Monday, March 20, 2006

Verizon Granted Regulatory Relief on Broadband Services

The FCC granted Verizon's petition for regulatory relief of its broadband infrastructure and fiber capabilities.

In December 2004, Verizon requested that the FCC forbear from applying common carrier regulations and the Computer Inquiry requirements to its high capacity broadband services.

As a matter or proceeding, the FCC failed to deny the petition by the required deadline and thereby the petition was granted.

The decision exempts Verizon from having to provide competitors with access to certain broadband facilities and from having to file proposed price increases for certain broadband services with regulators. It does not apply to traditional special access services (DS1 and DS3 services) and excludes TDM-based optical networking.

In a statement, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said this relief "will enable Verizon to have the flexibility to further deploy its broadband services and fiber facilities without overly burdensome regulations." He likened the decision to other regulatory relief provided in recent Commission decisions regarding broadband, saying that market forces would now drive new investment in networking.

However, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps blasted the decision, saying the decision "erases decades of communications policy in a single stroke... Longstanding policies--from pricing flexibility standards to accounting rules to notice required for service withdrawal--may all be in play now. "

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