ISPs Lose Fight To Speed Broadband Access

Internet service providers came away losers this week in
their attempt to force telephone and cable companies to more quickly
rollout broadband services and give competing ISPs fair access to them.

The Federal Communications Commission late
Thursday ruled no new regulatory action was necessary to speed the rollout
of high-speed Internet services. The FCC said telephone and cable companies
were introducing the services quickly enough to satisfy the guidelines of
the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

However, commissioners promised to keep a close watch on cable and
telephone companies to ensure they quickly deploy the services and give
ofer high-speed access to individuals living in rural and innercity areas.

Legislators from rural areas were pressing the FCC to take action, saying
their regions had yet to see any high-speed offerings. The FCC said
companies are making progress and promised to take quick action to speed
deployment if network buildouts in rural areas prove to be inadequate.

Many ISPs are worried their business will be in jeopardy if they cannot
access high-speed networks. They are afraid a few big-name players will end
up controlling the market. Cable ISPs such as @Home do not allow ISPs to access their
network and providers have said regional Bells set their resale prices for
DSL lines too high.

The FCC has promised to take up broadband availability later this year.

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