Magazine article The Small Business Advocate

Advocacy Asks FCC to Conduct Rulemaking on Fate of Copper Telephone Lines

Magazine article The Small Business Advocate

Advocacy Asks FCC to Conduct Rulemaking on Fate of Copper Telephone Lines

Article excerpt

On May 10 the Office of Advocacy sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asking the agency to open a rulemaking to examine fully the "retirement" of copper telephone lines by incumbent telecommunications companies. Advocacy sent the letter in response to small telecom companies' concerns about the sharp increase in petitions for copper retirement. These companies have also petitioned the FCC to open a rulemaking to explore how the copper retirement process will affect their businesses.

Today, most telecommunications services are offered over the network of copper telephone lines built during the previous century. Now, however, companies are transitioning to a fiber optic network which enables them to provide higher speeds and bandwidths for advanced technologies. With this in mind, various incumbent telecom companies have begun to retire portions of their copper network in order to focus on their fiber deployment. These carriers plan, eventually, to roll out an extended network based on fiber technology to replace the copper network. Currently, incumbent telecom companies need only petition the FCC for permission to remove the copper network for particular markets. The number of such petitions has risen dramatically in recent months.

One of the difficulties with the transition to fiber is that many small telecom companies still rely on the original communications framework to provide services to their customers, many of which are small businesses. …

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