Before the


Washington, DC20230

Request For Comments on )

Deployment of Broadband Networks and )Docket No. 011109273-1273-01

Advanced Telecommunications Services )



William R. Richardson, Jr.

Lynn R. Charytan

                                                         WILMER, CUTLER & PICKERING

2445 M Street, N.W.

Washington, DC20037

(202) 663-6000

Sharon J. Devine


1020 19th Street, N.W.

Washington, DC20036

(303) 672-2861

Counsel for Qwest Communications International Inc.

December 19, 2001



INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY……………………………………………………………2



A.The Burdens Imposed by Title II on LECs Alone……………………………………….12

B.These Regulatory Burdens Are Not Appropriate for LEC Broadband Services and 




“No company will invest billions of dollars to become a facilities-based broadband services provider if competitors who have not invested a penny of capital nor taken an ounce of risk can come along and get a free ride on the investments and the risks of others.”

-C. Michael Armstrong


November 2, 1998[1]/

“[Broadband providers] will divert resources away from offering services competitive with ‘telecommunications’ if the result of providing such nascent competition is — or even might be — oppressive regulatory obligations such as rate regulation, unbundling, mandatory service to all potential customers on demand, or collocation.To the contrary, those firms will have every incentive to avoid deploying their potentially useful resources as ‘advanced telecommunications capability’ . . . if the regulatory consequences of crossing the line into ‘telecommunications’ are vague, potentially onerous, or both.”

-Comcast Corporation

September 14, 1998[2]/

Before the


Washington, DC20230

Request For Comments on )

Deployment of Broadband Networks and )Docket No. 011109273-1273-01 Advanced Telecommunications Services )


Qwest Communications International Inc. (“Qwest”) respectfully files these comments in response to the notice issued in this docket on November 14, 2001.[3]/Qwest is pleased to have this opportunity to engage in this important dialogue initiated by NTIA, in order to “assist the Administration in developing a domestic telecommunications policy” and to “continue NTIA’s support for removing obstacles to broadband deployment.”[4]/NTIA’s request for comments is particularly welcome because the time for action — rather than continued deregulatory rhetoric — is now.

The importance of promoting broadband deployment has received attention from the highest levels of this Administration.In recognition of the vital role that broadband technology can play in the U.S. economy, President Bush has recently appointed a panel of prominent executives for the specific purpose of identifying “the best and most cost-effective ways to speed up the development and usage of broadband technology.”[5]/And as Assistant Secretary Victory has noted, the appropriate role of government in this effort is to “remove impediments to broadband deployment and then get out of the way and let the market work.”[6]/

As we discuss below, by far the most important such impediments today are regulatory ones:the policies by which certain broadband competitors are hamstrung by asymmetrical regulatory burdens, based on wholly inapplicable presumptions in favor of regulation established to govern monopoly narrowband facilities deployed many decades ago.This regulatory policy operates as a significant disincentive to further deployment of the kind of facilities-based competition among alternative technologies that is essential to promote the availability of broadband in the years ahead.The goals are certain: widespread deployment, innovative services and technologies, and diversity of infrastructure and competitors. And government must take three steps to achieve those goals: (a) rely to the maximum extent possible on market forces, as opposed to regulatory mandates; (b) eliminate asymmetrical regulations that have no place in the broadband market; and (c) promote intermodal, facilities-based competition. As we show below, that approach not only is consistent with, but is required by, existing federal law and policies.


Qwest is one of the Nation’s foremost leaders in the deployment of broadband facilities, and its commitment to broadband reflects a unique combination of perspectives.Qwest has its roots in the 1995 merger of a subsidiary of Southern Pacific Railroad and Qwest Corporation, a digital microwave firm based in Dallas.That merger, combining digital technology with railroad rights-of-way, allowed Qwest’s predecessor to develop and deploy a fast, flexible fiber network across the country that became an attractive facilities-based alternative to incumbent providers.Through its deployment of these facilities, that predecessor grew to become the fourth largest provider of long distance service in the United States by the time of its merger in 2000 with U S WEST, Inc.That merger combined a vibrant long distance business with an established local telecommunications service business in 14 western states.

Today, Qwest continues to provide service as the incumbent local exchange carrier (“LEC”) in that former U S WEST region, which includes Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.Qwest also has an active presence as a competitive local exchange carrier in 27 other major markets.At the same time, it remains a long distance carrier outside its region, and maintains a significant portion of the Nation’s Internet backbone.Thus, while it serves a widely scattered, substantially rural footprint of residential and smaller business areas, Qwest also owns and operates 2.6 million domestic miles of fiber.

In fact, U S WEST was itself an early and aggressive deployer of advanced telecommunications services in its region, rolling out broadband services across its 14-state region at a time when cable modem services were offered in only three of its markets.Qwest has since multiplied those efforts, both in its region and nationwide.As of September 30, 2001, Qwest had deployed broadband facilities to approximately 8 millon homes in the western states that comprise its local service area, and had over 450,000 broadband subscribers in that region — as well as an additional 14,000 broadband customers throughout the rest of the Nation.

These broadband investments, however, are not cheap.Qwest has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in building and upgrading its networks across the country in order to provide broadband services.Deploying fiber close to neighborhoods is the only way to provide DSL-based services to more remote locations, and that deployment, through the use of “remote terminals,” will be even more expensive.Nor do these substantial investments come without risk.Whatever the case may be with legacy narrowband services such as voice telephony, the demand for advanced services is still nascent, because the uses and capabilities of these services are still evolving.As a new entrant in many markets, Qwest has long accepted such substantial risks.But they are compounded here by an uncertain, unfair, and uneven regulatory framework built on the premise of a legacy network that has little application to the broadband market.Under that disjointed framework, the government has provided leading broadband competitors (cable modem service providers) with a significant head start — while imposing significant costs and obligations on Qwest’s provision of broadband services and facilities simply by virtue of Qwest’s status as an incumbent provider of services other than broadband.

This country’s cable incumbents currently offer cable modem service free from any federal regulation.There is no little irony to this fact, since they are the dominant providers of broadband service in the market today.[7]/Wireless and satellite broadband providers similarly offer their services without significant federal regulation.Incumbent LECs, on the other hand, as discussed further below, are required to unbundle and share parts of their broadband networks, sell those piece parts to their competitors at prices that do not allow them to recover their actual costs, make space available in their networks for these competitors, sell their broadband services to those competitors at a discount for resale, and unbundle their broadband transport from any associated information access offering.Thus, while it costs approximately the same amount for Qwest and its cable modem competitors to physically deploy the facilities needed to serve an individual broadband subscriber, these substantial and costly regulatory burdens are borne by Qwest alone.Even Qwest’s cable competitors recognize the obvious deterrent effect such regulations have in compounding the already substantial risks associated with broadband deployment.As AT&T Chairman Armstrong put it over three years ago:

No company will invest billions of dollars to become a facilities-based broadband services provider if competitors who have not invested a penny of capital nor taken an ounce of risk can come along and get a free ride on the investments and the risks of others.[8]/

To cure this irrational, investment-deterring, and competition-foreclosing regulatory “schizophreni[a],”[9]/ government must implement — and stop merely talking about — three key principles.

