WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 -- Changes under consideration at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) could stop local telephone competition in its tracks, warned leaders of competitive telecommunications providers who met in Washington this week.
Calling on the FCC to uphold the rules requiring Bell monopolies to lease piece parts of their networks to competitors, executives from 22 competitive carriers said "caving into Bell lobbying pressure" could consign 10 million residential and small business customers to higher prices and diminished service offerings.
The executives are in Washington to meet with FCC and Bush administration officials to discuss the threat to competition posed by the impending FCC Triennial UNE Review decision, and the negative impact they believe changes to existing rules could have on the cost and availability of telecommunications services.
Pointing to a study by the Promoting Active Competition Everywhere (PACE) voalition, the executives estimate that by the end of 2002, the number of lines served by UNE-P had grown to more than 10 million, almost doubling since the same time last year. During the first half of 2002, UNE-P was responsible for more than 85 percent of the net growth in competitive access lines.
The providers said they will call on the FCC and Bush administration to step away from efforts to change current regulations that would give the Bells a monopoly over local phone service and advanced services and that would limit ways competitive providers can reach consumers. Companies participating in the meetings include: Access Integrated Networks; Access One; AmeriMex Communications Corp.; ATX Communications; A+ American Discount Telecom; AT&T; Birch Telecom; BridgeCom; Call America; Cinergy Communications; Dominion Telecom; InfoHighway Communications; ITC DeltaCom; LDMI Communications; MCI; MetTel; nii Communications; The Pager & Phone Company; Supra Telecom; TMC; Vartec; and Z-Tel Network Services.