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FCC Takes Positive Step in Removing Outdated Regulations

12.17.2015

Background: Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved an order removing regulatory requirements for legacy voice services that no longer are relevant in today’s marketplace.

The following statement is from USTelecom President Walter McCormick:

“We welcome today’s decision to remove some of the archaic rules and regulations that only apply to legacy telephone companies, and have long outlived their original goal of protecting consumers who, decades ago, were dependent solely upon wireline companies for voice service. Today, consumers can choose from among a wide variety of technologies and service providers for voice service, and therefore USTelecom requested this relief last year in response to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s calls to identify legacy regulations that serve no purpose and siphon resources from investment in modern networks. As Chairman Wheeler has said, directing investment toward the new technologies and services that the marketplace is demanding today is “good for consumers and competitors because they enable LECs [local exchange providers] to become more fulsome competitors to cable operators’ dominant position in high-speed broadband.”

The commission’s decision to remove unnecessary rules, such as those tied to outdated definitions making a distinction between local and long-distance service, will enable our industry to better focus on forward-looking investments that will best serve consumers. We are grateful for the FCC’s action today, and look forward to continuing to work with the commission to update other antiquated policies that apply only to legacy voice telephone companies, no longer make sense, impede investment in broadband, and inhibit competition with wireless, cable and other technologies. This is a key part of the chairman’s agenda, and it is one we appreciate and support. Therefore, we will look for other positive reforms that can be addressed through forbearance; will seek action on our petition to declare wireline voice service “nondominant;” as the federal government’s own statistics show; and ask the commission to  revisit its requirement that legacy telephone companies provide voice service in the highest cost parts of the country, unless the commission can provide the “sufficient support” that the statute mandates.

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ABOUT USTELECOM

USTelecom is the nation’s premier trade association representing service providers and suppliers for the telecom industry. Its diverse member base ranges from large publicly traded communications corporations to small companies and cooperatives – all providing advanced communications services to both urban and rural markets.