·First, as now embodied in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Nation’s telecommunications policy embodies a presumption in favor of competition, rather than regulation, as the way to deploy new services.Accordingly, government should regulate only if there is a demonstrated need to do so in light of a firm’s acquisition of power in this emerging market.

·Second, the only real way to promote broadband deployment is to promote competition in facilities — not competition among providers that simply seek access to the facilities of their competitors.As Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer aptly put it, “Rules that force firms to share every resource or element of a business . . .create not competition, but pervasive regulation, for the regulators, not the marketplace, . . . set the relevant terms.”[10]/

·Third, recognizing that broadband represents a distinct market with many different types of facilities-based, “last-mile” sources of access, the government must treat all providers within that market alike.It must eliminate all asymmetric regulations that incorrectly treat incumbent LECs as if they possess bottleneck control over broadband facilities, when, in fact, new broadband facilities offered by incumbent LECs are simply not the legacy facilities over which highly regulated voice services are provided.As former FCC Chairman William Kennard noted, “All companies are new entrants when it comes to [broadband] services[.]”[11]/Government must treat them as such.

To achieve all three of these goals, government must abandon the misapplication of the Communications Act’s Title II regulatory burdens to the delivery of Internet access services over DSL platforms, in favor of a more flexible, deregulatory, and symmetrical framework long recognized to be appropriate for other new communications technologies under Title I of that Act.

Both of the last two FCC Chairmen have publicly recognized the force of many of these principles.[12]/Yet the FCC has still to address the most basic questions about the regulatory classification of broadband services, notwithstanding repeated invitations to do so by courts and policymakers.It has finally undertaken to launch a “more comprehensive review of its broadband policies,”[13]/ but if its analogous inquiry with respect to cable broadband services is any guide, that review may well take years.[14]/Ironically, however, inaction on these issues is far more damaging in the context of today’s heavily regulated incumbent LEC broadband services, because the result is perpetuation of the asymmetric regulation that is the single greatest deterrent to broadband deployment.The problem is likely to grow even more acute, and the need for an appropriate regulatory framework more pressing, as broadband providers begin to offer data, video, and voice over a single platform, defying existing regulatory classifications.Until the FCC eliminates the regulatory burdens that apply today exclusively to one class of broadband providers — incumbent LECs — companies poised to finance the substantial long-term investments associated with this new technology will remain largely on the sidelines, particularly in the current economic climate.

In this regard, quick and decisive action is not just good policy.Section 706(b) of the 1996 Act commands the FCC, where broadband is not being deployed “in a . . . timely fashion,” to “take immediate action to accelerate” that deployment — and to do so “by removing barriers to infrastructure investment and by promoting competition in the telecommunications market.”[15]/Under existing law, the FCC has broad authority to address existing regulatory asymmetry and promote the development of broadband services.NTIA should urge the FCC to act, and to act now.


Given the importance that business and government leaders have attached to broadband for our Nation’s economic future, it is surprising that there is no consensus definition of what “broadband” actually is, other than a vague sense that it involves high-speed data transport.The key, in Qwest’s view, is that broadband is designed for, and its demand is driven by, the need to access the Internet or some other information stream or data-rich source.Unlike basic telecommunications services, broadband is not a stand-alone, person-to-person service.Its inherent value is the transmission of huge amounts of data simultaneously, entirely outside the circuit-switched network.While a broadband provider need not offer its own information or content, that provider necessarily is offering an information access service.Broadband is thus functionally different from legacy basic telecommunications.

Whatever broadband service is, there is no question who the current and potential future providers of broadband are.The cable industry is, far and away, the largest provider of broadband services today with approximately a 60 percent market share. As of the end of 2001, there are estimated to be roughly 7 million cable modem subscribers nationwide, in contrast to 3 million subscribers for DSL services.[16]/Satellite broadband currently serves about 300,000 subscribers, and there are approximately 60,000 fixed wireless broadband customers.[17]/

Heavy-handed regulation, particularly asymmetric regulation, has a depressing effect on investment even where current and projected demand for its output is certain and thriving.But the impact on investment is devastating where, as here, there is so much uncertainty about the pace at which demand for the output — broadband services — will continue to grow.As many have noted, broadband has far outstripped prior technologies in the rate of its acceptance.[18]/Nevertheless, while demand for broadband services continues to grow, the level of that growth has recently flattened out.Qwest, for instance, currently has an average 10 percent “take rate” among those customers to whom its broadband service is available, although the figure is as high as 27 percent in some of its markets.According to an ARS research report issued earlier this month, the overall rate of broadband growth in the third quarter of 2001 was 14.5% —down from the 39.5% growth rate measured in the first quarter of 2000, and the lowest quarterly growth rate since such surveys began.[19]/

Not coincidentally, the vast majority of the growth in broadband is coming from the one medium that is not hampered by, but is the beneficiary of, the current regime of asymmetric regulation: cable modem services.Cable providers gained 72 percent of all new broadband subscribers during the second quarter of 2001.[20]/The Yankee Group, a communications industry analysis firm, has estimated that this lead will continue to widen until at least 2005.[21]/Cable’s dominance in this area clearly has done nothing to bring prices down:to the contrary, cable modem providers recently raised their rates.[22]/Nor is there evidence that cable modem services are being deployed in anything but the most dense residential and urban areas.[23]/While EchoStar has suggested that its pending proposed merger would enable it to provide broadband services to target rural areas where cable typically does not extend to broadband capabilities,[24]/ such satellite deployment is unlikely to alleviate the absence of cable modem competition in those areas.Incumbent LECs, meanwhile, have rolled out broadband service in many areas across the country.[25]/Qwest, for example,offers DSL services in smaller rural communities such as Pasco, Washington, Bozeman, Montana, and Cheyenne, Wyoming.But technological limitations currently restrain what can be done without the commitment of significant additional resources — resources whose investment is highly sensitive to the risks of regulatory uncertainty and asymmetric regulation.If such regulatory problems were resolved, incumbent LECs could bring their broadband services to additional communities, thereby facilitating intermodal competition in those areas.Government policy should be geared to facilitating the entry of multiple carriers providing service over different platforms and technologies, so that LECs, cable modem providers, satellite providers, and others all compete to serve customers in the same market.

Unfortunately, it appears that the U.S. lags behind other industrialized countries in terms of overall broadband penetration levels.A recent report prepared by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development indicates that the United States is behind countries such as South Korea, Canada, and Sweden in terms of homes passed as well as actual subscribers.[26]/


As noted above, Qwest has been an early standard bearer in the broadband revolution.But Qwest and other incumbent LECs have been subject to a panoply of burdensome, unpredictable, and ever-changing regulatory requirements that have constrained their pace of deployment considerably.[27]/In particular, the obligation — and, in the case of some newer services or technologies, the potential obligation — to share with competitors part of the capital-intensive facilities that are needed to bring broadband service to customer premises has operated as a powerful disincentive to the enormous investments necessary to push DSL-based services out to homes further from their serving central offices.

