Verizon Communications and other U.S. local telephone companies will be freed from numerous regulations on their high-speed Internet services, the Federal Communications Commission decided Friday.
The agency unanimously agreed to treat the service, known as digital subscriber line (DSL), as an "information service," which insulates it from many traditional telephone rules, such as requirements to lease network access to competitors.
The designation would allow the big local telephone companies, called the Baby Bells, to cut off or potentially negotiate new terms for Internet service providers such as EarthLink Inc. (Research) to use their networks for broadband.
The United States has fallen to 16th in world rankings of broadband deployment per capita, leading Republican FCC Chairman Kevin Martin to make rolling out high-speed Internet service to consumers a top priority.
Cable and telephone carriers are battling to provide customers with a suite of broadband services, like fast Internet access, video and voice service, already serving about 37.5 million customers.
The FCC's decision came after several days of intense negotiations among commissioners.
Because there is a vacant Republican seat on the five- member FCC, Martin had to convince at least one of the agency's two Democrats to agree to the new DSL designation.
Martin has been trying to equalize the rules for DSL providers and cable companies such as Comcast Corp (Research). The decision follows a Supreme Court ruling that backed the FCC's ruling to label cable broadband an information service.
Verizon and SBC Communications Inc. (Research), the two biggest local telephone carriers, have complained they are at a disadvantage in competing against the cable operators because their service has been subject to stricter rules.
Another big score for the Republicans, one dumbass Democrat and of course the major corporations which practically rule our country now. Suppose if you get your service from anyone else but the Bells you're pretty much screwed now.
Anyone want to buy Boardwalk and Park Place from me while prices are good?