The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted to exempt incumbent telephone carriers from sharing fibre-to-the-curb deployments.
Commissioners supporting the decision called it a step toward consistency with rules that exempt the incumbent telephone carriers, often called the regional Bells, from sharing most fibre-to-the-home network facilities with competitors.
The FCC in its triennial review order finalised in August 2003 argued that the forced sharing of fibre to the home as part of unbundled network element (UNE) rules discourage the four large regional Bells from rolling out new fibre, necessary for advanced broadband services.
"I see no reason why our regulatory framework should favour one type of [fibre] architecture over the other," said FCC commissioner Kathleen Abernathy. "Rather, deployment decisions should turn on business considerations."
Fibre-to-the-curb loops, where fibre is extended to within 500ft (152.4m) of a customer's premises, are covered by the new FCC action. Commissioners supporting the decision said fibre to the curb can provide many of the same benefits, including voice and advanced video services, that fibre to the home can.
The UNE rules, a set of regulations forcing the Bells to share part of their networks at discounted prices, were originally designed to foster competition among telecommunications services by giving competitors to the Bells a way to offer services without building their own networks.
Grant Gross writes for IDG News Service