FCC wins court appeal on fiber sharing

August 21, 2006

The FCC's decision that regional phone companies are not required to share newly deployed fiber-optic lines with competitors has been upheld by a federal appeals court.

Earthlink asked the Washington, D.C., Court of Appeals to overturn the commission’s decision. Refusing the request, the court said it was “permissible” for the commission to absolve the Baby Bells — the dominant local telephone carriers — of sharing requirements when it came to new fiber optic networks.

Previous rules, instituted to promote competition, have required the telcos to lease access to their copper networks because they own the lines into most American homes. But, the FCC has refused to apply those same regulations to new fiber lines.

The telcos contend they need fiber optic cables to offer broadband services to compete with cable television operators.

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