As one prominent industry analyst observed earlier this year, in the context of broadband, the unbundling requirements create “a monster problem of seriously wrong policy and economics . . . that offers Bells no incentive to deploy new network elements.”[28]/As long ago as 1998, the FCC recognized that “[t]o provide the advanced services, telephone companies will have to invest in advanced electronics.But the telephone companies have rightly asked, why should we make this new investment if we simply have to turn around and sell this new service — or the capabilities of these advanced electronics, to our competitors?”[29]/Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of current government broadband policy is that since that time, the FCC has done nothing to address this problem — and, by failing to do so, has made it even worse.

A. The Burdens Imposed by Title II on Incumbent LECs Alone

The telecommunications services that incumbent LECs provide are regulated under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.Since 1996, Title II regulation for incumbent LECs has involved, in addition to retail pricing and other requirements that have been in effect since 1934, a panoply of technologically complex and confiscatory (or near-confiscatory) regulatory requirements regarding the physical sharing of and competitor access to incumbent LEC facilities, rules regarding the permissible pricing of such facilities, and the availability to competitors of wholesale discounts.See generally 47 U.S.C. § 251(c).These obligations arose in the context of incumbent LECs’ provision of basic, voice grade telecommunications services, but many of them have been applied or proposed for application as well to the broadband services offered by the incumbent LECs, and to the facilities that they have deployed to bring broadband services to homes and businesses throughout their regions.

Cable companies such as AT&T, and resellers of telecommunications services, have argued that as an incumbent LEC, Qwest is subject to all of these requirements when it provides broadband services.With minimal exceptions, the FCC appears to have agreed.Yet the FCC has not imposed any of those regulatory obligations on Qwest’s primary broadband competitors, including the cable modem providers that currently dominate the market.[30]/This is particularly ironic with respect to cable modem services, given their dominance and incumbency in this service.The results are as follows:



Regulatory Requirement

Incumbent LECs
Cable Modem Providers

Unbundling Obligation?

Incumbent LECs must unbundle and lease to their competitors any facility used for the provision of “telecommunications service,” unless the FCC determines that lack of access to the facility would not “impair” (or be necessary for) the competitors’ ability to provide service.

Wholesale Unbundling Pricing Requirements?

Incumbent LECs must lease facilities at rates based on forward-looking costs that neither allow for recovery even of actual costs nor compensate the incumbents for any risk.
Collocation Obligation?

Incumbent LECs must provide requesting carriers physical collocation at the LEC’s premises at reasonable and nondiscriminatory rates.


Interconnection Obligation?

Incumbent LECs must interconnect their networks with a competitor’s network at any feasible point.

Tariffing Obligation?


Resale Obligation?

Incumbent LECs must offer their services for resale and must allow competitors to purchase any telecommunications service the incumbent offers at retail at a “wholesale discount” rate.
None; more general resale obligation expires on Nov. 24, 2002. 

Network Disclosure Obligations?

Incumbent LECs must provide public notice whenever they make changes in their facilities that might affect the mechanics of their required network sharing.

Illustrative though it is, this list cannot possibly impart the full impact of the myriad obligations, and the very real costs they impose on incumbent LECs.The investments necessary to push their broadband services out further beyond existing neighborhoods are already enormous, because of the nature of DSL technology.Transmitting broadband over copper wire cannot work at locations beyond approximately 18,000 feet.To extend broadband to additional neighborhoods, incumbent LECs must deploy thousands of “remote terminals”[31]/ — structures used to house the electronics that allow them to extend fiber feeder cable out of the central offices and closer to the neighborhoods.
In light of present and possible future FCC requirements,[32]/ incumbent LECs have had to invest in larger remote terminal cabinets.This not only involves additional material investment expense, but leads to increased right-of-way use and related municipal costs and regulation, as well as local government issues regarding the aesthetics of these larger structures.In addition to space concerns, the incumbent LECs are required to resolve a host of technical issues regarding security and access.In many instances, remote terminal deployment has been delayed due to longer engineering time as such difficulties are resolved.Of course, this delay means a delay in Qwest’s rollout of broadband remote terminal services.All in all, even aside from lost opportunity costs, Qwest has spent approximately $3,400 per remote terminal to prepare itself to accommodate remote terminal collocation, and will have spent millions of dollars by the end of 2001 to deploy 1,481 remote collocation sites.And yet, at this point in time, only 2 of those remote terminal sites are being used by only one of Qwest’s competitors. 

Meanwhile, of course, the same competing cable modem providers in Qwest’s service areas would have been able to deploy whatever facilities they determined were appropriate to serve the particular area, as quickly as they could.Qwest therefore enters the race at a competitive and pricing disadvantage.In addition, Qwest’s multi-million dollar investment in the larger remote terminals is simply stranded investment that likely will never be fully recovered.Such costs must be factored into Qwest’s investment decisions regarding broadband rollout; if the return is not sufficient, then the more rational economic choice would be to invest scarce dollars elsewhere.More capital intensive projects, such as fiber to the curb and fiber to the home, that represent the future of incumbent LEC broadband services, are even riskier investments, particularly given the uncertainty as to how the FCC will regulate them and how consumers will respond.

The TELRIC pricing regime that accompanies the unbundling rules heightens these powerful disincentives to investment.At a minimum, the TELRIC standard precludes incumbents’ recovery of their actual investment costs.Worse, as interpreted by many state regulators, TELRIC limits recovery of costs to those that would be incurred to build and operate a hypothetical, replacement network that combines whatever advantages LECs enjoy now (or enjoyed in the past) with imagined efficiencies and technology that have never been, and are not today, available.[33]/For example, the Arizona Corporation Commission is proposing to require Qwest to sell loops used to provide both narrowband and broadband services at rates that are based on the cost of a hypothetical replacement network that does not even account for natural and manmade objects such as mountains and paved roads.[34]/

Furthermore, some state regulators have insisted on using the so-called “standard inputs” from the FCC’s Universal Service docket[35]/ to establish unbundled network element rates in place of real data relevant to the particular incumbent’s network and service area.Those standard inputs were designed for the limited purpose of addressing the relative allocation of federal universal service funds among states, not for identifying the specific, forward-looking costs of a particular carrier in a particular state.[36]/In Qwest’s relatively high cost, rural states, using the average figures produced for universal service purposes significantly understates even the TELRIC-based cost of leasing facilities to its competitors.For these reasons, the FCC emphasized almost three years ago that its modeling assumptions for universal service purposes “may not be appropriate to use” in “determining prices for unbundled network elements,”[37]/ and it has specifically “caution[ed] parties from making any claims in other proceedings based upon the input values we adopt”[38]/ in the universal service setting.Yet state regulators continue to do just that.Meanwhile, notwithstanding its stated commitment to facilities-based competition in general and desire to promote deployment of broadband facilities in particular, the FCC has not taken any action to correct these states’ misapplications of its TELRIC methodology.

