CompTel Blasts Bell Bill, Better Titled 'The Broadband Derailment Act of 2001'

Tauzin-Dingell Bill Is Bad for the Economy and Bad for Consumers



Apr 24, 2001, 01:00 ET from Competitive Telecommunications Association

    WASHINGTON, April 24 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- The
 Competitive Telecommunications Association (CompTel) vehemently criticized
 legislation introduced today by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman
 W.J. "Billy" Tauzin (R-LA).
     Dubbed "The Broadband Deployment Act of 2001," the legislation proposes to
 unleash the local Bell monopolies over the Internet though they have yet to
 meet the local market-opening requirements of The Telecommunications Act,
 enacted into law in 5 years ago.
     "This legislation declares war on American consumers and undermines the
 health of the economy," said H. Russell Frisby, Jr., president of CompTel.
 "Make no mistake -- this legislation is bad for the economy and bad for
 consumers."
     Though the 7 Bell monopolies, who have since merged into 4, lobbied hard
 for years to finally get the Telecommunications Act, they later realized that
 their power rested not in open competition but in their control over the last
 mile to nearly everyone in America.  The Bell decision to control the last
 mile is changing what was the remarkable success story of the new information
 economy -- built on the promise of the Internet and open markets -- into
 full-scale retreat.
     CompTel members, who have led the way in the explosion of innovative
 service offerings, new technologies and lower prices, are suffering along with
 the rest of the information economy, and the capital markets supporting them
 are growing fearful that the government will not make good on its 1996 promise
 to stand up to the local phone giants and open the local network.
     "The only thing that this legislation has to do with broadband is its
 title," remarked Frisby.  "Everyone knows that everything from basic phone
 service to super-fast Internet access flows over that all-important last mile.
 And the local Bell companies control that mile -- thanks to the government --
 which cannot be duplicated.  So how can 'unshackling' them from the
 requirements to open that network, essentially closing it off for good, lead
 to more deployment and better competition?  That math just doesn't make
 sense."
     Frisby also noted that the Bell monopolies have made countless efforts to
 undermine competition in broadband, most recently in digital subscriber line
 (DSL) services.  As competitors fall by the wayside, service quality has
 quickly deteriorated, deployment has been curtailed, and prices are rising.
     "As CompTel members know firsthand, the only problems in deploying
 broadband across America have to do with the local infrastructure.  So it
 seems a little odd that the Bell companies say they need long-distance relief
 in order to deploy high-speed Internet access.  We can't say that maybe they
 just don't understand the technology because they've been using DSL to
 provision T-1 lines for years," said Frisby.
     "Congress should not reward more anti-competitive behavior with more
 special favors.  The result will be the exact opposite of what the bill
 purports to achieve," concluded Frisby.  "And do we really want the local
 phone monopoly running the Internet?"
     Based in Washington D.C., CompTel (Competitive Telecommunications
 Association) is the premier trade association representing the interests of
 the competitive communications industry.  The association serves U.S. and
 international communications firms and their suppliers who offer a variety of
 local, domestic and international long-distance, Internet, voice, data and
 wireless services.  Founded in 1981, CompTel members include global and
 national firms, regional carriers and emerging local competitive companies,
 including major competitive local exchange companies (CLECs).  For more
 information, visit http://www.comptel.org .
 
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SOURCE Competitive Telecommunications Association
    WASHINGTON, April 24 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- The
 Competitive Telecommunications Association (CompTel) vehemently criticized
 legislation introduced today by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman
 W.J. "Billy" Tauzin (R-LA).
     Dubbed "The Broadband Deployment Act of 2001," the legislation proposes to
 unleash the local Bell monopolies over the Internet though they have yet to
 meet the local market-opening requirements of The Telecommunications Act,
 enacted into law in 5 years ago.
     "This legislation declares war on American consumers and undermines the
 health of the economy," said H. Russell Frisby, Jr., president of CompTel.
 "Make no mistake -- this legislation is bad for the economy and bad for
 consumers."
     Though the 7 Bell monopolies, who have since merged into 4, lobbied hard
 for years to finally get the Telecommunications Act, they later realized that
 their power rested not in open competition but in their control over the last
 mile to nearly everyone in America.  The Bell decision to control the last
 mile is changing what was the remarkable success story of the new information
 economy -- built on the promise of the Internet and open markets -- into
 full-scale retreat.
     CompTel members, who have led the way in the explosion of innovative
 service offerings, new technologies and lower prices, are suffering along with
 the rest of the information economy, and the capital markets supporting them
 are growing fearful that the government will not make good on its 1996 promise
 to stand up to the local phone giants and open the local network.
     "The only thing that this legislation has to do with broadband is its
 title," remarked Frisby.  "Everyone knows that everything from basic phone
 service to super-fast Internet access flows over that all-important last mile.
 And the local Bell companies control that mile -- thanks to the government --
 which cannot be duplicated.  So how can 'unshackling' them from the
 requirements to open that network, essentially closing it off for good, lead
 to more deployment and better competition?  That math just doesn't make
 sense."
     Frisby also noted that the Bell monopolies have made countless efforts to
 undermine competition in broadband, most recently in digital subscriber line
 (DSL) services.  As competitors fall by the wayside, service quality has
 quickly deteriorated, deployment has been curtailed, and prices are rising.
     "As CompTel members know firsthand, the only problems in deploying
 broadband across America have to do with the local infrastructure.  So it
 seems a little odd that the Bell companies say they need long-distance relief
 in order to deploy high-speed Internet access.  We can't say that maybe they
 just don't understand the technology because they've been using DSL to
 provision T-1 lines for years," said Frisby.
     "Congress should not reward more anti-competitive behavior with more
 special favors.  The result will be the exact opposite of what the bill
 purports to achieve," concluded Frisby.  "And do we really want the local
 phone monopoly running the Internet?"
     Based in Washington D.C., CompTel (Competitive Telecommunications
 Association) is the premier trade association representing the interests of
 the competitive communications industry.  The association serves U.S. and
 international communications firms and their suppliers who offer a variety of
 local, domestic and international long-distance, Internet, voice, data and
 wireless services.  Founded in 1981, CompTel members include global and
 national firms, regional carriers and emerging local competitive companies,
 including major competitive local exchange companies (CLECs).  For more
 information, visit http://www.comptel.org .
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X12267944
 
 SOURCE  Competitive Telecommunications Association