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August 27, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 4:38pm


By CBR Staff Writer

In what may be his last official speech, outgoing FCC Chairman Reed Hundt’s Hundt has attacked the Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) for holding back growth and access to the internet in the US. Speaking to an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Symposium in Palo Alto, California, Hundt called for a new generation of internet to be built from scratch to be a high- capacity, competitively priced, market-driven, unregulated, unsubsidized communications packet-based network carrying internet traffic. But he did not say how the network would be built, who would build it, or what technology would be used. This may be because the real thrust of the speech was to win over the internet community to the FCC’s side in its attempts to force RBOCs to open up their telecoms markets and networks to competition. Hundt attacked the RBOCs for fighting the implementation of the last year’s Telecommunications Act as they bid to defend their monopolies. The FCC’s fight for meaningful local competition isn’t just about whether consumers will have a meaningful choice for telephone service,” Hundt said. It’s also about whether the great mass of American consumers will have a meaningful and affordable and enjoyable opportunity to use the Internet and its services.” Hundt said that dangerous signs of congestion are already starting to appear on the internet, and that the only sure solution to internet congestion was open, aggressive and efficient competition. But the key congestion points of the Internet aren’t effectively open to competition,” he said. These included the local loop, the local switch, T1 circuits, the Internet addressing system, and inside wiring. According to Hundt, unless efficient and competitive markets drive the growth of the internet, its evolution is threatened. Hundt also proposed greater power for the FCC in protecting the growth of the Internet from State regulators. He proposed that the FCC should be given the power to pre-empt any state regulation of data networks and related services, whether the dominant local phone companies or competitors provide them. In the past few months, the FCC has twice seen its jurisdiction overturned in favor of State legislators. Hundt said the FCC would be taking its case to the Supreme Court.

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