government to force you to fix your relatives computers whenever they wanted because you have more knowledge then them? Or you to lone your car to the homeless guy down the street because you have more resources then them? I mean, if you want to, then sure. But to force you??

/sarcasm off

Nationalize! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5346090)

The government should Nationalize the lines that run from the central office to homes, and rent those lines out to anyone for cost of maintenance.

Too bad most consumers are so scared of socialism, even though it has a place in situations like this. Ironic, that socialism could give us a truely free market.

The lines run through public property. They cross millions of private property boundries. They should be a public resource.

Then the Phone Companies could compete on products and service. And the Baby Bells would probably all go under in less than a year after exposing their actual incompetance in a suddenly open market.

we have paid (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5346103)

What you all must realize is that the ILEC's have been given HUGE tax relief on behalf of the federal government in exchange for their responsibility to deploy and upgrade next generation networks. Theoreticly, the last mile option these ILEC's are fighting for are owned by US taxpayers. There has been much relief and many writeoffs done by ILECs for years on this infrastructure, however they have neglected to fullfill their promises in a timely manner.

You must realize that before deregulation, the telco's were selling us $1,500/month T1's and per-minute ISDN service. DSL technology is old and could have been deployed in the /early 90's. It wasnt until deregulation in 1996 that we started to see DSL.

Wait five years from now after deregulation occurs and we are still paying $50/month for 1.5Mbps ADSL when the rest of the world will have fiber strung to their doorsteps. The Bells have a history of stagnation and emtpy promises, thats why the telco act of 96 was created in the first place.

the point (1)

qoncept (599709) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346117)

I think the main point of this post isn't to make Covad become a full fledged telecommunications company. Quickly putting together a voice service would qualify them to use the lines at cost again, but what would it cost them? Directly, you're point is "Next to nothing," but if the customer signs up for this and the service sucks, they aren't going to like Covad. They aren't going to drop Covad voice, they are going to drop Covad and get Bellsouth dsl or whatever.

Corrections to the Summary (5, Interesting)

szquirrel (140575) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346120)

According to Reuters, the FCC today decided to greatly curtail the laws that force incumbent phone companies to share their lines with their competition at cost.

ILECs have not been forced to share their lines at cost. That is a myth invented by the baby Bells to convince lawmakers that linesharing makes them lose money. Actually what the 1996 Telecom Act says is that they have to rent their lines to outside customers and they must charge everybody the same rate, including internal customers.

A popular stunt among the ILECs [webopedia.com] is to rent lines to their own internet divisions at way below cost, thus making their internet business seem more profitable than it is. The 1996 Telecom Act just evens the playing field in that respect and prevents the Bells from using their local loop monopoly to prop up other corporate divisions.

The new rules do force line sharing as long as companies are willing to offer voice service, but this essentially states that if you are not already a phone company, you cannot offer DSL.

This is actually not as bad as it sounds when you consider that FCC Chairman Michael Powell *spit* wanted to completely sweep away ALL the regulations that require the ILECs to share lines. His proposal was defeated with respect to local phone service because Republican commissioner Kevin J. Martin jumped the fence and sided with the Democrats. So while this may suck for Covad, Speakeasy, etc., at least it won't totally eliminate DSL competition for now.

Probably both sides are going to be unhappy about this. Expect this battle to go to the courts next.

This article [washingtonpost.com] has more good info.

FUCK!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5346130)

And I was just getting excited about signing up for SpeakEasy after years of a dial-up static IP.

Oh well.

*sigh*

Hopefully one of the big guys out there will offer business-class DSL that allows static IPs, servers, and multiple computers for under $100/month. And doesn't get pissy if you use the connection to earn your living.

Please Covad, start offering some VoIP or something.

What is the solution? Christ, I had an ethernet jack in my college apartment, no port blocking bullshit.... NINE YEARS AGO.

EarthLink DSL (1)

Jack Comics (631233) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346137)

So, being a user of EarthLink DSL for the past two and a half years, does this mean I should start looking into Verizon's DSL price plans? :( It's a shame, EarthLink is far and above the best ISP I have ever had during my nine years on the Internet, ranging from both other national ISPs to regional ones.

Bell's kill DSL news at 11:00 (1)

nexusone (470558) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346140)

We have Bell South in the Area, they are currently offering DSL through them, also can get Earth Link DSL, there maybe some others venders who offer it, but the monthly price is the same for each ISP that I have checked on.

TWC(Time Warner Cable), is offering not only their road runner and AOL but also Earth link, and one other also I can not remember the name.

Out of all of the broadband services Bell South cost more because the charge a setup fee and to get a discount you have to add extra phone services.

With TWC, you get free installation, free modem vs. bell south who wants a $99 dollar installation fee and higher monthly price.

I guess that is why if the cable people show up this weekend will have Earth Link cable broad band.

Earthlink (0)

iamweezman (648494) | more than 11 years ago | (#5346152)

I've been checking into a new isp for a while. Out in Utah, highspeed is limited to attbi, qwest dsl, or earthlink dsl. Earthlink doesn't offer a phone service so that is going to eliminate them from the competition. With only two fighting for my money, the prices are going to sky rocket even more.

The lack of competition is going to hike the prices, but it isn't going to last long. Cable dsl is not going to be affected directly by this, and with time more lines - fiber optic in my area - will be laid.

It sucks for us, but there's validity in the argument. Why should they be entitled to use my property without me making a profit off it? If they laid the lines and paid for them theirselves, they should have the rights. I mean we're not in China now, we do have rights.

...besides necessity is the mother of invention, and wouldn't you like something better anyway

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