May Says Agency Must Exempt New Fiber From UNE
WASHINGTON, D.C. - With major decisions on controversial unbundling and line-sharing regulations coming as early as next week, the FCC finds itself at an important crossroads. Will it pursue real deregulation or settle for a continuation of managed competition? A noted telecommunications expert, The Progress & Freedom Foundation’s Randolph J. May, makes the case for deregulation, which he says would spur a recovery in the telecom and high-tech sectors and benefit the national economy.
May argues that investment by both incumbent and new providers is stifled by current ‘UNE’ unbundling regulations. And less investment means a lagging sector, fewer jobs and downward pressure on the larger economy. “This stifling of investment obviously will have a continuing adverse impact of jobs in the already-depressed telecom and high-tech sectors and thus on the overall economy,” he writes in a new report released by the New Millennium Research Council. May is senior fellow and director of communications policy studies at PFF.
What is to be done? May produced a “scorecard” for evaluating agency actions on UNE Triennial Review, Cable High-Speed Access and Wireline Broadband proceedings: (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; (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.
“Probably the most important thing the Commission can do is to state unequivocally that sharing obligations do not apply to any new fiber or other non-copper facilities,” May said on a media conference call today.
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the impact of the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1993.