A regulatory scheme that requires the sharing, especially at below-cost rates, of facilities with competitors may fatally undermine new and expanded deployment of services and facilities on two levels.First, it discourages Qwest and other LECs from making the substantial investment in, and incurring the risks associated with, the deployment of facilities capable of providing broadband services.[39]/For example, Qwest has begun deploying VDSL infrastructure to many customers in and around Phoenix, providing subscribers with a bundled video and high speed Internet access service that competes head-to-head with cable providers’ combined video and cable modem services.[40]/Indeed, Qwest has already built out its VDSL infrastructure to over 425,000 homes.But as Qwest’s Chairman and CEO recently explained, the regulatory disparity with cable operators and the overall uncertain regulatory climate raises the last remaining obstacle to Qwest’s expanding VDSL to new areas.[41]/Second, few if any potential new competitors will incur the costs to build their own facilities utilizing today’s technology and efficiencies when they can instead purchase access to those owned by incumbent LECs at rates that reflect the technology and efficiencies of tomorrow.[42]/As a result, the market risks becoming skewed away from the deployment of new, independent facilities.

B. These Regulatory Burdens Are Not Appropriate for LEC Broadband Services and Facilities.

Applying this slew of legacy regulations to LECs’ provision of broadband services is nothing more than reflexive regulation looking for a problem.It is in keeping with the notion that competition must be managed at the front end to make sure that it does not get out of hand.[43]/Then-FCC Commissioner Glen Robinson aptly characterized this philosophy as follows: “If it moves, regulate it; if it doesn’t move, kick it — and when it moves, regulate it.”[44]/The 1996 Act, however, endorses a very different policy.As Chairman Powell has noted, one must presume that regulation should follow, rather than precede, competition:[W]e should not withhold deregulation until after competition has matured to some ill-defined level . . . [T]his approach treats competition as a destination rather than as a journey.”[45]/

These principles require government to look before it leaps to a regulatory model that can have such serious consequences for investment.All of the foregoing Title II regulatory requirements stem from the erroneous assumption that the incumbent LEC has monopoly control over a bottleneck facility necessary for the provision of service — a condition that, as we explain below, certainly does not apply in the broadband market.On this same inapplicable premise of bottleneck facilities, all of the Title II rules are designed to ensure intramodal competition, rather than the intermodal, facilities-based competition that should — and, without the current scheme of asymmetric regulation, could — characterize the broadband market.

The incumbent LECs simply are not dominant players in this market; if any providers fit that mold, they are the cable modem providers.As the FCC itself has noted, any power that incumbent LECs maintain over legacy voice communications does not translate into power in the broadband market:[46]/Former Chairman Kennard concisely noted that “broadband is just a nascent industry.The fact is that we don’t have a duopoly in broadband.We don’t even have a monopoly in broadband.We have a ‘no-opoly.’”[47]/As one industry observer recently put it, “[i]n the case of broadband, the Bells are the underdog with considerably less market share.Since when do we regulate the underdog and make it tougher for them to challenge the leaders?”[48]/

Nor is this just a matter of market share; it is a question of what facilities the new providers use to provide their services, and whether access to those facilities is limited in any way. Most new broadband facilities, even when offered by incumbent LECs, are simply not the legacy facilities over which the incumbents exercise any special control.The transmission lines that incumbent LECs hope to deploy to bring broadband to the home and across rural America generally do not exist today.Incumbent LECs will have no more advantages in digging up the ground to lay fiber to provide them than the myriad other providers of fiber throughout the country today.The Commission also has recognized that other facilities used in deploying broadband services — such as packet switches and DSLAMs — are not bottleneck facilities but instead are readily available on the market.[49]/To the extent such services use the last mile copper loop or other legacy facilities that clearly are subject to section 251, those facilities will remain available for the provision by competitors of basic local exchange service; but some newer broadband service technologies, such as fiber to the home, may be designed to avoid the copper loop altogether.Under such a scenario, adapting regulations to technological change and market developments is critical to avoid deterring such investment in new technologies.

In all events, the goal with respect to broadband deployment should decidedly not be limited to, nor even focused on, intramodal competition.Rather, the goal must be the development of facilities-based, intermodal competition, in which government policy is technologically neutral and allows the market to determine where growth is needed and which facilities and services best meet consumer needs.[50]/There is no question that intermodal competition brings significant benefits to consumers in the form of accurate price signals and innovation:in Omaha, for example, where Qwest offers a combined video/high speed Internet access service to customers in competition with the cable modem service offered by the incumbent cable provider, the price of broadband services to the consumer has dropped significantly.[51]/Indeed, no other approach makes sense: as noted above, there are already several different types of broadband service providers using different types of technology, including wireless, cable, satellite, and fiber, each with the inherent ability to provide the “last mile” to the customer.Broadcasters and others may also emerge.Given the existence of all those potential intermodal broadband competitors in every market, it is myopic for the government to impose requirements aimed at promoting intramodal competition in the LEC broadband market, which have the principal effect of handicapping the LECs in their competition against other platforms.

There are already a host of examples of these problems.The FCC’s direction on remote collocation vividly illustrates that regulating before a problem, or the need, develops, simply imposes unnecessary costs that distort the competitive market and deprive consumers of the benefits of full competition.[52]/This country’s long struggle with universal service underscores that lesson, reflecting a raft of subsidies that is now extremely difficult to unravel.These difficulties reflect the simple fact that government-forced deployment of communications networks is unlikely to lead to effective rollouts of services in underserved areas.The government should not repeat this misadventure in the broadband context; it should begin with a presumption in favor of the view that deregulatory, market-based approaches will maximize the opportunities for broadband investment.

As broadband becomes increasingly important for all sectors of our businesses, government, and national economy, the need to promote intermodal competition will become even greater.Chairman Powell has noted that there is an urgent need for a “redundant national network infrastructure” to meet the most pressing challenges to our communications networks.[53]/Broadband policy must change to reflect this national security concern as well as the competitive policies reflected in the 1996 Act.


The Communications Act provides that “[i]t shall be the policy of the United States to encourage the provision of new technologies and services to the public.”[54]/More generally, federal law states that “[i]t is the policy of the United States to promote the continued development of the Internet and other interactive computer services and other interactive media.”[55]/And with respect to broadband service in particular, section 706 of the Act makes clear that the FCC should take a distinctly deregulatory approach.That provision requires the FCC to

“encourage the deployment on a reasonable and timely basis of advanced telecommunications capability to all Americans . . . by utilizing, in a manner consistent with the public interest, convenience, and necessity, price cap regulation, regulatory forbearance, measures that promote competition in the local telecommunications market, or other regulating methods that remove barriers to infrastructure investment.”[56]/

As noted above, the Administration fully endorses these principles.And there seems to be a growing acknowledgment by others of the need to eliminate unnecessary regulatory obstacles to broadband deployment.FCC Chairman Powell has recently argued that “broadband should exist in a minimally regulated space,” and that because “[s]ubstantial investment is required” to develop broadband networks, the FCC “should limit regulatory costs and uncertainty.”[57]/And he has endorsed the view “that we will let the market pick winners and losers and hopefully not government policy.”[58]/Finally, he agrees that “the Commission has to try to comprehensively, and in a more uniform way, struggle with broadband as a thing unto itself."[59]/While these principles are laudable, they will mean nothing until the FCC puts them into action.

