Federal Internet Law & Policy
An Educational Project

Broadband :: DSL

Dont be a FOOL; The Law is Not DIY
- Broadband
- Sec. 706
- Stimulus Plan
- Natl BB Map
- FCC Natl Broadband Plan
- Dial Up
- - Naked DSL
- - Net over Wireline (Info Service)
- - UNE
- Cable
- - Open Access
- Fiber
- Wireless
- - 3G
- - Wifi
- - WiMax
- - 700 Mhz
- Powerline
- Satellite
- Muni Broadband
- Telecom Services
- Computer Inquiries
- Network Neutrality
- Forbearance
- Backbones
- Layers
- Interconnection
- - Negotiation
- Reciprocal Comp
- Mergers
- Federal Advisory Committees
- Universal Service
- Statistics: Broadband

"DSL is a modem technology that converts existing copper telephone lines into two-way high speed data conduits. Speeds can depend on the condition of the telephone wire and the distance between the home and the telephone company’s central office (i.e., the building that houses telephone switching equipment). Because ADSL uses frequencies much higher than those used for voice communication, both voice and data can be sent over the same telephone line. Thus, customers can talk on their telephone while they are online, and voice service will continue even if the ADSL service goes down. Like cable broadband technology, an ADSL line is “always on” with no dial-up required. Unlike cable, however, ADSL has the advantage of being unshared between the customer and the central office. Thus, data transmission speeds will not necessarily decrease during periods of heavy local Internet use. A disadvantage relative to cable is that ADSL deployment is constrained by the distance between the subscriber and the central office. ADSL technology over a copper wire only works within 18,000 feet (about three miles) of a central office facility. However, DSL providers are deploying technology to further increase deployment range. One option is to install “remote terminals” which can serve areas farther than three miles from the central office." - Broadband Internet Regulation and Access: Background and Issues, CRS p. 2 Jan. 26, 2006 OpenCRS ; Broadband Internet Regulation and Access: Backbround Issues, CRS Report for Congress, Nov. 21, 2008 (copy acquired through wikileaks)

Major regulatory issues related to DSL includes Internet over DSL (whether other ISPs get access), UNEs and Line Sharing, CLECs, Mergers, and Broadband Adoption.

Copper Retirement

Broadband Plan Recommendations


"On January 18, 2007, XO Communications, LLC; Covad Communications Group, Inc.; NuVox Communications; and Eschelon Telecom, Inc. filed a Petition for Rulemaking requesting that the Commission initiate a rulemaking to amend certain sections of its Part 51 rules applicable to the retirement of copper loops and copper subloops by the incumbent LECs. The petition argues that current copper loop retirement rules do not adequately safeguard against discriminatory and anticompetitive modifications to incumbent LEC networks, and allow incumbent LECs to eliminate network alternatives that might otherwise prove essential for network redundancy in times of homeland security crises and natural disasters. The Petitioners requested that the Commission consider the two petitions in a consolidated proceeding.

See Policies and Rules Governing Retirement of Copper Loops by Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers, BridgeCom International et al. Petition for Rulemaking and Clarification (filed Jan. 18, 2007).

See Petition of XO Communications, LLC, Covad Communications Group, Inc., NuVox Communications and Eschelon Telecom, Inc. for a Rulemaking to Amend Certain Part 51 Rules Applicable to Incumbent LEC Retirement of Copper Loops and Copper Subloops (filed Jan. 18, 2007).

See Letter from Brad E. Mutschelknaus et al. , Counsel for XO Communications, and Andrew D. Lipman et al. , Counsel for BridgeCom International, Inc., to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC (dated Jan. 18, 2007).

According to new reports, the CLECs are objecting specifically that Verizon is retiring the copper line when it installs FiOS fiber to the home. See Digital Future of the United States: Part VI: The Future of Telecommunications Competition Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet Hearing 9:30 a.m. in room 2123 Rayburn House Office Building, Witness List (Thomas Tauke, VP from Verizon, testified - Verizon does not remove the copper line from homes, Verizon sometimes removes the copper line but only removes it from the residence to the poll, when Verizon removes the copper line it is just for asthetic reasons, the line is still available and will be reinstalled on a UNE basis upon request, there is no cost to reinstall the line)
  • Petition of XO Communications, LLC., Covad Communications Group, Inc., NuVox Communications and Eschelon Telecom, Inc. for a Rulemaking to Amend Certain Part 51 Rules Applicable to Incumbent LEC Retirement of Copper Loops and Copper Subloops (filed January 18, 2007)
  • Regulatory Proceedings


