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Optical/IP

RBOCs Clear (Another) Regulatory Hurdle

LAS VEGAS – TELECOM '04 – The RBOCs have scored another symbolic victory this week against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in their push towards a deregulated industry.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would not hear three cases related to line sharing. The cases – National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners v. USTA; AT&T v. USTA; and People of the State of California v. USTA – all endeavored to force RBOCs to share their access lines with competitive carriers at discounted prices.

Instead, the court let stand the rulings of the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, which said in March that the FCC didn't justify its line-sharing rules as set out in the 1996 Telecom Act (see Courts Overrule FCC Again ). Because of the Bush Administration's refusal to get involved earlier this year, the Supremes' non-actions weren't terribly surprising (see Courts Overrule FCC Again ).

The United States Telecom Association (USTA), which had skin in all three cases the Supremes declined to hear, spoke for its RBOC members in a statement from president and CEO Walter B. McCormick, Jr.: "Today's action by the Supreme Court should be the final chapter in this tortured saga of instability for the industry. It's time for the Commission to set clear, lawful unbundling rules to bring certainty and clarity to telecom."

Of course, the telecom operators are still skeptical that the Commission can accomplish even the simplest tasks.

"As a general manner of principle... the new technology, the IP-based stuff, should be under a different rule book, and we can go forward on that basis," said Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) CEO Ivan Seidenberg, in a conversation with reporters here on Monday. "Of course, I bet you that 90 percent of the regulators would agree to that statement, too. And then they will write rules that will drive you crazy."

The FCC will take the industry stage again tomorrow as it meets to consider several telecom-related topics. The Commission will consider changing the rules governing Access Broadband over Power Line systems. And – does this sound familiar? – it will also discuss requests from BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS) and SureWest Communications (Nasdaq: SURW) to reconsider broadband unbundling obligations.

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

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Toad680 12/5/2012 | 1:11:09 AM
re: RBOCs Clear (Another) Regulatory Hurdle Real competition for DSL and Cable, or just a measure so the FCC can "claim" to have promoted competition.
Frank 12/5/2012 | 1:11:08 AM
re: RBOCs Clear (Another) Regulatory Hurdle It's feasible to modulate the third rail of the Brooklyn Manhattan Transit line (thatGÇÖs the BMT line of the NY City Transit System) and get exceptional reception up to three express stops away. Those are express stops, mind you, not local stops.

And it's possible through piezoelectric means to modulate guardrails on highways and pick up signals as many as three exits away. Of course, in such a scenario there must be bridge jumpers between rail sections, but not to worry, if it can be conceived it can be done. No one needs BPL. The possibilities out there are immense without it, if only people would open their imaginations and practice acceptance just a little bit more ;)

Of course, the fact that the electric utilities that are promoting this latest form of band-aid treatment are only the best situated of all potential comers to do something really influential in bringing competition to the arena.

I guess they've done their homework on the matter, so they're bound to make it work, despite what a growing army of Ham operators and municipal emergency service communications folks have to say about it.

And after all is said and done, they will have brought residential users up to the throughput levels where bonded ISDN lines left off ten years ago. Only noisier.
waveform 12/5/2012 | 1:11:06 AM
re: RBOCs Clear (Another) Regulatory Hurdle FTTH is going to blow away any and all competition, so why even bother...
Let's get real!
gzkom 12/5/2012 | 1:10:56 AM
re: RBOCs Clear (Another) Regulatory Hurdle SBC To Rapidly Accelerate Fiber Network Deployment In Wake Of Positive FCC Broadband Rulings
Thursday October 14, 11:59 am ET
SBC will deploy advanced broadband services to reach 18 million homes in 2-3 years


SAN ANTONIO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 14, 2004-- SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC - News) said today it will dramatically accelerate its plan to build a new fiber-optics network into neighborhoods, providing 18 million households super high-speed data, video and voice services in two to three years - rather than five years as previously announced.
The decision follows a Federal Communications Commission ruling Thursday further clarifying that old rules designed for traditional telephone networks won't be applied to new, advanced broadband and Internet protocol (IP) networks and services. The ruling is the latest positive development and a victory for consumers, who soon will enjoy greater choice of services and a viable alternative to cable companies that have raised consumer prices faster than the rate of inflation.

"The shovel is in the ground, and we are ready to go," said SBC Chairman and CEO Edward E. Whitacre Jr. "Rational rules promote innovation and investment in new networks and services for consumers. And so with this positive policy movement, the delivery of next- generation broadband and video services is no longer at some distant point in the future. The future is now."

