Computer Industry and Regional Telephone Firms Join Together to Accelerate Widespread Availability of Fast Internet Services to Consumers


Computer Industry and Regional Telephone Firms Join Together to Accelerate Widespread Availability of Fast Internet Services to Consumers

Companies to Present Landmark Broadband Access Proposal to FCC

December 7, 1998

Media contact:  
John Schneidawind, BellSouth Public Relations (202)463-4183;
Bill McCloskey, BellSouth Public Relations (202)463-4129;
Cherry Kinlaw, Public Relations Manager, Consumer Products, Compaq Computer Corporation (281)927-8167;
Greg Lund, Gateway Country Public Relations (605)232-1757;
William Giles, Intel Public Relations (503)264-7550;
David Schlosser, SBC Public Relations (202)326-8844;
Susan Butta, Bell Atlantic Public Relations (202)336-7883;
Nancy Bernstrom, U S West Public Relations (202)429-3105;
Bob Bishop, GTE Public Relations (202)463-5206;
Alison O'Brien, Waggoner/Edstrom Public Relations for Microsoft (503)245-0905;
Fiona Branton, ITIC (202)626-5751;
Linda Bloss-Baum, BSA (202)872-5500

Click here to view Letter from Computer Industry and Telephone Companies to Chairman Kennard.

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 -- Major computer industry and telephone companies today announced completion of a unified proposal to be presented to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The goal of this proposal is to speed availability of high-speed Internet access services, such as ADSL. The companies involved include: Bell Atlantic, BellSouth, Compaq Computer Corporation, Gateway, GTE, Intel, Microsoft, SBC, and US West. Also in the alliance are the Information Technology Industry Council and the Business Software Alliance.

The companies will present this proposal today to the FCC as a means of encouraging telephone company investment in high-speed services for consumers.

Today's proposal, once adopted by the FCC, would establish a set of ground rules that support rapid investment in high-speed infrastructure by the telephone companies while ensuring a competitive playing field. The FCC has an open proceeding on making advanced telecommunications services available to American consumers as required by the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

"Today's announcement marks a significant win for consumers," said Rod Schrock, Senior Vice President and Group General Manager, Consumer Products Group, Compaq Computer Corporation. "Our customers tell us they are clamoring for faster Internet connections. This proposal will ultimately give consumers the fastest Internet experience possible by accelerating deployment of high- speed ADSL Internet access."

"The leading computer industry companies realize that regulation of bandwidth deployment is their problem, too," said William Reddersen, BellSouth's Group President, Value Added Services. "They also realize that the more incentives we have to deploy faster Internet pipes, the sooner consumers can benefit from advanced communications and information services delivered over the Internet."

"This agreement represents another significant step towards Intel's goal of widespread deployment of affordable broadband services," said Les Vadasz, Senior Vice President, Corporate Business Development, Intel Corporation. "Recently, a cross industry effort successfully defined and delivered a global, low cost, consumer-friendly ADSL standard, known as G.Lite (G.992.2). Today's agreement on these principles should provide a catalyst for the adoption of regulatory policies that will both foster the efforts of the new competitors and strengthen the local telephone companies' investment incentives to offer G.Lite and other broadband services."

"I applaud the efforts of these companies to speed the availability and lower the cost of high-speed Internet connections for Americans, said Henry Geller, former head of the National Telecommunications Information Administration and former FCC general counsel. "This is a fine example of cross-industry collaboration and we urge the FCC to support this private sector initiative."

The initiative comes one week after the White House announced an effort with the FCC, Commerce Department and U.S. Trade Representative to push for increased private investment in high-speed networks so that consumers and businesses can be free from slow Internet service.

The principles of the proposal are being presented to the FCC in meetings between FCC Commissioners and officials from the computer and telephone industries. The key points of the proposal include:

  • The promotion of competition in the local exchange data communications market;

  • Incumbent telephone companies will give competitors greater access to their central offices;

  • All Internet service providers will continue to have access to the broadband networks of the telephone companies;

  • Unnecessary restrictive regulations will be lessened on the incumbent telephone companies;

  • The regional Bell companies will be able to provide long-distance data communications if such freedom would substantially reduce the cost of delivering high-speed Internet connections to consumers.

If adopted by the FCC, the principles of this proposal to which the computing companies and local telephone companies have agreed would represent a major step forward for a faster Internet available to the mass market, according to Compaq's Schrock. He added that the principles will promote the deployment of new services while also promoting competition in the telephone market.

"And the American consumer will benefit through faster, lower-cost access to the Internet," Schrock said.


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