Contrary to the claims of the unregulated cable companies and telecommunications resellers, existing law does not require, nor does it even permit, the maintenance of asymmetric regulation of LEC broadband facilities.Indeed, there is presently no distinct legal framework for the regulation of broadband services, such as the ones that currently exist for voice telecommunications services (Title II), radio-based services (Title III), and cable services (Title VI).But the flexible authority available to the FCC under Title I of the Act provides an ideal regulatory framework for the entire array of nascent, competitive services that comprise the broadband market.Title I regulation would permit the FCC to regulate cable modem, incumbent LEC, wireless and satellite broadband services in an equivalent manner.Pursuant to its Title I authority, the FCC could devise any required regulatory safeguards to fit specifically the contours of the competitive broadband market, without the distortion of regulatory asymmetry that results from regulating these various services differently given the nature of the technology used or the identify of the provider.

Under Title I, the FCC has delegated authority to “make available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States, . . . a rapid, efficient, Nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges.”[60]/As the Supreme Court noted soon after the passage of the Communications Act of 1934, that authority gives the Commission sweeping authority to regulate an industry whose “dominant characteristic . . . was the rapid pace of its unfolding.”[61]/As part of the 1996 Act, Congress made clear that under its Title I power, the FCC was to “encourage the provision of new technologies and services to the public.”[62]/The agency has used that authority to create flexible, and in some cases distinctly deregulatory, approaches for overseeing services it classified under Title I of the Act.In this instance, a Title I approach to all broadband services would permit the FCC to eliminate asymmetric regulation of cable modem and incumbent LEC broadband services by eliminating all Title II obligations from incumbent LEC services and facilities.Those services, and the underlying facilities on which they are provided, would no longer be subject to the myriad unbundling and other regulations applicable to classic “telecommunications services.”Moreover, because the market is still evolving, and because the incumbent LECs do not have broadband market power, the FCC could use its Title I authority to forbear from any preexisting Title I regulations that traditionally apply to some incumbent LECs’ Title I services.Instead, the FCC could define a market-based approach to regulating all broadband services by all carriers equally.

This approach is not only consistent with, but is required by, the Act.The underlying principle of the 1996 Act was to spur innovation across all communications media by encouraging traditional providers of one service — local telephone, long distance, cable, and others — to enter markets in which they had no history of service.In promoting this policy, Congress obviously contemplated that because historical providers of one service — e.g., “telecommunications carriers” in the jargon of the Act — would look to provide services outside of their usual realm of operation, they could potentially be subject to more than one set of FCC regulations, depending on the number of services they offered.This policy of neutrality is at the heart of the Act’s pro-competitive, deregulatory orientation, particularly for broadband.[63]/If regulation is appropriate, government must respond to this directive by focusing on the services carriers provide, not the carriers — or their underlying technologies — themselves.Indeed, the courts have repeatedly overturned FCC actions that treat like services in an unlike fashion based on the technology used to provide the service.[64]/As the Fourth Circuit in the MediaOne Group, Inc. v. County of Henrico case put it, “The Communications Act recognizes that some facilities can be used to provide more than one type of service.The Act therefore contemplates that multi-purpose facilities will receive different regulatory classification and treatment depending on the service they are providing at a given time.”[65]/

In the past, the FCC has successfully regulated new services that escape easy and early classifications under its general Title I authority.This approach is particularly appropriate for broadband, because it reflects a convergence of many different providers operating under disparate regulatory “silos.”The Commission’s early experiences with cable and data processing may suggest a framework here.In United States v. Southwestern Cable Co., 392 U.S. 157, 172 (1968), the Supreme Court rejected challenges to Commission regulation of the cable industry premised on the absence (at that time) of any express statutory authority for such regulation, refusing to accept the notion that the FCC lacked authority over cable simply because cable was neither a Title II or III service.And in the context of data processing services, the Commission, relying on Southwestern Cable, asserted Title I authority over other “communications facilities and services not in existence, or even anticipated, at the time that [the 1934 Act] was enacted.”[66]/As a matter of effective policy as well as regulatory symmetry, the FCC should follow these precedents and regulate all broadband services, regardless of the type of provider, under Title I.Such a step would free the incumbent LECs from the unbundling requirements and other legacy regulations, such as those imposed under the Computer Inquiries rulings, that are the principal obstacle to a more expeditious rollout of their next-generation broadband services.

As a definitional matter, it is clear that broadband services involving high speed transmission and the capability for Internet access, including cable modem service and the Internet access portion of DSL service, fall within the FCC’s Title I bailiwick.The 1996 Act defines an “information service” as “the offering of a capability for generating, acquiring, storing, transforming, processing, retrieving, utilizing, or making available information via telecommunications.[67]/Even when offered without a bundled Internet service, the sole purpose for broadband services provided to consumers or businesses is precisely such Internet access.In its 1998 Report to Congress, the FCC took the position that broadband Internet services do, in fact, generally fall within this category: “An offering that constitutes a single service from the end user’s standpoint is not subject to carrier regulation simply by virtue of the fact that it involves telecommunications components . . . This functional approach is consistent with Congress’s direction that the classification of a provider should not depend on the type of facilities used . . . If the user can receive enhanced functionality, such as manipulation of information and interaction with stored data, the service is an information service.”[68]/In that Report, the Commission opined that such Internet access services are “appropriately classed as information, rather than telecommunications, services.”[69]/

Although the FCC has not been consistent on this point and has imposed Title II obligations in connection with incumbent LECs’ DSL services, it has ample authority to revisit its classification of LEC broadband services.It has acknowledged in the past that that it has the power to “change the regulatory status” of a common carrier based on changes in prevailing market conditions.[70]/And indeed, given the absence of any meaningful distinction between cable and LEC broadband services, it may be well be obligated to revisit its prior policy.[71]/All broadband services offered by any provider consist of communications transport and information access.They are properly Title I services, and should be regulated as such.

Moreover, within the Title I framework, the FCC has significant flexibility to design rules that should apply to the new category of broadband services.In the FCC’s Computer Inquiries, for example, the FCC declined to regulate the vast bulk of information service providers, based on its determination that those providers had no market power in a competitive market.[72]/The FCC should use that same rationale in devising the appropriate Title I approach with respect to broadband.Under the FCC’s Title I Computer Inquiries rules as they apply today, so-called “information services,” consisting of a bundled basic communications or transport and an information or data processing service, are subject to certain burdensome regulations when provided by incumbent LECs that are Bell Operating Companies (“BOCs”).[73]/But these rules were designed to prevent abuses with respect to communications services as to which the BOCs were dominant.[74]/In contrast, the incumbent LECs certainly are not dominant with respect to the provision of broadband service.At least in the absence of market power, unbundling broadband communications from the information access portion of the service makes no sense: broadband is inherently an information access service, and all carriers should be permitted to provide it exclusively as such.The FCC thus is free to find that its Computer Inquiry rules either do not apply, or that it should forbear from enforcing them under Section 706 of the Act.

