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Letter to the Editor

The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036

To The Editor:

RE: August 13, 1999 article by reporter Steve Labaton

Your recent article, "Fight for Internet Access Creates Unusual Alliances," (August 13, 1999) incorrectly draws the conclusion that FCC Chairman William E. Kennard "has in essence sided with AT&T by formulating a policy that only the federal government, and not local authorities, has jurisdiction, but ruling out intervention for now."

Chairman Kennard believes it is not necessary to regulate open access to cable systems because the market is young and still developing. At the same time, we have no intention of letting cable or any other broadband provider gain a monopoly position in broadband services.

We have been working hard to make it easier for competing technologies to grow and ultimately reach the marketplace. For example, we have made more spectrum available to wireless operators. We have made it easier for emerging competitive local phone companies to plug into the existing phone network in order to provide high-speed Internet access using a promising new technology called Digital Subscriber Line ("DSL"). We are considering changes to FCC rules to help satellite companies provide more broadband services. We have allowed cable companies to proceed with their efforts to deploy broadband access. We have made a decision not to engage in preemptive or prospective regulation because this is a nascent market.

The best way to meet consumer demand for high-speed Internet access is to encourage competition in an open market. Chairman Kennard has repeatedly challenged the industry to embrace the openness and competitiveness that are the hallmarks of this robust broadband marketplace. A decision to regulate at this early stage not only would be short-sighted, but would also be likely to inhibit the investment and deployment of the next generation of advanced communications technologies. We want to make certain that all Americans receive these new services as soon as possible.

Chief, Cable Services Bureau
Federal Communications Commission