Martin: Remove ISP Access for DSL

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In a speech bemoaning the Federal Communication Commission's sluggish pace at
solving broadband-policy issues, Republican commissioner Kevin Martin Thursday
called for immediate agency action that would include gradual deregulation of
digital-subscriber-line service.

When the Baby Bell phone companies offer DSL, FCC rules require them to sell
high-speed transmission on a nondiscriminatory basis to unaffiliated
Internet-service providers -- an open-access mandate that does not apply to
cable.

Martin, endorsing regulatory parity between DSL and cable, said that in an
effort to promote incumbent deployment of advanced technology, the FCC should
eventually cut off DSL-access mandates for ISPs.

Martin said the nondiscriminatory DSL-access mandate could remain "for two or
three years, but then sunset unless the FCC extends it to all broadband
providers."

Martin's speech was notable because he repeatedly expressed concern that FCC
inaction on major broadband issues may have allowed the telecommunications
sector's problems to worsen -- a comment some viewed as criticism of FCC
chairman Michael Powell, a fellow Republican.

An outspoken Martin, who essentially stated how he would vote on several key
issues, also broke with Powell's informal rule that FCC members and staff
shouldn't reveal policy preferences and outcomes before decisions have been
formally declared.

In his remarks, Martin said he favored banning competitor access to newly
installed fiber-to-the-home facilities, especially in states the Bells have
opened to competitors.

He added that he would also remove line-sharing requirements on the Bells in
residential markets where cable provides competing broadband
service.

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