Post by Peter Trei
I haven't gone into the details for quite a few years, so I'm probably
mis-remembering this, but IIRC, there used to be a requirement that
cable/fiber/telco providers lease access/bandwidth to third party providers at
non-discriminatory rates. (perhaps it was only telcos)
It was only telcos, and the compulsory unbundling only applied to
certain kinds of services. Telco technicians responded by sabotaging
CLEC customer wiring.
Ultimately, the rates at which the unbundled local loop was offered to
competing carriers were too high for meaningful competition,
especially for residential customers, and most CLECs either went out
of business entirely or concentrated on more profitable markets like
business services. There was always an issue of whether digital
service superimposed on an analog phone line would be available as an
Unbunded Network Element in its own right; telcos wanted to force
potential competitors to install their own DSLAMs in every central
office, whereas CLEC ISPs wanted the telco to operate the DSLAMs and
just deliver customers' data connections over an ATM virtual circuit
to the ISP's facility. In the latter case, the competing providers
would automatically get the benefit of the telco's capital investment
in upgrading DSLAMs, so telcos worked to make the access fees as high
as they reasonably could.
There was a lot of gaming of the system as well, especially by big
companies that received incoming calls and didn't make any outgoing
calls, like call centers and ISPs. They found it advantageous to
become CLECs, which entitled them to settlements (payments from other
carriers for "delivering" incoming calls to their "customers").
In recent years, the two big telcos have been working to abandon as
much of their legacy copper networks as possible. In many places this
wiring is fifty to a hundred years old, poorly maintained, and poorly
documented. The FCC under the previous two administrations allowed
telcos to build fiber local loops without any unbundling, and by
abandoning the copper infrastructure they would no longer be required
to sell any services to their competitors. Verizon did this in my
city a couple of years ago.
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***@bimajority.org| act to remove constraint from the future. This is
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my employers. | - Graydon Saunders, _A Succession of Bad Days_ (2015)