Statement by The Heartland Institute on December 15 FCC Ruling

Published December 15, 2004

(Chicago, IL) On December 15, the Federal Communications Commission(FCC) issued new rules regarding mandatory facilities sharing by incumbent telecoms (the so-called “Baby Bells”).

Steve Titch, senior fellow for technology issues for The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Heartland’s monthly newsletter, Information Technology & Telecommunication News, had the following to say on today’s order:

“The Federal Communications Commission today made its fourth effort to find a legal way to compel companies to share their property and assets with head-to-head competitors without fair compensation. It is likely the courts will strike down this attempt just as they did the first three.

“Despite convoluted attempts to define competitive ‘impairment,’ the latest revision of the FCC’s Unbundled Network Element (UNE) rules still aims to protect competitors, not stimulate competition. It is dismaying to see FCC Chairman Michael Powell cling to the idea that line-sharing arrangements are the only way to create competition, even as he acknowledges that wireless, cable, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) offer consumers choice and value unimagined at the time the 1996 Telecom Act was passed.”

Steven Titch is managing editor of IT Update, a monthly publication of The Heartland Institute addressing telecom and technology issues. His email address is [email protected].