Under Project Lightspeed, SBC will provide integrated IP-based television, ultra-high-speed broadband, IP voice and wireless bundles of products and services. With today's announcement, SBC will significantly accelerate its previously planned deployment pace and now plans to reach 18 million homes by year-end 2007. Through Project Lightspeed, the company will deploy 38,800 miles of fiber - double the amount used to build out the company's DSL network - at a cost of $4 billion to $6 billion.

"The path forward is much clearer," Whitacre said. "This is the latest in a series of broadband rulings that demonstrate this Administration and the FCC understand that keeping outdated regulation off of tomorrow's technology will boost jobs, investment and innovation. It will be equally important at the state and local level that the path remain clear of unnecessary regulatory or legislative hurdles."

SBC is leading the way to provide consumers with advanced IP services over new fiber networks. Project Lightspeed will bring customers the speed they need in one-fourth the time and cost of a fiber-to-the-premise-only deployment.

SBC Communications Inc. is a Fortune 50 company whose subsidiaries, operating under the SBC brand, provide a full range of voice, data, networking, e-business, directory publishing and advertising, and related services to businesses, consumers and other telecommunications providers. SBC holds a 60 percent ownership interest in Cingular Wireless, which serves 25 million wireless customers. SBC companies provide high-speed DSL Internet access lines to more American consumers than any other provider and are among the nation's leading providers of Internet services. SBC companies also now offer satellite TV service. Additional information about SBC and SBC products and services is available at www.sbc.com.
outtatelecom 12/5/2012 | 1:10:51 AM
re: RBOCs Clear (Another) Regulatory Hurdle
Here's what you won't hear from any of the
misguided investors in BPL technology...

Myth 1: BPL is cost effective for rural areas.

Despite what the power companies and equipment
providers are telling the FCC regarding the ability
to light up vast stretches of the country that
are currently underserved by broadband access,
the economics of building out a BPL network in
an area where you need many repeaters just to
stretch enough miles to pick up a handful of
users doesn't make sense. Just do the math.
The FCC is being hoodwinked into thinking BPL will
come to the rescue for rural america's bandwidth
needs.

Myth 2: BPL doesn't cause interference.

Not only have the mathematical models shown
that BPL has the potential to cause interference to
existing users of the High Frequency (HF) spectrum,
but actual measurements from active field trial sites have provided real world evidence that powerlines do act like antennas, and radiate unwanted signals up to hundreds of feet in some cases. The NTIA has acknowledged this fact in their study of BPL which the FCC is using as an input to their decision making promise.

Myth 3: BPL interference can be mitigated.

Another specious claim by BPL equipment providers
is that if interference occuring to
Federally licensed users of the HF spectrum that there are techniques to halt the interference. So called notching methods have proven not to work in the HF spectrum. A recent BPL trial in North Carolina was terminated this past summer, and it is believed that the failed attempts at curtailing interference in the Amateur Radio bands contributed to that decision.

Myth 4: The FCC has broad powers to allow BPL to exist no matter what.

Despite the everyone-be-damned approach to business that seems to prevail today, the laws on the books forbid anyone from generating harmful interference to Amateur Radio operators. The FCC has acknowledged this and the result will be provisions in the BPL regulations that
will provide protections for Amateur operators. Unfortunately, for the BPL community who chooses to use HF for their frequency spectrum, there are no viable interference mitigation techniques, so those companies investing in HF equipment will eventually go out of business.

My advice to the power companies, BPL equipment
manufacturers, and VCs throwing money into this losing venture is to cut your losses and get out now. HF based BPL will not succeed. The technology doesn't work, the laws of physics cannot be overcome, the economics don't add up, and the laws that protect licensed users of the HF spectrum are not likely to be changed.

Toad680 12/5/2012 | 1:10:50 AM
re: RBOCs Clear (Another) Regulatory Hurdle You seem pretty opposed to BPL. I have a couple questions for you.

1) Are you personally a Ham operator?

2) What about notching for interference?

3) Aren't most metropolitan areas underground anyway? So you don't have the interfernece. ConEd has a site/blg on the upper west side of Manhattan with Ambient Corp. But the whole city is underground wires, so why not all of NYC now that formal rules are in place?

4) Why don't the economics work? It seems to me that a utility can justify the cost based on live outage detection, automated meter reading, real time pricing and load balancing. The fact that they can lease their lines to an ISP to sell internet, VoIP, and HDTV would seem like gravy, no?

