INCOMPAS: Huge Win for Bridge 2 Broadband, Competition and Deployment as USTelecom Withdraws Key Parts of “Cut Off” Petition
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 2, 2019) – Good news for broadband competition today, as USTelecom – the trade association for large telecom companies like AT&T and Verizon - withdrew key components of their nationwide forbearance petition. The petition would have ended competition laws that ensure a bridge to broadband for smaller local broadband builders and their customers.
Today’s withdrawal, which includes certain loops and other critical connection points, comes after last week’s announcement to withdraw dark fiber. Some elements of the petition remain unaddressed – including avoided-cost resale, and other pieces such as transport will be voted on at the FCC’s July 10th meeting.
INCOMPAS, which represents smaller, local broadband builders who deploy new fiber networks that bring faster speeds and lower prices to residential and business customers, has been fighting against the USTelecom petition for over a year. The organization ran a campaign to SAVE the Bridge 2 Broadband, which drove over 9,000 customer letters to the FCC.
In response to today’s action by the FCC, Chip Pickering, CEO of INCOMPAS released the following statement:
“Today is a victory for small, local builders who deploy the fiber future and the customers who love their service, faster speeds and prices. The bridge to broadband is essential to building new networks in underserved urban, suburbs and rural communities across America, and we are pleased competition will remain the law of the land.
“We wish to commend the Chairman and other Commissioners, their staff, and the Wireline Competition Bureau for listening to competitive builders and their customers, who wrote 9,000 personal letters to the FCC. They understand what fiber builders need to connect and build-out networks that unite our great country. Certainly it was the FCC’s attention to this matter that was instrumental in USTelecom’s withdrawal of its forbearance request for certain elements critical for next generation broadband services.
“There is still a need for a sufficient transition time to the extent forbearance is granted on any of the remaining elements, and preserving avoided-cost resale is also critical. Innovative offerings, including “one call connect all” services are important for consumers, businesses and governmental agencies. We will continue to advocate for competition and work with the FCC on a deployment agenda that brings faster speeds and lower prices to all Americans.”