FCC chairman Tom Wheeler was getting some warm fuzzies Friday for his proposals to make the IP transition as consumer friendly as possible, including requiring cable ops to offer backup power for their phone service offerings and insuring competitive carriers, such as cable operators, can connect with the last-mile IP plant of incumbent providers on “reasonably comparable” terms and conditions when it comes to business — so-called “enterprise” — services.
“Businesses from across the nation, including small corner shops and national retail chains, have asked the FCC to protect their ability to choose a competitive provider during and after the tech transitions," said COMPTEL CEO Chip Pickering. “COMPTEL is proud to have led this effort, and is strongly supportive of Chairman Wheeler and the FCC as it moves forward on a pro-competition tech transitions item this summer. Last year, all five FCC commissioners came together around a set of core values that have guided productive, bi-partisan conversation on the tech transitions, which is critical to our economy, education and public safety."
“The technology transition is not just about legacy copper, it’s about preserving the legacy of competition," said the Broadband Coalition in a statement. "The FCC Chairman’s announcement today recognizes the important role competitive broadband providers have in providing business customers and institutions — including schools, libraries, health care facilities and government offices — with innovation, more choices, and lower prices.”
“Chairman Wheeler’s technology transition proposals clearly make certain that the transition of the nation’s communications network is not an upgrade for some and a downgrade for the rest of us," said Chris Lewis, VP of government affairs at Public Knowledge. "Access to communications networks is a basic necessity to participate in our global economy, connect to adequate education and health care, and call for help in times of emergency. These proposals will ensure that both consumers and network providers understand how to enact the tech transition in a way that leaves no one behind.
US Telecom had some kind words as well, but thought the reasonably comparable requirement was a bit much. The requirement is a stop-gap measure until the FCC completes a separate inquiry into business services.
“The FCC’s proposed update to facilitate these technology transitions should be a helpful step in ensuring that consumers and businesses understand and move through the transitions to newer broadband, voice and data services,” said US Telecom. “Over 75 percent of the nation’s households have already moved away from traditional landline service and this trend is projected to continue. The FCC’s focus on retail customers is important, and we look forward to working with the commission to ensure that they successfully transition to new and better networks and services. We understand the commission’s concern with competition in enterprise markets, but given the degree of competitive service choices available, mandates that new services be reasonably comparable to legacy services threaten to complicate and delay the transition without providing any significant counterbalancing benefit.”