FCC: We Need More Open Carrier Access for Cheaper Broadband

Ryan Whitwam

The broadband infrastructure of the United States is a little on the poor side when compared to some other nations. According to a new FCC report, the best way to fix that is to open up broadband access and increase competition .  The FCC hasn’t considered requiring open access to broadband facilities since 2002. The principal of ‘open access’ says telecoms, like cable companies, should allow access to their physical infrastructure for competing businesses that don’t own infrastructure. Telephone carriers (i.e. DSL) are required to do this, cable providers are not.

The study was quoted as saying, “The lowest prices and highest speeds are almost always offered by firms in markets where, in addition to an incumbent telephone company and a cable company, there are also competitors who entered the market, and built their presence, through use of open access facilities.” The US is also expected to use stimulus finds to increase access to broadband.

The 232-page report estimates that building out the US infrastructure would cost at least $20 billion, and as much as $350 billion. The wide disparity in cost is the result of uncertainty as to what speed should be offered. The report says one-third of Americans have broadband access at home but do not subscribe, and 4% have no access at all.

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