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US ISPs fight for ‘competitive broadband markets’

'Tremendous concern'

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Around 100 US ISPs have banded together to fight for what they describe as the "future of competitive broadband markets".

The BroadNet Alliance is fighting proposals made by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and some Members of Congress that claiming that they would be bad for competition and bad for the roll-out of broadband.

If adopted, the proposals would mean that ISPs would no longer be able to access regional phone companies' networks. The BroadNet Alliance claims the result would effectively create a "closed" system that would benefit the incumbent telcos and would "severely damage the innovative environment of the Internet".

Instead, the industry group wants to see competition - not deregulation for the sake of deregulation - as the focus for policymakers' regarding the availability of broadband services.

The group claims the real problem with the deployment of broadband is that the telcos still control the "last mile" of copper wire that runs into homes and businesses.

It argues that the monopoly telcos use this dominant market position to continually raise prices for wholesale and retail DSL products. And through heavy-handed pricing schemes, it claims they have succeeded in limiting the ability of independent providers to offer high-speed Internet services.

BroadNet believes that any bid to extend the power and reach of these telcos would only lead to higher prices and lower service levels.

Said Maura Colleton, executive director of BroadNet: "Pure-play ISPs are joining forces to fight for the future of competitive broadband markets.

"This unprecedented cooperation among ISPs of all sizes, who collectively serve many millions of US customers, signals their tremendous concern over the direction in which national Internet policy appears to be heading.

"If the FCC allows the Bells to extend their monopoly to the Internet, that would constitute some of the most astoundingly anti-consumer public policy to come out of Washington in years." ®

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