There’s far less choice when it comes to broadband providers in North America than in places like the U.K. It’s a difficult market to enter with telecom giants like Comcast and AT&T around. Ajit Pai of the FCC hopes to amend that by reforming some of the hurdles current ISPs weaponize to fend off incoming competition. This would mean that rival services (like Google Fiber) would have an easier time rolling out to more states and cities.
Companies are currently more than able to set themselves up as an internet service provider like AT&T or Comcast, but need to go through the process of asking each ISP to move their utility pole equipment to facilitate the new service. ISPs looking to keep their titan grip on the market typically stall the process, causing these smaller companies to incur increased bills and, eventually, pull out.
Alphabet, Google’s holding company, has likely run into this problem during its attempts to roll out Google Fiber to more cities and states, causing it to propose the “one touch make ready” process that would drastically speed up the moving of equipment from rival telecommunications companies. The idea would mean that only one licensed and insured contractor would be permitted to move another company’s equipment if notice is given.
Several cities that attempted to put the rules into place were met with lawsuits from AT&T and Comcast. Now, Ajit Pai of the Federal Communications Commission has identified old utility pole rules as the major cause behind fiber competition struggling to take place and has issued a statement suggesting he’ll look into bringing the proposed “one touch make ready” rules in at a federal level.
According to TechDirt, however, any rules brought in by the FCC won’t apply to over 20 states due to their own “localized rules.” It’s a step in the right direction for broadband competition, but it’s not a blanket fix.
Ajit Pai has come under constant fire over the last few years due to his stance on Net Neutrality in which he and the federal communications commission (FCC) attempted to give ISPs greater control over the content its subscribers could access through the internet. After a long battle and plenty of headlines Net Neutrality, which was initially introduced during the Obama administration in 2015, was abolished in a move that could have disastrous consequences for online gaming.