Comm Laws Must Promote Competitive Choice for Mobile Internet Connections, Landline Broadband Access

BY CCIA Staff
February 4, 2014

Companies that have successfully challenged legacy monopoly landline and duopoly wireless telecom incumbents for a modest share of American customers seem to find much to like about the 1996 Telecom Act and its focus on competition and interconnection.  It allows them to create innovative and affordable choices for consumers and enterprise broadband customers.

In its response to the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s request for input on telecom laws, Sprint noted that, due to the industry’s history of government sanctioned monopolies, broadband access markets are not uniformly competitive, and “there remain key choke points that impact the operation of the entire ecosystem.”

Sprint recommends that Congress must 1) preserve and promote interconnection rights and obligations, 2) ensure access to critical infrastructure inputs at reasonable and nondiscriminatory rates, and 3) provide careful regulatory oversight and safeguards.

T-Mobile explained that the FCC must retain authority to proactively address competition in circumstances where ex post antitrust laws do not apply.  They too warn of “bottlenecks” in critical network infrastructure.  The scrappy pink mobile wireless competitor recommends that Congress maintain the FCC’s broad authority to regulate the conduct of the dominant carriers with respect to interconnection and roaming.   It believes the FCC should oversee interconnection arrangements among carriers as the IP transition proceeds.   Indeed, the evolution toward IP based networks should never be allowed to erode important safeguards for consumers and competition.

Both Sprint and T-Mobile support spectrum aggregation limits as a check on even greater future market dominance by the 2 largest carriers.  They also direct the House Committee’s attention to the core values in our telecom law: competition, public safety, consumer protection and universal access.

Comptel, which represents landline broadband providers, agrees that the pro-competitive telecommunications law we have has worked well to spur huge investments in network infrastructure and innovative online services.   Comptel highlights the same core values as the wireless carriers do and underscores the continuing practical importance of policies that ensure both residential and business access to networks and interconnection.

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