TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Verizon Broadband Dergulation Contested by Rivals

Verizon Broadband Dergulation Contested by Rivals

Reuters News Wire (
Wed, 29 Mar 2006 16:09:17 -0600

A group representing telephone and Internet companies on Wednesday
challenged action by U.S. regulators that freed Verizon Communications
from rules on its broadband data services for businesses.

The Federal Communications Commission exempted Verizon from scores of
regulations for its high-capacity data business services, including
requirements that it connect to other networks and negotiate deals
with competitors.

Comptel, which represents companies that compete against Verizon, and
Sprint Nextel, asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of
Columbia to review the action last week by the Federal Communications

"We believe that the FCC has abdicated its responsibility to protect
the public interest and instead has chosen to advance the private
financial interests of a single giant corporation," said Jason Oxman,
senior vice president for legal and international affairs at Comptel.

The two Democratic commissioners at the FCC criticized the action,
arguing it could result in higher prices and fewer choices for
customers. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, a Republican, had supported
granting most of the relief the company had requested.

Verizon, the No. 2 U.S. telephone carrier, won deregulation by filing
a petition with the FCC which was granted automatically after a
15-month waiting period expired with no steps by the agency to block

A spokesman for Verizon declined to comment and a spokeswoman for the
FCC had no immediate comment.

AT&T Inc., the biggest U.S. carrier, has said it also plans to seek
similar deregulation as it competes with Verizon and others to offer
services to lucrative business clients.

Analysts have valued the market for business telecommunications at
roughly $150 billion.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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