BellSouth Wants Into Long-Distance Club

Telecommunications firm BellSouth today told federal
regulators that the best way to speed up the Internet for consumers is
to let regional Bell companies into the long-distance market.

In comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission, BellSouth
said that the FCC should promptly approve Bell company applications to the
long-distance market. Currently, the telco said it is required to hand off its
customers’ Internet calls whenever they happen to cross arbitrary
long-distance boundaries.

BellSouth’s comments come in response to the FCC’s August 6 Notice of
Proposed Rule-Making on ways to encourage the development of advanced
telecommunications services, such as high-speed data links to the Internet,
as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Under the FCC’s proposal, incumbent local telephone companies would be able
to offer advanced services, such as ADSL, on an unregulated basis, but only
if they chose to market such services through a costly separate affiliate.
Otherwise, they would be required to unbundle and resell high-speed
connections at cut rates to their competitors, the FCC said. The FCC also
has proposed giving BellSouth’s competitors more access to its central

BellSouth also made recommendations to the FCC to help speed up the
so-called “World Wide Wait.” They include:

  • Adopt policies that conform to the realities of a competitive
    telecommunications market. Cable modems, home satellite dishes and
    terrestrial wireless facilities can already deliver broadband services
    to consumers without the existing local telephone network.

  • Adopt resale rules on advanced services that preserve BellSouth’s
    incentive to invest in faster Internet connections;

  • Since local phone companies have no real dominance in the provision of
    advanced Internet services, the FCC should forebear from regulating their
    prices as if they had substantial market power.

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