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Friday, January 23, 2004

"It's Coming Right at Us!!"
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Shame on Comcast for bringing more competition to the state of Washington. Recent rules adopted by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission require that "local exchange" carriers serving over 2% of the access lines in the state file service quality reports. Instead of just admitting that the application of its new rule to a CLEC was facially absurd and granting Comcast a full exemption, the Commission tossed Comcast a "bone" by mitigating any penalties against the company in exchange for the development of an alternative QoS reporting regime.

The WUTC's actions remind me of an episode of South Park where young Stan goes on a hunting trip with his uncle and his uncle's war buddy. Whenever they see a wild animal, they yell "It's coming right at us!!" and open fire with automatic weapons, bazookas, etc. No matter that the deer, or rabbit, or whatever target it is that gets obliterated is just sitting there minding its own business.

So now Comcast Digital Phone will enjoy an "alternative" regulatory regime originally intended for a monopoly POTS provider. And other CLECs such as AT&T and MCI may ultimately be put in the WUTC's crosshairs as their market shares increase. To other states rewriting their telecom rules, the lesson is simple but obviously forgotten: in a competitive market, deregulate down from previously existing rules, don't regulate new entrants up.

posted by @ 4:28 PM | General

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