Indeed, Section 10 of the 1996 Act now requires that the FCC “shall forbear” from regulation of Title I, and, in most instances, Title II,[75]/ services by “telecommunications carriers,” where it determines that competitive conditions no longer require such regulation.[76]/In the case of broadband service, the competitive conditions not only do not require such regulation — they cry out for its elimination. 


As Qwest’s comments above demonstrate, there is a genuine need for the Administration to move quickly to end the regulatory asymmetry that is slowing broadband deployment and skewing the marketplace.A new, flexible Title I framework that applies equally to all broadband services and all broadband providers should be implemented, and this should be done quickly.Here, NTIA has an opportunity to help shape the policies and regulations that will influence the future of communications across this country.Qwest urges NTIA to seize that opportunity.

Respectfully submitted,


William R. Richardson, Jr.

Lynn R. Charytan


2445 M Street, N.W.

Washington, DC20037

(202) 663-6000

Sharon J. Devine


1020 19th Street, N.W.

Washington, DC20036

(303) 672-2861

Counsel for Qwest Communications International Inc.

December 19, 2001

[1]/C. Michael Armstrong, Telecom and Cable TV:Shared Prospects of the Telecommunications Future, Address at the Washington Metropolitan Cable Club (Nov. 2, 1998), available at (“Armstrong Speech”).
[2]/Comments filed in Inquiry Concerning the Deployment of Advanced Telecommunications Capability to All Americans in a Reasonable and Timely Fashion, and Possible Steps To Accelerate Such Deployment Pursuant to Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, CC Docket No. 98-146, at 17 (Sept. 14, 1998).
[3]/In separate comments filed today, Qwest addresses the rights-of-way issues raised in NTIA’s Notice.
[4]/Notice, Request for Comments on Deployment of Broadband Networks and Advanced Telecommunications, 66 Fed. Reg. 57941, 57941 (Nov. 19, 2001).
[5]/Jim VandeHei, Bush Set To Name Advisory Panel To Help Shape Technology Issues, Wall St. J., Dec. 12, 2001, at B7.
[6]/Assistant Secretary Nancy J. Victory, Removing Roadblocks to Broadband Development, Address at the Competition Policy Institute (Dec. 6, 2001), available at
[7]/See, e.g., Working Party on Telecommunications and Information Services Policies, Committee for Information, Computer and Communications Policy, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, The Development of Broadband Access in OECD Countries, Oct. 29, 2001, at 13 (“OECD Report”) (observing that 60% of U.S. broadband subscribers use cable modems); The Cato Institute, Broadband and the Markets:  Perspectives from the Investment Community, Forum at the F.A. Hayek Auditorium, Washington, D.C. (July 24, 2001) (statement of Scott Cleland, CEO, Precursor Group, that cable currently enjoys about 71% of the residential broadband market, with DSL at only 27%);National Telecommunications and Information Administration & Economic and Statistics Administration, U. S. Dep’t of Commerce, Falling Through the Net:Toward Digital Inclusion, Oct. 2000, at 23 (finding that 50.8% of broadband households are served by cable modems).
[8]/Armstrong Speech, supra note 1.
[9]/See All Things Considered (National Public Radio broadcast, July 18, 2000) (statement of Scott Cleland, CEO, Precursor Group, describing broadband as in a “state of schizophrenic infrastructure regulation between telecom and cable” that is “contributing to the breakdown of what makes the Internet valuable”).
[10]/AT&T Corp. v. Iowa Utils. Bd., 525 U.S. 366, 428 (1999) (Breyer, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part).
[11]/Chairman William E. Kennard, A Broad(band) Vision for America, Remarks to the Federal Communications Bar Association (June 24, 1998), available at (“Kennard Broadband Speech”).
[12]/See id. (“At the FCC, our job is to fire the starting gun and let the race begin.We should not micromanage the race.We simply need to make sure that the race is fair and open to all who want to compete.Because competition always beats regulation as the way to bring consumers more services, better quality, and the lowest prices.”); Chairman Michael K. Powell, Remarks at the National Summit on Broadband Deployment (Oct. 25, 2001), available at (“Powell Broadband Summit Speech”) (“I believe strongly that broadband should exist in a minimally regulated space.”).
[13]/Public Notice, FCC Initiates Proceeding to Examine Regulatory Treatment of Incumbent Carriers’ Broadband Services, CC Docket No. 01-337 (rel. Dec. 12, 2001).
[14]/The FCC launched its proceeding to determine the proper regulatory treatment for cable modem services over 14 months ago.See Notice of Inquiry, Inquiry Concerning High-Speed Access to the Internet Over Cable and Other Facilities, GN Docket No. 00-185, FCC 00-355 (rel. Sept. 28, 2000).
[15]/See notes following 47 U.S.C. § 157.
[16]/See Bells Make a High-Speed Retreat from Broadband, Wall St. J., Oct. 29, 2001 (citing to figures from the Yankee Group)..
[18]/See, e.g., Victory Speech, supra note 6 (noting that "the pace of rollout for broadband has far exceeded the rates for other technologies and services, such as VCRs, the Internet, TV, or telephones.").
[19]/See ARS, Inc. Study Finds Broadband Growth Continues to Slow, ARS Analysis Release, Dec. 2, 2001, available at
[20]/Comments of Verizon on the Third Notice of Inquiry, Inquiry Concerning the Deployment of Advanced Telecommunications Capability to All Americans in a Reasonable and Timely Fashion, and Possible Steps to Accelerate Such Deployment Pursuant to Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, at 8.
[22]/See, e.g.,Karen Brown, Comcast Hikes Rates for High-Speed Data, Multichannel News, Sept. 24, 2001; James Evans, AT&T To Raise Broadband Cable Rates,, May 2, 2001, available at
[23]/See Jonathan Bellows, Rural America and Broadband, Digital Television, available at (last visited Dec. 19, 2001) (“According to the NTCA, the two most popular broadband technologies in rural areas are DSL and Fractional T-1.Cable modem access has not made an impact in rural areas.”); Brian K. Staihr, Rural America and the Digital Economy:Broadband Deployment, Address at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Sept. 26, 2000, Powerpoint slide 12, figure 1, available at (showing that, in early 2000, 72% of potential residential customers in communities larger than 250,000 could purchase service from cable modem providers, compared to 7.6% of those in communities ranging from 10,000 to 25,000 residents, and just 0.3% of those in communities with fewer than 2,500 residents).
[24]/See, e.g., EchoStar Coup:A Major Reason It Makes Sense, Rocky Mtn. News, Nov. 4, 2001, at 7F (“The reason to approve the merger of EchoStar and DirecTV is to enhance viable

competition for cable — for example, by permitting the combined satellite-broadcast company to ramp up delivery of broadband services, especially to rural areas where it is unavailable.”);George Mannes, EchoStar Offers Regulators the Olive Branch,, Oct. 29, 2001, available at; Erin Joyce, EchoStar, DIRECTV Deal Aims for Digital Divide, AtNewYork, Oct. 29, 2001, available at,1471,8471_912411,00.html; Analysts:Rural Internet Users Could Benefit from EchoStar-DirecTV Deal,, Nov. 2, 2001, available at

