Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Brand X Loses

Rich Tehrani


Depending on your perspective, today’s ruling on the Brand X case is either good or bad. If you are a cable company that has invested in infrastructure, you are happy you will not have to share your lines. Of course this is bad for consumers. The FCC said that broadband over cable was an information service back in March of 2002 meaning that cable companies would not have to share their internet connections with other ISPs. Today the Supreme Court agreed with the FCC in the famous Brand X case.

Next up is DSL and phone companies want to make sure there is no competition over these lines either. It seems that consumers are going to have less and less broadband competition going forward. The FCC has already ruled that fiber deployed by ILECs will not have to be shared. What we will be left with are two competitors, ILECs and cable companies with the potential for broadband over power line and WiMAX making some sort of competitive dent.

Many argue that two competitors does not provide adequate competition and it is difficult to argue with this premise. The good news? Consumers can rest assured that if they want competition for internet service, they can always go back to dial up.

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