First DSL, Now Cable: FCC Shootin' for a Hat Trick
In a follow up to a post from a few weeks back about possible DSL deregulation, the FCC has ruled that Internet connectivity is an "information service" rather than a "telecommunications service." As an "information service, cable Internet services will be deregulated. Specifically, cable companies will not have to share their infrastructure with competitors.
Though the decision is good news for most cable companies, it will sound particularly sweet to AOL Time Warner, whose merger was predicated on a ruling that they allow competitors to offer Internet services over their cable infrastructure.
However, not everyone is happy: "The move dismayed critics concerned about the increasing phenomenon of media consolidation, in which fewer companies own television stations, web sites and the pipes that bring them to American homes."
Another article quoted Jeffrey Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy: "Instead of ensuring that the qualities that have made the Internet valuable in the first place, the non-discriminatory environment, (FCC Chairman Michael Powell) is turning the Internet on its head by in essence turning it over to these major monopolists."
With this decision, it becomes apparent that DSL is almost certainly headed towards deregulation as well, which means your telephone and cable companies are the only ones who will offer consumers broadband connectivity for years to come.
This of course ignores wireless connectivity, which, though often a superior solution to either technology, suffers from limited deployment because it requires line-of-site. Satelite's inherent lag makes it viable only to customers for whom the other three options are not available.
The FCC is banking that deregulation will lead to a quicker roll out of new technology and overall quicker adoption of broadband services in a sort of less competition equals better service equation.