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FCC: Phone Cos. Don't Have to Share New Broadband Conduit

The FCC will require incumbent local exchange carriers--AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink and others--to continue to make their existing "brownfield" conduit available to special access broadband business service competitors, including cable operators, but not require similar access to new "greenfield" buildouts.

That came in the commission's order granting most of the requests of USTelecom in a petition that had asked the FCC to prune outdated rules as telecoms transition from copper to IP nets. The FCC described the decision this way: "No sharing required for new entrance conduits in new developments (greenfields), where competitors have equal opportunity to build. Sharing of newly deployed entrance conduit in existing developments (brownfields) still required, given the advantages the incumbent LECs enjoy in these situations."

USTelecom had wanted both the existing and future buildouts not to be subject to mandatory access in an IP world, while the American Cable Association, whose members included those competitive carriers, thought ILECs should have to share both.

"ACA is disappointed because our view was that the ILECs failed to present adequate evidence to support not sharing their conduit in greenfield areas," association said in a statement.

The commissioners generally supported eliminating the legacy regs, but there were targeted dissents and concurrences, including Democrat Clyburn's dissent from not requiring access to new buildout.

She pointed out that Congress was working on "dig once" bills that would prevent having to duplicate broadband buildouts along roadways and that the same idea applied in requiring access to new builds.

She said the FCC should have done a study of the impact of not requiring access to new ILEC builds, as the FCC does for the "brownfield" buildouts to businesses and dissented from that portion of the order.