Folks at SBC are pretty kicked about the whole fiber decision thing. Following the extension of monopolistic situation, SBC says it will dramatically accelerate its plans to build a new fiber-optics network, reaching 18 million homes in two to three years, rather than five years as previously announced. Under Project Lightspeed, SBC will deploy 38,800 miles of fiber at a cost of $4 billion to $6 billion, bringing super high-speed services to customers in one-fourth the time and cost of a fiber-to-the-premise-only deployment. “The shovel is in the ground, and we are ready to go,” said SBC Chairman and CEO Edward E. Whitacre Jr. “Rational rules promote innovation and investment in new networks and services for consumers. And so with this positive policy movement, the delivery of next-generation broadband and video services is no longer at some distant point in the future. The future is now.” AT&T is mighty chaffed at all this and issued a statement: “The FCC majority seems unable to restrain its preference for monopoly over America’s consumers, business users, and investment. Last year, in its Triennial Review Order, the FCC restricted competition in the provision of broadband services to residential customers. Today, in an unnecessary and unwarranted ‘clarification’ of one of its technical rules, it appears to signal that it might also allow the Bell companies to restrict competition in business markets. The lack of clarity in this order and the inevitable grab by the Bells to expand their monopoly does not bode well for telecom users, industry investment, or the economy as a whole. It is also baffling given prior statements from the FCC in support of facilities-based competition in business markets.” Here are other reactions:
- Om Malik on Broadband
- Optically Networked: It’s mostly the idea of the FCC’s unpredictable swing vote, commissioner Kevin Martin.
- XChange Mag
- Washington Post: Some competitors, particularly those that focus on the small-business market, worry that the pending decision could cut them off from their customers. But an FCC official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the vote is not yet final, said the new policy would focus only on the residential market.