Pacific Bell Wins Key DSL Ruling

Pacific Bell
has won a court battle with an upstart telephone company seeking to
offer Digital Subscriber Line service in California.


The California Public Utilities Commission approved a revised
interconnection agreement between Pac Bell and PDO Communications of
San Jose, Calif., ruling Pac Bell did not have to share its lines with
other carriers. The 3-0 vote late Thursday leaves an existing
California policy in place that gives telcos exclusive use of their
lines.


PDO was seeking access to those lines so it could offer its own DSL
service to consumers for less than $50 a month.


However, that policy could change later this year when commissioners
are expected to discuss forcing telephone operators to share their
infrastructure with competitors.


Following the hearing, PDO said it would appeal, vowing to go to the
federal courts if necessary.


The news was met with disappointment from one high-speed advocacy
group.


“(We are) disappointed that the CPUC has declined at this time to give
consumers affordable, high-speed Internet access from Pacific Bell’s
competitors,” said David Wilson, executive director of The High Speed
Access Coalition.


“At the same time, HiSAC is encouraged by the Public Utility
Commission’s appreciation for new line-sharing technology and by its
promise to revisit the issue of line sharing in the near future.”


Wilson also said the group disagrees with PacBell’s assertion that
competitors expect access to its lines for free.


“The only company getting a free ride right now is Pacific Bell.
California consumers are already paying for the phone line and all of
its capacity. If residents want to use their phone lines to send and
receive data through competing high-speed access providers, they
should have the right to do so without having to pay twice for the
same phone line,” he said.


Wilson said PDO had repeatedly offered to pay any additional line
sharing costs that are required by the 1996 Telecommunications Reform
Act.


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