    SBC 271 Approval Arkansas and Missouri

    SBC now Approved to Provide Long Distance Service in its Original Five-State Region Press Release Nov 16, 2001

    Separate Statement Of Commissioner Kathleen Q. Abernathy

    I fully support the Commission's order and write separately to comment on the difficult and complex questions regarding SBC's resale obligations in the context of its provision of DSL-related services. The Commission appropriately concludes in the foregoing order that, because we have never held that an incumbent LEC's DSL Internet access service -- as opposed to a distinct end-user DSL transport service -- is subject to section 251(c)(4), we cannot find that SBC is in violation of checklist item 14. Whether SBC's DSL Internet access service is subject to section 251(c)(4) turns on whether the provision of  that service entails the provision of a "telecommunications service . . . at retail." (1) The Commission has prudently declined to reach a definitive conclusion on this issue in this adjudicatory proceeding, in light of the 90-day statutory deadline for decision and the fact that our ultimate resolution of this issue likely will have significant implications in other regulatory contexts. For example, our analysis of this question likely will affect our classification of advanced services provided by cable operators and other facilities-based Internet service providers; it also could affect our administration of the federal universal service mechanisms, since carriers contribute based on their end-user revenues from telecommunications services, but not information services. I look forward to addressing the appropriate regulatory treatment of incumbent LECs' DSL-based Internet access services in a separate rulemaking proceeding, in which we can thoroughly explore this complex issue based on comments from a broad range of parties.
    . . . . . .

    Separate Statement Of Commissioner Michael J. Copps, Concurring

    My major concern in this application is whether SBC has complied with an important checklist requirement - the obligation to ensure that telecommunications services are made available for resale. More precisely, the issue concerns whether SBC has met its obligation to make its DSL services available for resale. The majority concludes that our precedent is not adequately clear. While I believe it would have been preferable to resolve these issues here, I believe that a separate proceeding with a full record can clarify the situation and provide relatively prompt redress if the facts indicate the need for remedy. . . . I am seriously troubled that, for small business and residential customers, SBC does not make available for resale pursuant to section 251(c)(4) any DSL service offerings. SBC currently offers two types of broadband DSL services. First, SBC sells directly to large businesses. These services are retail offerings, and SBC makes them available at a wholesale discount to competitors wishing to resell them. For small businesses and residential customers, however, SBC generally provides DSL services only to its own Internet provider and to unaffiliated Internet providers. Citing the AOL Bulk Services Order, SBC claims that it is not providing DSL at retail, thus triggering no obligations under section 251(c)(4). Yet, a strong argument can be made that the AOL Bulk Services Order was premised on the expectation that there would be a retail offering from which discounts would be calculated.
    . . . . .

    Separate Statement Of Commissioner Kevin J. Martin

    I am pleased that the local exchange markets in Arkansas and Missouri are open to competition and that SBC will be permitted to compete for long distance service in those states. I am writing separately on the narrow issue of the high-speed Internet access service offered by SBIS. Some commenters argue that this service is available to end users "at retail," and that therefore SBC must make the underlying DSL transport component available to competitive LECs pursuant to section 251(c)(4). SBC argues that this service is not subject to section 251(c)(4) because (1) this is an information service, not a "telecommunications service;" and (2) DSL transport is merely a component of the overall information service, and is not separately offered "at retail." Accordingly, SBC argues that the obligations of section 251(c)(4), which are triggered only by services that are "telecommunications services" provided "at retail," simply cannot apply.

    Section 251(c)(4) imposes on incumbent LECs the duty "to offer for resale at wholesale rates any telecommunications service that the carrier provides at retail to subscribers who are not telecommunications carriers." As today's order states, SBIS is offering a "high-speed Internet access service." The Commission has definitively concluded that "Internet access services are appropriately classed as information, rather than telecommunications, services."1 Moreover, the Commission has concluded that "the categories of 'telecommunications service' and 'information service' in the 1996 Act are mutually exclusive."2 While the Commission may ultimately address this issue in more detail, those who argue that this high-speed Internet access service provided to end users should be subject to section 251(c)(4) must show how, in light of the precedent described above, this is a  "telecommunications service" being offered "at retail."