[25]/See, e.g., Qwest Launches Digital Subscriber Line Service, Cambridge Telecom Report, Aug. 9, 1999 (describing Qwest’s “nationwide DSL footprint”).
[26]/OECD Report, supra note 7, at 8-14 (showing that, as of June 2001, South Korea boasted 13.91 broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants, Canada 6.22, Sweden 4.52, and the United States only 3.24; and that, as of the end of 2000, South Korea had a 92 percent pass-by rate for DSL, while the United States had only a 50 percent rate).It is also worth noting that South Korea obtained its substantial market penetration in the absence of unbundling or line-sharing requirements.  Id. at 33.
[27]/See Letter from Thomas W. Hazlett, former Chief Economist of the Federal Communications Commission, to Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, Chair, House Judiciary Committee (June 11, 2001), available at; see also Eric Krapf, DSL Market:All Shook Out and Nowhere to Go, Bus. Communications Rev., Nov. 1, 2001 (“When it comes to DSL deployment, regulation is having a hard time keeping up with technology”).
[28]/Communications Daily, July 25, 2001 (statement by Scott Cleland, CEO, Precursor Group).
[29]/Kennard Broadband Speech, supra note 11.
[30]/Of course, the Ninth Circuit has suggested that certain Title II obligations should be imposed on the transmission component of cable modem services.See AT&T Corp. v. City of Portland, 216 F.3d 871, 879-80 (9th Cir. 2000).But so far, the Commission not adopted this approach.
[31]/See Memorandum Opinion and Order, Joint Application by SBC Communications, Inc., Southwestern Bell Tel. Co., and Southwestern Bell Communications Servs., Inc., d/b/a Southwestern Bell Long Distance for Provision of In-Region, InterLATA Services in Kansas and Oklahoma, 16 FCC Rcd 6237, 6358 ¶ 282 (2001).
[32]/See, e.g., Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Deployment of Wireline Services Offering Advanced Telecommunications Capability, andFifth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Implementation of the Local Competition Provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, 15 FCC Rcd 17806, 17851-59 ¶¶ 103-112 (2000) (“Deployment Order”) (FCC soliciting comments on whether to modify collocation rules to facilitate subloop unbundling); id. at 17856 ¶ 118 (FCC soliciting comments regarding how an incumbent LEC can meet its obligation to provide access to a high-frequency subloop where the loop is served through a “fiber-fed” digital loop carrier at a remote terminal); id. at 17853 ¶ 108 (FCC soliciting comments on whether incumbent LECs should be required to make additional space available within all remote terminals).
[33]/TELRIC is especially inappropriate when applied to new broadband facilities.Such facilities necessarily have been and are being deployed incrementally to serve new and emerging demand, which is impossible to predict with certainty.Yet TELRIC has been interpreted to require that costs reflect an assumption that the network is built and sized to serve “total” demand, thus giving new entrants who use unbundled facilities the pricing benefit of economies of scale and scope that the incumbents do not in fact enjoy with respect to newer facilities. Under such circumstances, no rational economic actor has the incentive to make investments in new facilities.See, e.g., Comments of Qwest Corp. in Response to Public Notice, Implementation of the Local Competition Provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, CC Docket No. 96-98, at 16-17 (filed Apr. 5, 2001).
[34]/See Phase II Opinion and Order, Generic Investigation into U S WEST Communications, Inc.’s Compliance with Certain Wholesale Pricing Requirements for Unbundled Network Elements and Resale Discounts, Docket No. T-00000A-00-0194 (Ariz. Corp. Comm’n, 2001) (“Arizona Recommended Opinion and Order”).This Recommended Opinion and Order is included as Attachment A to this filing, and Qwest’s Exceptions to the Recommended Opinion and Order is included as Attachment B to this filing. 
[35]/See Tenth Report and Order, Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, Forward-Looking Cost Mechanism for High Cost Support for Non-Rural LECs, 14 FCC Rcd 20156 (1999) (“Universal Service Tenth Report and Order”).
[36]/See Brief for Respondents FCC and United States, GTE Serv. Corp. et al. v. FCC, No. 99-1244, at 27 (filed Oct. 4, 2000), petition for certiorari dismissed, 531 U.S. 975 (2000)see generally Ninth Report and Order, Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, 14 FCC Rcd. 20432 (1999), rev’d sub nom.Qwest Corp. v. FCC, 258 F.3d 1191 (10th Cir. 2001).
[37]/Universal Service Tenth Report and Order, ¶ 32.
[39]/See, e.g., Kewanee Oil Co. v. Bicron Corp., 416 U.S. 470, 480 (1974) (right of exclusivity in a new technology or product provides “an incentive to investors to risk the often enormous costs in terms of time, research, and development.”).
[40]/See, e.g., Kevin Fitchard, The Battle That Could Spark a VDSL Revolution, Telephony, Oct. 22, 2001, at 56 (describing Qwest’s early VDSL deployments as helping to spark a future “VDSL revolution”).For a technical description of such services, see (last visited Dec. 16, 2001).
[41]/“As Qwest Looks Toward VDSL Service Deployment, It Plans to Raise Its Voice on Policy Issues in 2002,” Telecommunications Reports, Dec. 17, 2001, at 17.
[42]/See 2 Philip E. Areeda & Herbert Hovenkamp, Antitrust Law ¶ 771b (2d ed. 2000) (noting that if the government “order[s] the [incumbent] to provide the facility and regulat[es] the price to competitive levels, then the [prospective entrant’s] incentive to build an alternative facility is destroyed altogether . . . [Loss of incentive to build] could be extremely serious . . . in the case where either the [entrant] or some other rival could enter the market by some alternative not requiring the sharing of the [incumbent’s] facility.”).
[43]/Personal Communications Industry Association’s Broadband Personal Communications Services Alliance’s Petition for Forbearance for Broadband Personal Communications Services, 13 FCC Rcd 16857 (1998) (Powell, C., separate statement) (criticizing view that deregulation is “dessert, something you cannot have until competition is cooked and consumed, rather than a necessary ingredient to competition.”).
[44]/Regulatory Policies Concerning Resale and Shared Use of Common Carrier Services and Facilities, 60 F.C.C.2d 261, 340-41 (1976) (dissenting statement).
[45]/CommissionerMichael K. Powell, Somewhere Over the Rainbow: The Need for Vision in the Deregulation of Communications Markets, Address to Federal Communications Bar Association, May 27, 1998, available at
