FCC Launching Phone-Broadband Rulemaking

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The Federal Communications Commission is planning to launch a rulemaking Dec.
12 on the regulatory framework for high-speed Internet services provided by the
nation's largest phone companies.

The rulemaking -- a separate proceeding from the FCC's examination of cable
Internet access -- will be unveiled at the agency's last open meeting of the
year next Wednesday.

Chairman Michael Powell signaled the commission's new moves in the broadband
arena in recent speeches, most recently last Friday.

Powell has repeatedly said providers of high-speed Internet service --
whether cable, phone, satellite, or wireless companies -- should enjoy a
minimally regulated marketplace environment.

As part of the rulemaking, the FCC said it would consider a request by SBC
Communications Inc. -- the country's second-largest phone company -- that it
should be considered a nondominant provider of broadband services and should be
exempt from a range of common-carrier regulations.

Verizon Communications, the nation's largest phone company, is urging the FCC
to drop requirements that force the company to share its broadband network with
competitors.

Verizon also wants to require unaffiliated Internet-service providers to
negotiate access to the telco's advanced services platform.

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