The Battle Behind the Scenes

by Tony Thomas
June 14, 2018

Let’s face it, most of us don’t pay that much attention to what the FCC is doing. They deal in the realms of complex technology policy issues that just don’t seem all that relevant – until they are. There’s an issue before the FCC right now that the biggest telecoms are completely happy to keep ‘under wraps,’ and while that suits them, it has serious consequences for consumers, enterprises and fellow telecom providers like Windstream if their position is adopted. In short, they want the FCC to give incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) a pass when it comes to their obligation to provide unbundled network elements, or UNEs, to competitors at wholesale prices. The result is higher prices being charged for the UNEs that ultimately will be passed on to the end-user customer.

As an ILEC ourselves, it may seem odd to see Windstream on the opposing side of this argument. We’re subject to the same rules as the policy change proponents and are obligated to provide UNEs to companies who want to purchase them from us. The difference is that Windstream sees competition as one of the biggest and most effective drivers of positive change in our industry. The current policy enacted in 1996 has enabled competitors and ILECs alike to make investments in the country’s network and technology infrastructure. These investments have led to the incredible innovations and dramatic growth we’ve seen in the past 20 years since the Act was passed. In many cases, these advances mean more cost-effective solutions as technology gets ‘smarter,’ helping end-users do more with less and more simply. While it’s true that competition isn’t for everyone, Windstream stands firm in the belief that if it means more of what we’ve seen so far, we’re happy to be on the side of ensuring that the market is ready to offer customers more and better choices to meet their telecommunication needs. For more on this, click here.