The battle with the telephone monopolies continues unabated. Yesterday, the Republican-controlled FCC acted on two major fronts: the rules that govern local telephone competition, and those governing broadband internet.
Amazingly, one Republican turned the tables and, along with the Democrats, voted to maintain the state regulations that allow competing companies to lease Bell lines to provide local service. (I use a competitive phone service myself. A company leases the lines from Verizon, then re-sells service to me at a lower price.) Billy Tauzin (R-LA) is pretty hot about it. The poor loser is quoted in The Washington Post:
“Ironically, as President Bush campaigned around the country on behalf of a promising new program to create more jobs and more opportunities, a renegade Republican at the FCC assured the continuation of a tired old program that will only create more layoffs and more misery for working families in the future,” Tauzin said.
Sure, and if the Bell companies are put back into a monopoly position, the other companies will go out of business and customers will instantly pay at least 10% more on local phone service… and more every year. That’ll help working families and reduce layoffs. How would stifling competition create more jobs or more opportunities?
Now, the second part: bad news. They swept away the rules governing broadband access. Nearly all DSL connections use the phone company’s wires, no matter what company you get your service from. Now, the phone comany will no longer be required to allow those companies to use their wires. Expect all DSL providers other than the phone monopoly to begin going out of business. If you want DSL, you’ll have to get it from the phone company at high prices with horrible service. The ruling also applies to cable companies, who will not be required to allow other service providers over their cable lines. Again, you’re stuck with the lackluster service and high price of the cable monopoly. Don’t subscribe to cable TV? You’ll pay a lot more. (I have cable broadband service, but I don’t subscribe to their TV service. I pay nearly twice as much for the broadband than those who also get the TV service. Unfair. Unbelieveable. Should be illegal. But not while Powell runs the FCC.)
Everytime Republicans make a move, it boggles the mind. Since day 1, when the Bush administration deep-sixed the Microsoft trial, it’s been made clear that they prefer monopolies, high prices, and a stagnant marketplace that benefits a few highly placed and highly paid CEOs. Just as in their social agenda, the Republican business agenda is devoid of diversity.
PostScript: I just read in the Post that MY telephone provider is going out of business and now I have to find a new one. This SUCKS.