TIA urges quick decision on broadband rules

June 4, 2002
June 4, 2002 -- Association says ILECs are not required to provide competitors with unbundled access to facilities

Telecommunications Industry Association President Matthew Flanigan has sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell, calling on him and the other three commissioners to move quickly in revising the rules governing access to broadband network facilities.

In the letter, Flanigan urges the FCC to act quickly on its pending review proceeding on the policies regarding unbundled network elements (UNEs).

The TIA says that the FCC promptly can determine that incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) are not required to provide their competitors with unbundled access to new, last-mile broadband facilities. While the TIA acknowledges that some aspects of the agency's triennial review proceeding are complex and may take a substantial amount of time, it believes the FCC should rule on this limited issue within 90 days of the receipt of reply comments. The comments are due July 17.

The TIA also is convinced that the conclusion that unbundling obligations should not apply to new last-mile broadband facilities is fully consistent with the intent of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, as well as the interpretative guidance that both the courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, and the FCC have offered during its implementation.

Regarding TIA's request to the FCC, Flanigan noted, "TIA is not new to this issue. We have been asking the FCC to adopt these types of changes for almost three years. Now, the six trade association member High Tech Broadband Coalition, which TIA helped form, has mobilized to also beat this drum.

"Forcing incumbent operators to provide broadband UNEs to competitors undermines their incentive to invest in new technologies and facilities, stifling a potentially dynamic sector of the broadband service industry," says Flanigan.

The TIA is the leading trade association serving the communications and information technology industry. For more information, visit www.tiaonline.org.

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