FCC Action Will Encourage Wireless Broadband: WISP - InformationWeek

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FCC Action Will Encourage Wireless Broadband: WISP

FCC action this week will allow both incumbent and competitive telecoms to raise rates, which will encourage migration to WiMAX and similar technologies, a wireless ISP claims.

Wireless broadband will become increasingly attractive because of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) action this week to amend the Telecom Act of 1996, a wireless ISP said Thursday.

The FCC changed its regulations that required incumbent telecom companies, primarily the old Bell operating companies, to subsidize their competitors. That, in turn, will lead to higher prices for enterprise-class access such as T1 and DS3 loops, according to wireless ISP TowerStream.

"The only way to avoid the impending rise in prices is to bypass wires altogether," TowerStream said in a statement. That company provides pre-WiMAX wireless broadband to enterprises in five major metropolitan areas in the U.S.

Some observers said the FCC's vote will be a blow to so-called Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs). The Telecom Act attempted to increase competition by requiring incumbent carriers, known as ILECs, to allow CLECs to use their infrastructure equipment and to, essentially, subsidize the competitors.

TowerStream's COO, Jeff Thompson, said that wireless broadband bypasses both the CLECs and ILECs.

"The FCC ruling casts uncertainty over the CLEC industry for months and perhaps years to come," Thompson said in a statement. "Subsidies have been steadily declining, and have now reached the point where ILECs will have no constraints to raise their T1 prices in dense urban areas."

Wireless broadband vendors like TowerStream don't use any incumbent facilities and, therefore, can keep prices down, Thompson said.

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