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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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fgoldstein 12/5/2012 | 1:10:21 AM
re: RBOCs Clear (Another) Regulatory Hurdle Last time I checked, Mr. Powell was a regulator
not a cheerleader. This means crafting regulations
that are fair to all, and that enforcing existing
regulations.


Interesting paragraph. The first sentence is wrong -- he is supposed to be a regulator, but is in fact a cheerleader. The second sentence describes his job too, but of course since he's a cheerleader, not a regulator, he doesn't do it.

Now the laws of physics dictate that ordinary power line can't carry substantial amounts of RF without leaking nine ways to hell. Carrier Current radio systems were built around the principle. BPL's essentially a flat-out giveaway of the shortwave spectrum to the power companies, without so much as an auction, with no regard to the ITU Table of Allocations. It's thus flagrantly illegal. Ham band notching doesn't work on any existing system, and the non-notched bands are, of course, wiped out. But that doesn't matter to this administration.

Powell opposes (openly) the Telecom Act, which calls for unbundling. Like Bush, he's a propertarian, which means that to him, the role of government is to protect private property. The public only counts to the extent that they own property. Unbundling is thus "theft". Since his (soon to be former) day job requires him to put up a veneer of competition for the ILECs, he came up with the smoke screen of Intermodal Competition, with BPL as one leg. But BPL's not common carriage at all, so again it shuts out both CLECs and ISPs (unless the power monopoly chooses one to partner with).

Economically, it probably doesn't even work. The signal doesn't penetrate the transformer, so they'll have to climb the pole for every few houses -- possibly putting up a wireless access point on the overcrowded 2.4 GHz ISM junque band, or possibly putting a capacitor across the transformer. For the effort, they could have strung nonconductive fiber optics in their gain atop the poles. That would be real bandwidth.

So I think the primary motivation for BPL is precisely to radiate all over the HF spectrum! Even if ham bands are notched here, shortwave broadcasting is knocked out. And while not many Americans use shortwave as an alternative to Fox, Clear Channel and Sinclair, shortwave is a rare source of unfiltered information in some countries, like China and Saudi Arabia. So those are the main target markets. Of course when there are only two or three ISPs to choose from, and no common carriage left, then it'll be trivial for the US government -- if it's Bush/Ashcroft -- to install filters and monitors (Carnivore already exists) here too, so the Internet won't be a free alternative source of anti-regime information any more. BPL is a necessary part of that agenda, as American as camel pie.
dljvjbsl 12/5/2012 | 1:10:20 AM
re: RBOCs Clear (Another) Regulatory Hurdle
Of course when there are only two or three ISPs to choose from, and no common carriage left, then it'll be trivial for the US government -- if it's Bush/Ashcroft -- to install filters and monitors (Carnivore already exists) here too, so the Internet won't be a free alternative source of anti-regime information any more. BPL is a necessary part of that agenda, as American as camel pie.


Have you thought of trying some decaf?
fgoldstein 12/5/2012 | 1:10:20 AM
re: RBOCs Clear (Another) Regulatory Hurdle No kook fraternity necessary, Mr. Bell.

Media consolidation has been going on for years, with the strong backing of the Republicans -- it was one of the things they put into the Telecom Act (media part, not telecom part) over the objection of the Democrats. The current plan is to make it essentially impossible to have independent ISPs. Dial-up is passe, not competitive, and the Bell agenda (not likely to pass, but still on the table) is to make it all a toll call. What *is* going ahead is making it a toll call in rural areas -- the war on Virtual NXX makes small local calling areas off limits to most ISPs in some states. Only the local ILEC can provide dial-up service, or possibly a small local ISP, but the latter is crippled by the "middle mile" cost of special access backhaul.

So your choice of ISP ends up being the ILEC, the cableco, and maybe, in Powell's warped view, the electric company. As if they don't have a partisan agenda. And none of them are subject to common carriage.

It will still be *possible* for a determined user to access "unwelcome" information, at least so long as crypto remains available (as happens now in China, for instance), but it will be hard enough to discourage mass-market users, who will gravitate towards the web sites given favorable response times. Which is a trivial capability of today's routers already. So anybody who finds out information unfavorable to the regime will be dismissed with a sneer, or called a member of the "kook fraternity".
Toad680 12/5/2012 | 1:10:14 AM
re: RBOCs Clear (Another) Regulatory Hurdle How about taking a look at BPL and putting some of the controversy to bed?

I'll even buy the first report. . .
johnyrosco 12/5/2012 | 1:10:11 AM
re: RBOCs Clear (Another) Regulatory Hurdle
Patent Approval Time Line

Patents Granted to Ambient

Identifying one of a plurality of wires of a power transmission cable
Applied for September 7, 2001 Granted November 11, 2003 26 months

Energy conversion systems using nanometer scale assemblies and methods for using same
Applied for June 20, 2001 Granted July 15, 2003 24 months

Inductive coupling of a data signal to a power transmission cable
Applied for December 28, 2000 Granted September 17, 2002 21 months

Capcitively coupled bi-directional data and power transmission system
Applied July 9, 1996 Granted December 8, 1998 29 months


Patents Pending

Construction of medium voltage power line data couplers
Applied for May 2, 2003 Estimated Approval Date May, 2005

Identifying one of a plurality of wires of a power transmission cable
Applied for March 7, 2002 Estimated Approval Date March, 2004 (now granted)

Protecting medium voltage inductive coupled device from electrical transients
Applied for Nov 13, 2003 Estimated Approval Date November, 2005

High current inductive coupler and current transformer for power lines
Applied for October 30, 2003 Estimated Approval Date October, 2005

Full duplexing for power line data communications
Applied for October 30, 2003 Estimated Approval Date October, 2005

Inductive coupling of a data signal for a power transmission cable
August 28, 2003 Estimated Approval Date August, 2005

Energy conversion systems using nanometer scale assemblies and methods for using same
August 14, 2003 Estimated Approval Date August, 2005

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