Thanks. Very interested in your opinion.

gps 12/5/2012 | 1:10:47 AM
re: RBOCs Clear (Another) Regulatory Hurdle It's true that BPL has some limitations in aerial networks. This isn't going to help the proposition for making it a solution in rural areas.

With that being said, BPL is going to happen in a lot of areas. Some of the drivers are:

1. It's cheap. The City of Manassas has been pretty forthright on their cost per sub and cost per home passed. Can't remember the exact numbers, but it was cheap. Cheap enough that a power utility can work with an ISP, both can make a little revenue, and the utility doesn't have to enter the retail business. That's a major selling point for power utilities

2. It's portable. In a citywide network, your modem can be plugged into any AC outlet and you will receive the service you subscribed to. Kinda like a wireless solution.

3. It has power utility benefits. This is important from both a political and engineering vantage point. It gives some monitoring capability in the electrical grid that is unavailable from other technologies. This has the political benefit of making it a more "sellable" solution to some conservative power utility boards of directors.

4. The FERC has established goals for distributed energy resources which are going to require expansion of power utility telecom. "1" and "3" above explain why power utilities are going to use BPL for at least some of this.

5. The interference issue will be solved. I think the transition from spread spectrum to OFDM technologies will take care of some of this. Plus, it really hasn't proven to be an issue in places like Manasssas (which does have predominantly buried utilities).

6. Established vendors are getting into the mix. One of the biggest impediments so far has been that the gear is made by start-ups who can't deliver in volume. Activity in 2005 will fix some of that.

By the way, I sell fiber optic equipment. So, no great incentive to pitch the merits of BPL. But, as a power utility customer once told me: BPL is more palatable to the large investor-owned utilities. Even if you can prove that wireless or FTTH make more sense, BPL has a better chance of being deployed because it will be accepted by high-level power utility management as an additional electrical service. FTTH or wireless, on the other hand, will be viewed as an entirely different business venture.
outtatelecom 12/5/2012 | 1:10:46 AM
re: RBOCs Clear (Another) Regulatory Hurdle
>It's true that BPL has some limitations in aerial >networks. This isn't going to help the proposition >for making it a solution in rural areas.

The biggest limitation will be the potential of
generating interference to licensed radio
services. Underground utilities radiate energy
also, albeit at a reduced level.

>5. The interference issue will be solved. I think >the transition from spread spectrum to OFDM >technologies will take care of some of this. Plus, >it really hasn't proven to be an issue in places >like Manasssas (which does have predominantly >buried utilities).

Agreed that where there are undergound utilties the
interference potential is somewhat reduced. Efforts
to solve interference issues at existing trial
sites through the use of notching techniques
has not proven completely effective. While the
service providers and equipment providers
would like you to believe the issues have been solved, there is evidence that interference
has persisted. Note a recent conclusion of a trial
in North Carolina where attempts to mitigate
interference to licensed radio services failed
and may have contributed to the demise of the trial. Spread spectrum or OFDM, doesn't matter,
the use of HF is a key flaw in the design of these
systems.

rjs 12/5/2012 | 1:10:43 AM
re: RBOCs Clear (Another) Regulatory Hurdle I am seriously beginning to believe that one should have ZERO engineering knowledge or at best a D-grade in most electrical engineering courses to be on most of these IEEE steering committees!!

Dudes, there is thing called cross-talk, that is one of the key advantages of fiber over copper, wireless and powerlines. Then there is the issue of Shannon's information limit.
I think it is fair to say that we are talking about scalable broadband deployment/access. If I wanted a 3Mbps throughput I may not be able to use the powerline for this. If I want to limit myself to 100Kbps, may be. But who wants 100Kbps now a day??

BPL is a waste of effort, use the energy and resoources to enable broadband with the right technology. If BPL is to just get over a regulatory hurdle to give the power companies access to homes, then say so and then use whatever is the most efficient medium of providing BW (almost certainly fiber).

Gosh! piezos .... what are you guys smoking??

-rjs
Frank 12/5/2012 | 1:10:42 AM
re: RBOCs Clear (Another) Regulatory Hurdle This is for anyone left out there who hasn't already seen Ham Radio's American Radio Relay League' video collection on the subject of BPL induced interference to licensed bands.

Give a look at the videos on this page, some of which you'll naturally want to regard with a large grain of salt, but on the whole I think you'll find them to be enlightening as to the basic issues at play, if not entertaining in parts, as well:

http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/H...

Frank Coluccio
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