FCC could force AT&T, Verizon to share Internet lines with others

AT&T and Verizon are urging federal officials to abandon a plan that would require them to share their internet lines with their competitors.

The two phone companies warned that arrangement would ultimately deter them from spending money on upgrading their resources and improving users' connections to the Web, according to reports.

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But the Federal Communications Commission, which oversees those lines, has recently signaled interest in the plan, at the beckoning of the Small Business Administration.

These White House officials believe shared high-speed Internet lines could encourage healthy competition between AT&T, Verizon and other firms, which would subsequently reduce small businesses' annual Internet bills and permit them to hire more workers.

However, the two big Internet firms are likely to resist such a change, primarily because it could threaten to steal their customers. Neither was available for comment Friday.