WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2006 -- The Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council yesterday urged Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to remove what it said are often illegal barriers to deployment of next-generation broadband communications infrastructure.
The FTTH Council is a non-profit organization established in 2001 to educate the public on the opportunities and benefits of fiber-to-the-home solutions. Its members represent all areas of broadband industries, including telecommunications, computing, networking, system integration and engineering, as well as traditional telecommunications service providers, utilities and municipalities.
In a filing submitted to the FCC, the FTTH Council said there is evidence that burdens often imposed on the acquisition of cable television franchises harm consumers, slow next-generation broadband deployment and violate federal telecommunications law. Among the obstacles cited by the council were: lengthy negotiating periods of six to 30 months, level-playing field laws (which serve to protect established franchisees and deter competition), requirements to extend networks beyond economic limits, requirements to move aerial equipment underground and imposition of unrelated fees and costs. The council called on the FCC to adopt regulations removing these barriers.
And in testimony given to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, the FTTH Council defended the rights of municipal governments to provide broadband services. Noting that municipal broadband networks often cater to citizens who would otherwise have inadequate services, the FTTH Council urged support for legislation prohibiting restrictions on municipal broadband authored by Senators Frank Lautenberg (N.J.) and John McCain (Ariz.).
"We believe municipalities and private sector broadband providers should work together to ensure national coverage of next-generation optical broadband," said FTTH Council Senior Vice President Joseph P. Savage. "It is in the interest of the United States to have the world's most advanced communications network, and removing barriers to franchising and municipal broadband will help move us toward that goal."
According to the council, FTTH in the US has grown dramatically in recent years and now exists in over 654 communities in 46 states. However, the US still has less than 3 percent of homes passed with fiber and is falling further behind countries such as Japan, Korea and Sweden. The FTTH Council will discuss these recommendations further with national policymakers during its quarterly meeting Feb. 27-March 1 in Washington.
For more information, visit: www.ftthcouncil.org