Wholesale Provisions May Make a Comeback

Public Knowledge has news of a rumor that the FCC may be considering re-instating a requirement that carriers make their infrastructure available for lease by smaller, third parties. The basis for PK’s speculation is a study the FFC commissioned to look into the question of broadband competition.

It can be argued that a thriving market of dialup ISPs was enabled by the original wholesale provisions and that the decline in competitive offerings in the broadband space is a consequence of an absence of comparable requirements. It isn’t very surprising that this study’s findings are consistent with this view, one with which I happen to agree.

Based on my DSL experience, though, I will add a warning that the wholesale access alone may not be enough. The incumbents have proven adept at following the letter of regulation while still throwing up considerable barriers that may encourage consumers to choose the incumbent over their competitors regardless.

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