Is ‘Naked DSL’ Obscene?
The FCC began an investigation today into “naked DSL.’
The Federal Communications Commission on Friday started to investigate the competitive consequences of what’s known as “naked DSL,” its first serious look at the controversial issue. The inquiry was part of a more focused FCC decision in which it suspended public utility commission regulations in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Louisiana. Those rules had forced BellSouth to sell digital subscriber line service separately from its local phone service to other telephone operators. In the past, the two services had been inextricably linked. The rules had allowed third-party operators to resell broadband access via DSL.
Suspending those regulations sends a strong message to other state utility commissions that might be considering similar rules, which tried to encourage the widespread availability of what’s known as “naked” DSL. The Bells–BellSouth and the nation’s three other top phone and DSL providers–have warned of the possibility of slightly different naked-DSL rules in all 50 states, which would slow broadband growth in the United States and undermine BellSouth’s incentive to invest in the service and the underlying network. BellSouth also points out in FCC filings that some states have opposed naked-DSL rules.
Proponents of the state rules say naked DSL keeps the Bells in check, lets competition thrive and holds broadband prices under control. Naked DSL “protects the ability of consumers to make choices about their local service provider,” Alabama utility regulators wrote to the FCC, in support of the state rules. “Contrary to BellSouth’s claim, the state commission orders are protecting their local customers’ rights to choice among local voice carriers.”
First I’ve heard of this one.