[46]/See, e.g., Memorandum Opinion and Order, Applications for Consent to the Transfer of Control of Licenses and Section 214 Authorizations from Tele-Communications, Inc., Transferor to AT&T Corp., Transferee, 14 FCC Rcd 3160, 3206 ¶ 94 (1999) (“[I]t appears that quite a few . . . firms are beginning to deploy or are working to deploy high-speed Internet access services using a range of . . . distribution technologies.”); Memorandum Opinion and Order, Deployment of Wireline Services Offering Advanced Telecommunications Capability, 13 FCC Rcd 24011, 24017 ¶ 10 (1998) (noting that incumbent LECs “do[] not currently enjoy the overwhelming market power that [they] possess[] in the conventional circuit-switched voice telephony market”), aff’d in part and vacated in part, GTE Serv. Corp. v. FCC, 205 F.3d 416 (D.C. Cir. 2000).
[47]/Chairman William E. Kennard, Remarks to the Federal Communications Bar Association, Northern California Chapter, July 20, 1999.
[48]/Jeff Kagan, Should We Regulate Bell DSL Services?, Newsbytes, July 10, 2001, available at
[49]/See Third Report and Order and Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Implementation of the Local Competition Provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, 15 FCC Rcd 3696, 3836 ¶ 308 (1999) (“We recognize that equipment needed to provide advanced services, such as DSLAMs and packet switches, are available on the open market at comparable prices to incumbents and requesting carriers alike.”).
[50]/See, e.g., AT&T Corp. v. Iowa Utils. Bd., 525 U.S. 366, 428 (1999) (Breyer, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part) (“It is in the unshared, not in the shared, portions of the enterprise that meaningful competition would likely emerge.Rules that force firms to share every resource or element of a business would create not competition, but pervasive regulation, for the regulators, not the marketplace, would set the relevant terms.”).
[51]/See Matt Stump, In Omaha, Cox and Qwest Wage Three-Way Contest, Multichannel News, Oct. 1, 2001, at 27.
[52]/This uneconomi approach similarly was a failure for many new local service entrants, who entered the market only because of the availability of below-cost facilities and regulatory arbitrage opportunities in reciprocal compensation rules that had not kept pace with technological developments.See Lisa Pierce, Evaluating CLEC Viability, Network World, Sept. 3, 2001, availableat (noting that CLECs’ revenue stream “heavily relies on reciprocal compensation payments”); Letter to the Editor, Wall St. J., July 2, 2001 (quoting Scott Cleland, CEO, Precursor Group, stating that with the reciprocal compensation scheme, “[t]he Telecom Act largely became a government tele-entitlement program where regulators reallocated share from market share ‘rich’ incumbents to market share ‘poor’ competitors.”).In the absence of any true service offering or viable business plan, however, many of these new entrants have now abandoned the market and the facilities they leased from the incumbents during their brief stay.See Richard Williamson, Competitive Carriers, Interactive Week, June 7, 2001 (describing recent FCC orders scaling back reciprocal compensation payments as harmful to CLECs).
[53]/Chairman Michael K. Powell, Remarks at the Association for Local Telecommunications Services, Nov. 30, 2001 (Powell ALTS Speech).
[54]/47 U.S.C. § 157(a).
[55]/Id. § 230(b)(1).
[56]/Section 706(a) of the 1996 Act, cited in notes following 47 U.S.C. § 157 (emphasis added).Although this provision was found by the FCC not to be an independent grant of regulatory authority in its Deployment Order, at ¶¶ 68-69, that conclusion is not necessarily correct, and the Commission may want to revisit it. In all events, the Commission has ample authority to deregulate incumbent LEC DSL services and facilities, as explained below.
[57]/Powell Broadband Summit Speech, supra note 10.
[58]/Chairman Michael K. Powell, Remarks to SUPERCOMM 2001, June 6, 2001, available at (emphasis added).
[59]/Powell Says NPRM Is Needed To Refine What Constitutes Broadband, Communications Daily, Dec. 3, 2001, citing Powell ALTS Speech, supra note 53.
[60]/47 U.S.C. § 151.
[61]/Nat’l Broad. Co. v. United States, 319 U.S. 190, 219 (1943).
[62]/47 U.S.C. § 157(a).
[63]/Section 706(c)(1) of the Act requires the FCC to take an approach to developing “advanced telecommunications capability” that is “without regard to any transmission media or technology.”See notes following 47 U.S.C. § 157.
[64]/See, e.g., Cincinnati Bell Tel. Co. v. FCC, 69 F.3d 752, 768 (6th Cir. 1995) (invalidating FCC rules regulating PCS wireless services differently from cellular services); Southwestern Bell Tel. Co. v. FCC, 19 F.3d 1475, 1481 (D.C. Cir. 1994) (holding that “[w]hether an entity in a given case is to be considered a common carrier” hinges not on its historical service mix but “on the particular practice under surveillance”); Nat’l Ass’n of Regulatory Util. Comm’rs v. FCC, 533 F.2d 601, 608 (D.C. Cir. 1976) (“Since it is clearly possible for a given entity to carry on many types of activities, it is at least logical to conclude that one can be a common carrier with regard to some activities but not others.”).
[65]/257 F.3d 356, 364 (2001).
[66]/SeeFinal Decision and Order, Regulatory and Policy Problems Presented by the Interdependence of Computer and Communications Services and Facilities, 28 F.C.C.2d 267, 268 (1971), aff’d in part sub nom. GTE Serv. Corp. v. FCC, 474 F.2d 724 (2d Cir. 1973).Despite this determination, the Commission declined to assert plenary jurisdiction over data processing services because the computer services industry was “characterized by open competition and relatively free entry.”Id.
[67]/47 U.S.C. § 153(20) (emphasis added); compare id. § 153(46) (characterizing a “telecommunications service” as “the offering of telecommunications for a fee directly to the public”).
[68]/Report to Congress, Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, 13 FCC Rcd 11501, 11532 ¶¶ 48-49 (1998).
[69]/Id. ¶ 73.
[70]/Cable Landing License, AT&T Submarine Systems, 11 FCC Rcd 14885, 14885-86, ¶ 2 (1996).
[71]/Geller v. FCC, 610 F.2d 973, 980 (D.C. Cir. 1979) (per curiam) (holding that regulations promulgated to fulfill a specific statutory purpose cannot subsist without a fresh determination that those regulations continue to serve the public interest).
[72]/See, e.g., Report and Order, Policy and Rules Concerning the Interstate, Interexchange Marketplace, 16 FCC Rcd 7418, 7420-22 ¶ 4 (2001) (describing Computer II and III regime).
[75]/Under Section 10, the FCC may not forbear from imposing regulations under section 251(c) (unbundling) or 271 (incumbent LEC entry into long-distance services) until the Commission deems such regulations to “have been fully implemented.”47 U.S.C. § 160(d).
[76]/Id. § 160(a).