Broadband: “Leased Access” Only Route to Broadband Competition, Following FCC Report On Open Access Petition

Broadband: “Leased Access” Only Route to Broadband Competition, Following FCC Report On Open Access Petition – Company Business and Marketing

With the Federal Communications Commission’s decline to rule Tuesday on “open access” to cable plant by America Online (AOL) and Internet service providers, the strategy of “leased access” is more critical than ever to the future of competitive broadband Internet communication. Don Janke, president of Internet Ventures, Inc., reiterated Tuesday that “there is a clear legal distinction between the ‘leased access’ strategy Internet Ventures is pursuing, and the ‘open access’ plan that came before the FCC.” “Leased access” carriage of broadband Internet is consistent with existing FCC statutes, Janke noted, and he called on cable system operators and local franchising authorities to work with Internet service providers to assure that consumers have access to broadband Internet’s diversity of video programming and information as soon as possible. “‘Leased access’ now becomes the only assurance that consumers will receive competitively priced broadband Internet in a timely fashion,” said Janke. “While ‘open access’ requires new regulation for the cable industry, the legal framework for ‘leased access’ already is in place in Section 612 of the Communications Act,” he continued. “We believe that it is the province of the local franchising authorities to assure that those regulations are properly and fairly implemented.” Internet Ventures, a provider of dial-up and broadband Internet services in 12 Western markets, became the first ISP to invoke “leased access” provisions earlier this month when it applied for carriage on the Spokane, WA system owned by Tele-Communications Inc. (TCOMA). IVI subsequently has applied for “leased access” carriage with Century Communications in Ventura, CA, and with MediaOne (UMG) in Stockton, CA, and plans more applications in the near future. Under existing FCC regulations, IVI would lease a single 6Mhz channel set aside for “leased access” purposes from each cable system to deliver downstream video and information programming. The cost of a “leased access” channel will be defined by the formula prescribed by the FCC’s February, 1997 Second Report & Order. Internet Ventures (http://www.perki.net or http://www.ivn.net), which offers dial-up and Broadband Internet access services to markets in the United States with populations of less than 500,000, currently owns and operates 12 local ISPs in California, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Its PeRKIneta Broadband Internet access system, which utilizes patented technology, offers members the ability to connect to the Internet at up to 256Kbps, a speed that is more than four times faster than conventional X2 or Flex 56 modems. IVI’s current operations also provide comprehensive and market-specific Internet services in Ventura, Humboldt, Del Norte and San Joaquin Counties, CA; LaPlata, Mesa and Montezuma Counties, CO; Kootenai County, ID; Jackson and Josephine Counties, OR; and Spokane County, WA.

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