Naked DSL and Open Networks
Om has a piece in his blog about Naked DSL and how the FCC said that states can’t force telcos to offer DSL without underlying phone service. The only reason I agree with this is the “50 different sets of rules” argument, meaning each state has its own rules. Otherwise, I think the telcos should offer Naked DSL.
Personally, I don’t think regulations will be needed to convince the Local Exchange Carriers (LECs) that offering Naked DSL is in their best interest. If the cable companies start offering VoIP on their services, and many of them are, that’s going to cut into the revenues of the LECs. To be price-competitive with the cable companies, they’re going to either have to drop the price of the underlying PSTN dialtone substantially or eliminate it as a prerequisite for DSL. Since most of the LECs either are deploying residential VoIP and/or have plans to, my guess is we’ll start seeing Naked DSL shortly thereafter.
In some sense Qwest offers “Naked” DSL already, albeit in a different sense. I ordered the qwest.net “Internet Basic” service which provides me IP connectivity, nothing more. No email addresses, no web space. No requirement to install “MSN Premium” on my computer. Nothing but raw connectivity with the option for static IPs. Considering my email and web is served eleswhere, this is a good deal for me. Call it “Naked IP access.”
One advantage that cable companies have over the LECs is that the LECs are basically forced to share their wires with competitors. Cable companies, in the vast majority of cases, are not. Personally, I think that’s a bit unfair. Cable companies should be required to share access to their network just like the telcos. It will be interesting to see what the Supreme Court has to say about this when they hear a case about this very topic on Tuesday.