May Proposes Scorecard for Broadband, UNE & Cable Decisions
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Will the FCC choose a future of “dynamic deregulation” or “static regulated competition”? That is one of this city’s billion dollar questions as the agency nears a decision on three proceedings that, together, will affect greatly the health of the telecommunication and high-tech sectors, especially the pace of investment and innovation in broadband services. A noted policy expert has produced a “scorecard” for evaluating the agency’s actions as it rules on the UNE Triennial Review, Cable High-Speed Access and Wireline Broadband proceedings in the next few weeks.
“It is not hyperbole to say the FCC is truly at an important crossroads,” writes Randolph J. May, senior fellow and director of communications policy studies at the Progress & Freedom Foundation. “The Commission will be forced to choose between two competing visions of telecommunications regulation” going down “two divergent paths.”
“Seven years after the passage of the telecommunications Act of 1996, real deregulation is coming too late,” May writes in “The FCC and Telecom Recovery: A Scorecard for Evaluating the New Rules,” his new paper. “Will it also be too little to spur a recovery in the depressed telecommunications and high-tech sectors?” The benchmarks for scoring the Commission’s actions are:
(1) Unbundling And Sharing Should Not Be Required For Newly Installed Fiber Or Other Non-Copper Facilities;
(2) Regardless Of Technology Platform, Broadband Services Should Not Be Subject To Unbundling and Sharing Requirements Or Computer-II-Type Separation Requirements;
(3) Local Switching Should Be Removed Promptly From The Unbundling And Sharing Regime;
(4) Inter-Office Transport and High Capacity Loops Should Be Removed Promptly From The Unbundling And Sharing Regime And “Special Access” Should Not Be Re-Regulated;
(5) A Presumptive Sunset Regime With Competitive Triggers Should Be Established For The Removal Of Copper Local Loops From The Unbundling And Sharing Requirements;
(6) The Commission Should Preempt The States From Mandating Unbundling And Sharing Requirements That Exceed The Scope Of The Federal Obligations; and
(7) Elements That Have Been Removed From The Unbundling And Sharing Regime Should Not Be Considered On The “Competitive Checklist” For Evaluating Section 271 Applications.
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.