US Telecom Association wants 'archaic' regulations gone

A trade group on Monday urged the Federal Communications Commission to do away with some outdated broadband regulations that were written decades ago to deal with voice-only telephones. 

The U.S. Telecom Association — a trade group that represents broadband providers — filed a petition with the FCC asking to be freed from "archaic" regulations that some fiber-based broadband networks have to deal with. 

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The group framed the proposal as a way to increase competition with cable and wireless companies, saying it is "entirely consistent" with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's past statements. They say the relaxed regulations would free companies up to invest in more fiber upgrades. 

Steve Davis, chairman of the board of U.S. Telecom, said some of the regulations cited "don't apply to cable companies or any of our competitors, and to the extent that they ever served a purpose, that purpose has long since evaporated."

The group pointed to a number of regulations they want to avoid, including requirements that companies "separate local and long-distance business, and requiring traditional phone companies to continue the provisioning of obsolete technology."

The group cited a speech Wheeler gave in February in which he noted that a large percentage of investment recently by telephone companies went to "maintaining the declining telephone network, despite the fact that only one-third of U.S. households use it at all."

"The future regulatory environment should be one that is based upon the world as it exists today," the group’s president and CEO, Walter McCormick, told reporters. "That is sort of like the overall theme we think public policy should move towards. This petition is a little tiny baby step in that direction."