Supreme Court Decision Favors Wireless Broadband: Vendor

Monday's court decision preventing telco-like regulation of cable companies is a boon for wireless broadband, a vendor maintains.

June 28, 2005

2 Min Read
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Monday's U.S. Supreme Court decision stating that cable companies don't have to make their networks available to competitors will spur the popularity of wireless broadband, an executive for a wireless ISP claimed.

"(The) ruling will inadvertently serve as a boon for wireless broadband providers," Jeff Thompson, president of TowerStream, said in an e-mail interview. "Cable companies can move forward and invest in their current networks and ISPs can start looking for true alternatives not controlled by competitors, such as WiMAX."

The ruling likely will mean that cable companies, freed from worrying about competitors using their infrastructure, will be less inclined to innovate, Thompson said. When that happens, "customers are naturally going to seek out alternatives," he said. Such an alternative will be WiMAX, he predicted.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 forced telecom operators such as the regional Bell operating companies (RBOCs) to give competitors to their network infrastructure. The purpose of the law was to spur competition, although the Federal Communications Commission recently eliminated many of the provisions of that law. Monday's court decision means that the cable industry won't be forced to open its networks to competitors.

TowerStream currently offers enterprise-class WiMAX service in six U.S. cities, although a spokesman for the company said that it eventually could offer service to consumers. Thompson acknowledged his company -- and its competitors -- will benefit from the court's decision. He called wireless broadband the "third pipe," comparing it to phone line-based broadband and cable.He claimed that wireless ISPs such as TowerStream don't have to depend on cooperation from large, established telecom operators as do smaller DSL providers. That will strengthen the hand of the wireless ISPs, he said.

"Because we don't touch the other networks at all, wireless broadband providers don't have to depend on any other companies for their customer service or cost structure, and therefore become truly competitive to the legacy cable and phone networks," Thompson said.

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