Is ‘Naked DSL’ Obscene?

The FCC began an investigation today into “naked DSL.’

FCC starts to look at ‘naked DSL’ | CNET

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.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. bryan says:

    which would slow broadband growth in the United States and undermine BellSouth’s incentive to invest in the service and the underlying network.

    Given how incredibly slow DSL has been to get to my neck of the woods, I’ve questioned BellSouth’s incentive to invest in the service for a while now.

  2. Tbird1107 says:

    Much of the controversy stems from the Telecom Act of 1996 that requires ILEC’s(i.e.BellSouth)to provide access to its network of lines and switches
    to CLEC’s(small Telcos). BS must sell access at wholesale. As a result ILEC’s may not not want to invest in new lines and hardware knowing that forced competition will keep them from recouping their investment $’s as quickly.

    DSL speeds along copper lines depend on distance from the switches in the CO’s(central offices).
    Remote or rural areas suffer because of $$ returns
    on that investment. This looks like an attempt by the FCC to standardize the regs nationwide.