CHICAGO, June 7 (Reuters) - The chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission said on Tuesday he was "sympathetic" to the arguments of large local telephone companies that want fewer legal barriers to launching video services.
The comments from FCC Chairman Kevin Martin came shortly after the chairman of Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ.N: Quote, Profile, Research) said the company would not "redline," or discriminate against poorer customers to the advantage of wealthier ones, as it rolls out its video service.
Both Verizon and SBC Communications Inc. (SBC.N: Quote, Profile, Research) are spending billions of dollars to launch residential video services over the next 12 months. They see the move as essential to compete with cable companies targeting their customers with telephone and high-speed Internet services.
Each company says their plan could be threatened by regulations requiring them to get permission for selling video services from many of the cities they're targeting, a process that can take years. Verizon says that of a possible 10,000 franchise agreements with cities, it had so far reached six.
"I'm sympathetic to a lot of the concerns that have been raised," said FCC Chairman Kevin Martin in a discussion during the Supercomm telecommunications trade show in Chicago.
"I think the prospect of having additional competitors in the video service business is important, and we need to figure out how to facilitate that as much as possible," he added.
Earlier in the day, Verizon Chairman Ivan Seidenberg said that cable companies had used the threat of redlining as a "political tool" against Verizon and SBC, which want to compete against cable companies but without many of the legal restrictions.
"We're happy to commit that when we go in and deploy we're not going to redline," Seidenberg told reporters at the trade show.
Many franchise agreements require cable operators to offer service to an entire city or town. Verizon and SBC contend their networks don't follow city boundaries, and that demanding service would burden them with too much cost.
Cable companies and some lawmakers have also accused SBC and Verizon of trying to target wealthier customers and ignore poorer areas.
Verizon has said its fiber-to-the-home project will be made available to 3 million homes and businesses by the end of this year, while SBC says its Lightspeed project will reach 18 million homes by the end of 2007.
"I think ultimately legislators and regulators are going to have to decide, is it fiber to the home or fiber to the rich?" Comcast Corp. (CMCSA.O: Quote, Profile, Research) Chairman Brian Roberts said last month during an analyst meeting.
Seidenberg said stricter requirements for video service made sense when cable companies were the only pay-television provider in a town or city, but competitors typically don't have to meet the same rules as incumbents.
"Looking at cable, when they go into telephony, they don't serve all the customers in the market," Seidenberg said. "What we're looking for is parity of entry of two industries who are becoming insurgents in the other industry."
I did read the incorrect post, treasure. However, "Alph and Derprofits, can either of you explain to me why your party is fighting this" does not suggest that ALL people in the party are fighting it. It does, however, suggest (and I would be, rightfully so) that the Dem party, through its representation on the FCC IS fighting it. I hope you're not naiive enough to believe the 2 Dems on the FCC made this decision completely on their own. So, the "party" is fight it. Even though some people within the party may disagree, his statement did not discuss any individuals outside of the 2 sitting on the FCC.
<<Hey are you getting any you seem to talk about panties alot :) >>
Well, in dermoron, nitwit and alphie's case, if the panties fit....
And, I'm "getting" as much as anyone married as long as me! Thanks for your concern.
Treasure, agreed. We both have the same goal here. But I think the more information you have on your investment, the better decisions you will make. Politics is one dynamic that can affect an investment, especially here. Whether FTTX happens sooner rather than later much depends on the action/inaction of the FCC, who members are appointed by guess who - the politicians. Indirectly, politics has a clear and definite impact on your MRV investment. If policy goes the right way, I think we have may have 10-bagger down the road in MRV. If not, this investment could be less promising.
I only interjected politics in my latest thread because it directly impacts MRV. However, I admit to ocassionally digressing, but only because there's no news on MRV and Alph and Derprofit posts on this board are so stupid, they require a response.
Myopic dem? You could not be referring to me? I have vote for more Reps than Dems. I just don't like the Rep we have now. I think people would say that you are myopic and incomprehensable.
aligning yourself with one of 2 choices has placed this country where it is today. try making a third choice, or remain with the herd and the status quo, or is a third option incomprehensable to a myopic dem?
Verizon presses Bush to name new FCC comissioners
Mon Jun 6, 2005 06:11 PM ET
CHICAGO, June 6 (Reuters) - Verizon Communications (VZ.N: Quote, Profile, Research) , the largest U.S. telephone company, on Monday pressed the Bush administration to quickly fill slots at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission which regulates the industry.
Verizon has a big stake in President George W. Bush filling two Republican positions at the five member agency since the telephone company needs the FCC to bless its plan to acquire long-distance and data company MCI Inc. (MCIP.O: Quote, Profile, Research)
At present, the commission is evenly split with two Republicans and two Democrats after FCC Chairman Michael Powell stepped down in March. Additionally, FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy, also a Republican, plans to leave the agency soon.
So new FCC Chairman Kevin Martin must get at least one of the two Democrats on the panel to vote with him to ensure decisions he wants get approved.
"We need a fully functioning FCC," said Tom Tauke, Verizon's executive vice president for public affairs, at Supercomm, a telecommunications trade show. "It's hard to make bold policy when you have one vacancy and two lame ducks."
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens has recommended his aide Christine Kurth fill one slot and several names have been floated for the other position, including a former Texas state official, Rebecca Klein, and House Commerce Committee aide, Howard Waltzman, among others.
Democrat FCC Commissioner Michael Copps' term expires this month but he can serve until replaced or through late 2006. He has received support from Stevens and the top Senate Commerce Committee Democrat Sen. Daniel Inouye to be renominated.
"Whenever there is a vacancy, we obviously work to fill it in a timely matter," said White House spokeswoman Erin Healy. "We don't speculate on the timing of personnel announcements."
In addition to several large telecommunications deals the FCC must decide whether to approve, the agency must also chart the regulatory course for new technologies such as Internet telephone and video services.
"Though Martin has a remarkably good relationship with Copps and (Democrat FCC Commissioner Jonathan) Adelstein and they are able to move on a number of topics, there are a lot of other pending matters such as mergers and media ownership where there is likely to be disagreement," said Blair Levin, a former FCC chief of staff during the Clinton administration.
"With a 2-2 split, it's difficult for a chairman to move an agenda," he said.
The last two posts show VZ's strategy going forward:
To petition to FCC to adopt new regulations to preempt municipal regulation which is an impediment to FTTX. Having to get franchises from each and every municipality is a logistical and financial nightmare for VZ, SBC and BLS and, unless the rules change, will only delay the rollout of triple play.
For unknown reasons, the Democrat FCC commissioners have been fighting new FTTX friendly regulations the whole way. In the 3-2 vote last November when the FCC ruled that the Baby Bells would not have to share newly installed fiber with smaller parasitic carriers wanting a free ride, it was the two minority dem. FCC's who voted no. (Got that Alph and Derprofits!)
To bring triple play services to America and create real competition and ultimately lower costs for consumers (i.e. between cable co.'s and the baby bells), this new preemption regulation is absolutely necessary.
Alph and Derprofits, can either of you explain to me why your party is fighting this? I'm sure the FCC will make certain that no redlining will be permitted as part of any new preemptive regulations. Don't you Dems see the big picture? Looking forward to your response.