North American Network Operators Group

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RE: What do we mean when we say "competition?" (was: Re: [Latestdraft of Internet regulation bill])

  • From: Sean Donelan
  • Date: Wed Nov 16 01:49:46 2005

On Tue, 15 Nov 2005, Owen DeLong wrote:
> 	areas, it's actually illegal.  Usually, municipalities
> 	have granted franchise rights of access to right of
> 	way to particular companies on an exclusive basis.  That
> 	makes it pretty hard for a competitor to enter the market
> 	if they can't get wholesale access to the existing copper.

Where do you think this happens?  Federal law and FCC regulations don't
permit exclusive franchises, and require cities to allow non-discrimintory
access to right of ways.

> 2.	The existing copper was actually deployed (at least in most
> 	of the united States) using public subsidies.  The taxpayers
> 	actually paid for the network.  The physical infrastructure
> 	should be the property of the people.  The ownership claim
> 	of the telephone companies is almost as baseless as the
> 	Verisign clame that they own the data in whois.

Again, where are these public subsidies?  In rural (i.e. non-RBOC) areas
with USDA borrowing authority which I think is actually a revolving
borrowing authority, i.e. rural utilities have to pay the money back?  I
don't think the RBOCs ever qualified for USDA borrowering.

I think you are confusing taxpayers with shareholders and ratepayers. In
same places governments provide companies incentitives to attract
investment in their areas, such as building new factories, etc; but
normally people don't think that gives the government a lien on
the factory.

> 	Semi-regulated monopolies that think they own an infrastructure
> 	built with taxpayer money. (see also 2 above)

Again, I think you are confusing taxpayers with shareholders and

> Huh?  How does this favor one set of business models?  What it does is take
> the portion of the infrastructure that was built with taxpayer money and
> put it back in the hands of the taxpayer so that whatever carrier the
> tax payer wants to buy service from has equal access to the infrastructure.

What taxpayer money, other than the government paying its telephone
bills, do you think was used to build the RBOC or MSO infrastructure?

> Today, nobody can put CATV infrastructure anywhere in San Jose
> if their name isn't Comcast.  Period.  The city sold us out to
> an exclusive franchise deal.  The current bill proposed eliminates
> that.  That's a good thing.

Exclusive cable franchises were eliminated in by federal law in 1992.

Comcast has a non-exclusive franchise in San Jose.  Of course, I live
across the railroad tracks in Sunnyvale, another non-exclusive franchise
territory dominated by Comcast.  Comcast chosen not to deploy advanced
cable services on my side of the railroad tracks.  The original cable
franchises were often divided up into multiple areas in a city, e.g.
Philidelphia has four different franchise areas, City of Los Angeles has
14 different franchise areas.  Cable companies had a phased roll out of
services in different areas over many years.  Even today, cable companies
don't have DVR, HDTV, Voice or Video on Demand rolled out to 100% of their
service areas.

Currently cable companies do not need to obtain a state license to offer
voice or telecommunication services over its facilities.  Telephone
companies, and other cable competitors, still need to negotiated
individual municiple franchises in order to offer video services of
its facilities.