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Whoa! Comcast was not expecting this at all, and they're not happy about it. Here's one more, as an example: "8. Comcast shall offer Time Warner's Carrier Ethernet Last Mile Access product to interested [Competitive Local Exchange Carriers] throughout the combined service territories of the merging companies for a period of five years from the effective date of the parent company at the same prices, terms and conditions as offered by Time Warner prior to the merger."
The ruling by the CPUC covers all customers, present or in the future of the merged company, in California. What they're talking about is opening up Last Mile Access. This could be a step in the right direction, but the ruling today is definitely a surprise. It could nix the merger in California, or it could light a fire under the FCC's butts, or it could bring real competition to Internet access in California.
The CPUC is basing their entire decision on Common Carrier law (Setion 706, as opposed to Title II), and, unlike the projected FCC decision (coming around the 26th of the month) the CPUC's decision has all kinds of "teeth" as opposed to the FCC's "Title II, with forbearance" approach. It could get very interesting, very soon.
However, the response wasn't to build-out infrastructure in Wilson or compete on price; it was to try and kill municipal broadband efforts altogether in NC, citing unfair competition. NC's governor at the time, Bev Perdue, had the opportunity to veto the House bill that was introduced, but instead allowed it to become law. However, a new report indicates that the FCC is prepared to side with these smaller towns that ran into roadblocks deploying and maintaining their own high-speed Internet networks. The two towns in question include aforementioned Wilson, and Chattanooga, TN. Action by the FCC would effectively strike down the laws — like those that strangle Greenlight in Wilson — which prevent cities from undercutting established players on price. The FCC is also expected to propose regulating internet service as a utility later this week.
"Rural call completion problems have significant and immediate public interest ramifications," the FCC said in its order on the Verizon settlement today. "They cause rural businesses to lose customers, impede medical professionals from reaching patients in rural areas, cut families off from their relatives, and create the potential for dangerous delays in public safety communications." Verizon has been accused of letting its copper landline network decay while it shifts its focus to fiber and cellular service. The FCC is working a plan to protect customers as old copper networks are retired.
Ars Technica had already reported that politicians have closely mimicked Comcast talking points and re-used Comcast's own statements without attribution. The documents revealed today show just how deeply Comcast is involved with certain politicians, and how they were able to get them on board.
The FCC presently defines broadband as 4Mbps down and 1Mbps up, a definition that hasn't changed since 2010. By comparison, people in Sweden can pay about $40 a month for 100/100 mbps, choosing between more than a dozen competing providers. The FCC is under mandate to determine whether broadband is being deployed to Americans in a reasonable and timely way, and the commission must take action to accelerate deployment if the answer is negative. Raising the definition's speeds provides more impetus to take actions that promote competition and remove barriers to investment, such as a potential move to preempt state laws that restrict municipal broadband projects.