By Kim Hart - 02/02/10 01:01 PM EST
AT&T and Verizon own the largest phone networks in the country. They often own the only lines that deliver service to big office buildings, apartment complexes and cell phone towers. So smaller competitors must lease access to those lines to provide their own services.
The major phone companies say their rates are fair and that there is plenty of competition in the market. AT&T and Verizon point out that new fiber networks are rapidly replacing their old copper ones, so competition is intense.
They warn the FCC that imposing price caps could impede their abilities to build out bigger fiber networks to reach more consumers.
A group of big firms, from insurance companies to car manufacturers, disagree. The Ad Hoc Telecommunications Users Committee says its members spend $2 to $3 billion every year purchasing communications products and services, an expense second only to health-care costs.
The committee has been pushing the FCC for the past nine years to intervene, saying lower telecom prices will allow them to use that money for creating new jobs or investing in their broadband services.
"We thank the FCC for taking this issue out of the shadows and into where it belongs--a functioning, open and competitive market," Corbett said.