RealTime IT News

ISP Advocate Appeals to FCC for Open Cable Access

The U.S. Internet Industry Association Friday filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission asking that cable Internet services be required to open their networks to rivals.

Dennis Hayes, USIIA chairman, cited the 9th U.S. Circuit Court's June ruling in Portland as the basis for its filing.

"The court has declared cable Internet to be a telecommunications service," Hayes said. "This ruling automatically subjects cable Internet services to laws that mandate open competition on their networks."

Hayes reprehended the FCC for its inactive stance on cable modem access issues in the U.S.

"The failure to act, and continuing efforts to postpone consideration of these issues, will result in substantial and irreparable harm to the Internet industry and to consumers," Hayes said. "We are asking the FCC to do the job Congress gave it to do; open these services to competition, and do it now."

Hayes said the Telecommunications Act of 1996 specifically requires that the FCC to create and maintain a competitive environment for telecommunications service.

"The Commission has failed to do this in the cable Internet industry, which has limited the growth opportunities for more than 8,000 Internet service providers nationwide," Hayes added. "We believe that the time has come for the FCC to stop protecting the narrow interests of cable operators and open their networks to the competition that consumers deserve."

According to USIIA, cable operators continued to avoid sharing networks with rival Internet service providers. The group said cable operators claimed that it was technically impossible for ISPs to interconnect with cable services, but that technical limitations were false.

USIIA said AT&T Corp. and cable partner Excite@Home contested the results because different cable headend technology was used, other companies have developed systems that share access to cable networks.

Network Equipment Technologies Inc. is multi-service wide area networks supplier used by enterprises, government organizations and carriers in more than 75 countries. Its multi-service WANs and ATM products integrate voice, data, and video traffic with ATM, Frame Relay, IP and ISDN capabilities for mission-critical applications.

Recently, Network Equipment Technologies, ventured away from its WAN-based business core to do business as net.com and release its SCREAM200 Service Creation Manager.

The program offers an open, non-proprietary service manager that enables cable operators, local competitive carriers, and ISPs to rapidly set-up new broadband services. The software works for both digital subscriber line and cable broadband services.

Thirty-year telecom industry veteran Bert Whyte, net.com president and chief executive officer, explained how the service creation solution works, and what it means for broadband service providers.

"SCREAM200 sits at the edge of a core network, either behind the DSLAM for DSL service, or at the headend of a cable system," Whyte said. "Telephones or modems connect to access a network, behind that is the core infrastructure. There used to be a fixed wire at that point, now it's a software program. We provide an aggregation point for independent service providers at the edge of the core network, so customers can determine what services need directly from their provider."

In terms of time-to-market, SCREAM200 takes an 18-month to three-year deployment cycl