    Bell Atlantic DSL Tariff

  • FCC Tariff webpage (look under Bell Atlantic)
  • Daily Digest June 3, 1999.  BELL ATLANTIC. Suspended for five months from the effective date and instituted an investigation into the language filed under Bell Atlantic Transmittal No. 1138. Ordered Bell Atlantic to file tariff revisions within five business days of the release of this Order to reflect this suspension. Dkt No.: CC- 99-201. Action by Chief, Competitive Pricing Division. Adopted: June 2, 1999. by Partial Susp. Ord. (DA No. 99-1060). CCB
  • Daily Digest FCC ADOPTS RULES APPLICABLE TO THE SALE OF HIGH-SPEED INTERNET SERVICES. News Media contact: Mike Balmoris 0253; Common Carrier Bureau contact: Staci Pies 1580. Report No: CC 99-51. Dkt No.: CC- 98-147, CC- 99-201. (FCC No. 99-330, 331) CCB.  Press Release
  • Washington, D.C. - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took action today to promote the availability of broadband Internet access for residential and small business users.  In the Order, the Commission clarified that digital subscriber line services (xDSL) used to provide high-speed Internet service are not subject to the discounted resale obligations of the 1996 Telecommunications Act when sold in bulk to Internet Service Providers (ISPs).  The discounted resale obligations require ILECs to offer their retail telecommunications services to resellers at wholesale rates.
  • This action terminated the parallel investigation of the BA DSL tariff.
  • In the Matters of Deployment of Wireline Services Offering Advanced Telecommunications Capability CC Docket No. 98-147 SECOND REPORT AND ORDER November 9, 1999 | txt | wp |
  • In the Matter of Bell Atlantic, Revisions to Tariff FCC No. 1, Revisions to Tariff FCC No. 11, CC Docket No. 99-201 Transmittal No. 1138, Order Terminating Investigation, Released: November 10, 1999 | word |
  • Letter of CIX (June 4, 1999)
  • Petition of CIX (May 26, 1999)
  • Comments of the ISPC (Oct 15, 1998) pdf

