Government won't appeal FCC rule

Frank Gentges fgentges at
Wed Jun 9 19:47:59 CDT 2004

Olson Won't Appeal to Reinstate FCC Rule

This is a big loser for BPL.and a big win for hams


In addition the following from AP has a little more background.

/By JENNIFER C. KERR, Associated Press Writer/

WASHINGTON - In a setback for federal regulators, U.S. Solicitor General 
Theodore Olson has decided against an appeal to the Supreme Court to 
revive new rules aimed at increasing competition for local telephone 
service, according to the Federal Communications Commission (news 
- web sites 

The agency issued a statement Wednesday saying that it has been informed 
by Olson's office of his decision. The commission can still appeal on 
its own, but the Supreme Court would have been more likely to consider 
the challenge had the Justice Department (news 
- web sites 
joined the appeal.

The FCC (news 
- web sites 
issued rules last August allowing states to require that the four major 
regional phone companies — Verizon, BellSouth, Qwest and SBC — lease 
parts of their networks at low prices to competitors such as AT&T and MCI.

The regionals balked, saying the rules left them at a competitive 
disadvantage, and in March, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District 
of Columbia threw out the rules.

Consumer groups and others have warned that vacating the rules could 
lead to higher phone bills for millions of Americans.

The appeals court had agreed to delay its decision until June 15 to give 
the regionals and their competitors more time to negotiate separate 
line-leasing deals, and the FCC had been encouraging both sides to 
strike some agreements.

Long-distance company MCI was able to work out a deal with Qwest, but 
few other agreements have been reached so far.

AT&T was disappointed by Olson's decision.

"Decisions have consequences, and the results of this decision will be 
especially harmful," said Jim Cicconi, AT&T General Counsel. "Failure to 
appeal this case could do lasting damage to the entire competitive 
telecom industry - and will lead inevitably to higher prices and fewer 
choices for Americans."

This appears to open the doors to the local phone companies to invest in 
competing for Internet access. Verizon is rumored to have a large amount 
of capitol to invest as soon as this decision was made. BPL may not seem 
so attractive now.


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