US (country regulation overview)

Date: March 23, 2010
Pages: 20
US$ 1,495.00
Publisher: Ovum
Report type: Strategic Report
Delivery: E-mail Delivery (PDF)

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US (country regulation overview)
The US telecoms market is one of the most deregulated in the world. Nevertheless, there are key differences between the regulatory landscapes in Europe and the US in terms of NGA and functional separation, due to the different market structures. The US regulator, the FCC, currently feels there is no need to introduce regulatory interventions at the access level because of end-to-end infrastructure competition between the telecoms incumbents and cable operators. Therefore, fibre access is not included in the unbundling obligation imposed by the FCC. This regulatory approach gives an incentive to incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) to upgrade their local networks, because once incumbent operators have upgraded their access networks to NGA, they are no longer obliged to offer access to other operators,

The net neutrality debate began in the US. Since the new leadership at the FCC (headed by the Democratic Chairman, Julius Genachowski) was established in 2009, the FCC has attempted to enshrine net neutrality principles in law, triggering debates on net neutrality around the world. Nevertheless, the variety of comments received as part of the FCC’s consultation process on the subject highlighted the great disagreements which exist among stakeholders, creating uncertainty about net neutrality for the time being.

The US mobile market is fragmented, partly as a legacy of the process for allocating the first personal communications services (PCS) licenses, but is still dominated by four major operators. The need for additional spectrum is being driven by customers' bandwidth demands, particularly for mobile broadband services, which are growing significantly.
Ovum view
Fixed market overview
Mobile market overview
Airtime usage
National regulatory authority
National competition authorities
Key legislation and regulation
Title 1
Title 4
Network neutrality
The FCC’s 2005 policy statement
The FCC’s 2009 policy statement
The debate continues
Internet policy
National broadband plan
Mobile licensing
Advanced wireless services licensing and 3G
700MHz spectrum auction
PCS licensing
Retail regulation
Retail regulation obligations
Wholesale fixed regulation
Services subject to regulation
Fixed number portability
Narrowband voice interconnection
Basis for setting charges: local communications
Basis for setting charges: long-distance communications
Interstate level
Intrastate level
Procedure for setting and reviewing charges: long-distance communications
Cost model for RIO
Wholesale access
Wholesale line rental
Local loop unbundling
Naked DSL
Wholesale broadband services
Bitstream access
Broadband over power line
Wireless broadband access
Wholesale mobile regulation
Services subject to regulation
Mobile number portability
Mobile termination charges
Competition cases
Comcast and the FCC dispute on net neutrality
Universal service
Universal service goals
Universal service funding
Who is eligible?
Fund administration


Table 1: 700MHz auction result, 2008
Table 2: Fixed sectors: services subject to regulation
Table 3: Mobile sector: services subject to regulation


Figure 1: M&A activity since the 1984 breakup of AT&T
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