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New Coalition Lobbies for Advanced Services

Posted: 06/1999

Regulatory News

New Coalition Lobbies for Advanced Services
By Kim Sunderland

Advanced services mean big bucks for the local exchange competitors. They are expected
to fuel triple-digit growth of the competitive local telecom market, propelling total
industry revenue from nearly $10 billion now to more than $83 billion by 2001, according
to a report by Chicago-based New Paradigm Resources Group Inc.

So serious are competitors about advanced services that they’ve formed the new
Competitive Broadband Coalition, whose members include the Association for Local
Telecommunications Services (ALTS), Washington; AT&T Corp.; the Commercial Internet
eXchange Association (CIX); the Competitive Telecommunications Association (CompTel),
Washington; MCI WorldCom Inc.; Denver-based Qwest Communications International Inc.;
Sprint Corp.; and the Telecommunications Resellers Assoc-iation (TRA), Washington.

The group emphasizes that full deployment of advanced broadband data services can
happen only when the local market is fully open to competition. They want national
attention focused on broadband facilities implementation efforts, and they are lobbying
federal lawmakers to support what they need to get that done.

"It goes without saying that if you want advanced telecommunications services
dispersed as widely as possible, you need more than a handful of local telephone
monopolies providing them," says TRA President Ernest B. Kelly III. "We need to
make them available through resale at discounts and through unbundled network
elements."

The coalition also is lobbying Congress and the Clinton administration "to
continue to uphold the basic principles" of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which
the group believes should be left alone because it’s working. Several Republican members
of Congress have indicated that they would like to see the Telecom Act rewritten. The
newly formed coalition says that faster deployment of new technologies can happen if
policy makers enforce "the market opening principles" of the Telecom Act.

Competitors have been the leaders in deploying advanced services, says ALTS President
John Windhausen Jr. Under Telecom Act guidelines, competitive local phone companies have
been able to invest in and build advanced networks that support a variety of services.
"To assure the continued explosive growth of these services," Windhausen says,
"competitors need a strong pro-competitive signal from policy makers and
legislators."

The Competitive Broadband Coalition issued a study titled "Facts vs. Myths,"
which focuses on high-speed data deployment, specifically in rural areas of the United
States. The report was written by telecom economist Lee L. Selwyn, who released his
findings May 4 during a press conference at the ALTS ’99 trade show in Nashville.


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