Consumer groups: Preserve DSL-access rules


Consumer activist groups from 14 states Wednesday joined the Consumer
Federation of America in asking Congress to preserve line-sharing rules for
telephone broadband service.

The Federal Communications Commission voted last month voted to eliminate the
rules, which have required local phone monopolies to lease high-speed
digital-subscriber-line capacity on their local loops to competing
Internet-service providers.

"This decision could have a dramatic impact on the future of America's
telecommunications networks," the groups said in a March 26 letter sent to every
Capitol Hill lawmaker.

"It will seriously undermine competition in the high-speed Internet-access
market, impede the spread of this increasingly important communications
technology and damage the interests of millions of American consumers," they

The groups noted that 40 percent of the country's 6 million DSL users
subscribe to competitors of local Bell incumbents that lease their capacity.

"Before line sharing came into widespread use, there were virtually no
residential DSL lines in service, and broadband Internet service was out of
reach to the vast majority of consumers," the groups said.