The Baby Bells won a big victory last week when the FCC ruled that they could build fiber-optic networks into apartment buildings without sharing their infrastructure with rivals. Such fiber networks, with virtually unlimited bandwidth, allow the telcos to deliver television programming and high-speed data in addition to conventional telephony services.
The new rules apply to multi-tenant buildings that house residents and some small businesses. But the rule would not apply to office buildings that have only a few residential apartments.
As part of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, the Baby Bells are required to lease or unbundle access to their copper network wires, which enable telephone and dial-up Internet services. But last year, the FCC ruled that new broadband networks built with fiber optics to serve single-family homes would not be subject to the same sharing requirements imposed on the older copper wire infrastructure.
In March, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, upheld the FCC’s ruling. This week’s ruling extends the reach of the original by addressing multi-tenant buildings, CNET News reported.