  • ADSL Cuts Have Far Reaching Implications, Techweb May 1999

    GTE DSL Tarriff

  • GTE TELEPHONE OPERATORS. Designated for investigation under Section 204(a) of the Communications Act the question of whether GTE's DSL service offering constitutes an interstate access service, and is subject to the Commission's jurisdiction. Dkt No.: CC- 98-79. Action by Bureau Chief. Adopted: August 20, 1998. by Order. (DA No. 98-1667). CCB.
  • Public Notice:  Pleading Cycle Established for Petitions of MCI/Worldcom and National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (Naruc) for Reconsideration of GTE DSL Order.   (DA No. 98-2502).  Dkt No.:  CC-98-79.  Contact: Harold Watson or Dana Bradsford:  1520, 0484.    Released: December 4, 1998.
  • Comments Due:  January 5, 1999;
  • Reply Comments Due:  January 19, 1999.
  • In Re GTE Telephone Operators GTOC Tariff No. 1 GTE Transmittal No. 1148, MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER, CC Docket No. 98-79 (February 26, 1999) ("MCI WorldCom, Inc. (MCI WorldCom) has filed a petition for reconsideration of our order concluding our investigation of GTE Telephone Operating Cos.' GTOC Transmittal No. 1148.  In addition, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) filed a request for clarification and/or reconsideration of the GTE DSL Order.  In this Memorandum Opinion and Order, we deny both the petition for reconsideration filed by MCI WorldCom and the request for clarification and/or reconsideration filed by NARUC.").
  • FCC Tariff Decision May Increase Federal Regulation of the Internet, Boardwatch (May 1999)
  • Daily Digest:  BELL ATLANTIC, BELLSOUTH, GTE SYSTEM TELEPHONE COMPANIES, AND PACIFIC BELL.  Concluded the FCC investigation of new access offerings filed by Bell Atlantic, Bellsouth, GTE System Telephone Companies, and Pacific Bell, establishing Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line service (ADSL).  Found that these offerings are interstate services and are properly tariffed at the federal level.  In addition, rejected the argument that the possibility of a price squeeze warrants the Commission's transfer to the states of its ratemaking authority with respect to interstate Digital Subscriber Line services such as those at issue in this proceeding.  Action by the Commission.  Adopted: November 30, 1998.  by MO&O.  (FCC No. 98-317).  CCB  [ Text | WordPerfect | Acrobat ]
  • In Re GTE Telephone Operators GTOC Tariff No. 1 GTE Transmittal  No. 1148, Memorandum Opinion And Order, CC Docket  No. 98-79 (October 30, 1998)  ("In this Order, we conclude our investigation of a new access offering filed by GTE that GTE calls its DSL Solutions-ADSL Service ("ADSL service").  We find that this offering, which permits Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to provide their end user customers with high-speed access to the Internet, is an interstate service and is properly tariffed at the federal level...") [Text | WordPerfect | Adobe]
  • In Re GTE Telephone Operators GTOC Tariff No. 1 GTE Transmittal No. 1148, Order, CC Docket No. 98-79 (September 11, 1998) [Text | WordPerfect | Adobe] (order suspending tariff for one day and setting it aside for investigation).
  • In Re GTE Telephone Operators GTOC Tariff No. 1 GTE Transmittal No. 1148, ORDER DESIGNATING ISSUES FOR INVESTIGATION, CC Docket No. 98-79 (August 20, 1998).
  • Naruc has reportedly adopted a resolution asking for reconsideration of the GTE DSL order.  11/12/98.
  • GTE's Direct Case Due September 3, 1998. September 8, 1998. See Daily Digest, Sept. 4, 1998 (for deadline extension).
  • Pleadings responding to the direct case may be filed no later than September 14, 1998September 18, 1998, and must be captioned "Oppositions to Direct Case" or "Comments on Direct Case." See Daily Digest, Sept. 4, 1998 (for deadline extension).
  • GTE may file a "Rebuttal" to oppositions or comments no later than September 21, 1998. September 23, 1998 See Daily Digest, Sept. 4, 1998 (for deadline extension).
  • Daily Digest (Sept 24) ERRATA - GTE SYSTEM TELEPHONE COMPANIES/GSTC TARIFF FCC NO. 1/GSTC TRANSMITTAL NO. 260. In the Matter of GTE systems Telephone Companies, GSTC Tariff FCC Nol 1, GSTC Transmittal No. 260, CC Docket No. 98-167. Amended Order Suspending Tariff and Designating Issues for Investigation released September 11. 1998. Action by Chief, Competitive Pricing Division, Common Carrier Bureau. Adopted: September 23, 1998. by Errata. (DA No. 98-1838). CCB
  • Communications Daily (Sept 8) is also reporting that the "FCC also designated Pacific Bell's new DSL tariff for investigation on same jurisdictional question."
  • CIX's Petition to request that the Commission reject or, in the alternative, suspend and investigate the Pacific Bell Telephone Company Tariff No. 128, Transmittal No. 1986 to establish a new offering, Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line ("PacBell ADSL Tariff") (June 22, 1998).
  • ISP/C Comments (September 18, 1998)
  • See ITP's Reciprocal Compensation Page
  • CIX's Petition to request that the Commission investigate, suspend, and reject the GTOC Tariff No. 1, Transmittal No. 1148 to establish a new offering, GTE DSL Solutions-ADSL Service ("GTE ADSL Tariff") (May 22, 1998).
  • ISP/C Comments (September 18, 1998)

  • NTIA Letter:  Tariffing of Digital Subscriber Line Services, CC Docket Nos. 98-79, 98-103, 98-161, and 98-165 (undated).



    Type Up Down Standard Comment
    ADSL Full 640 kbps 6.144 mbps ANSI T1.413
    ITU-T G.992.1
    ADSL Lite 512 kbps 1.536 mbps ITU G.922.1 splitterless
    ADSL2 800 kbps 8 mbps ITU-T G.992.3
    ADSL Lite 2 512 kbps 1.536 mbps ITU G.992.4 splitterless
    ADSL2+ 800 kbps 16 mbps ITU-T G.992.5
    VDSL 26 mbps
    6 mbps
    26 mbps
    52 mbps
    ANSI T1E1.4
    ITU G.993.1
    HDSL 1.544 mbps ITU-T G.991.1
    HDSL2 1.544 mbps ANSI T1.418
    SHDSL 2.312 mbps ITU-T G.911.2
    ANSI T1.422

    Distance limitations 12,000 feet.

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