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FCC Eases Fiber to Home Deployment

FCC Eases Fiber to Home Deployment

The FCC has removed some of the obstacles standing in the way of local phone companies deploying fiber optic broadband networks to deliver advanced data, voice and video service to consumers. The action relieves incumbent phone companies from unbundling requirements for fiber-to-the-curb loops, where fiber is extended within 500 feet of customer’s home.
It also frees local phone companies from most obligations to lease advanced fiber-to-the-home networks to competitors at a regulated, cost-based price. The agency found these obligations chilled carriers from investing in fiber-to-the-home networks.
The commission wants consumers to be able to experience speeds of 20 Mbs or higher, well in excess of today’s DSL or cable modem services.
“This relief was necessary to restore incentives to make substantial investments of capital, which come with no assurance of any near-term payoff,” said FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy. She noted wireline carriers face “substantial competition in the broadband market” especially from cable operators. Since both fiber-to-the-home and fiber-to-the-curb systems require significant investment, Abernathy noted, she said the rules shouldn’t favor one above the other. “Rather, deployment decisions should turn on business considerations.”
Chairman Michael Powell characterized deeper fiber networks as a “triple play” of voice, video and data services and an alternative to cable.