This is ironic for several reasons
2. As FCC Chairman Martin stated
"This relief will enable AT&T to have the flexibility to further deploy its broadband services and fiber facilities without overly burdensome regulations," FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said in a statement. "The relief afforded to AT&T is consistent with and similar to the relief provided in Commission decisions regarding broadband services, packet switching and fiber facilities."
3. This allowed AT&T and the other ROBC's to invest in fiber and not have to share it with thier competitors. They have all invested in fiber, fiber-to-the-home specifically, in the names of U-verse and FiOS.
4. A few months later the RBOC's took away UNE anyway
5. As soon as that happened the RBOC's and the FCC signed the PSTN / POTS death notice. There would no longer be any investment in copper, but from 2003-2010 the RBOC's could continue to pull revenues out of the PSTN and POTS until their new fiber networks were sufficiently built out.
So, for those that did not see this coming and think that the AT&T request to the FCC is "news" you are totally lost. This is and has always been a plan.
What should have been negotiated for were the Rights Of Way that the RBOC's have had since the 1800's and not the copper facilities that are now being retired. The RBOC's argued that copper and fiber are different media types and carry different technologies and therefore require separate investment. This is correct. Without the protection of relief of sharing with competitors the RBOC's would not make the investment in fiber because there would not be a reasonable return for their investors/shareholders. That is a fair argument.
Hopefully the FCC is looking out for all of us and keeps the communications network "franchise" at the license and Right of Way level. That is the ultimate trump card to play in order to get fair and open access once the RBOC's have finished making all of their investments in the new fiber infrastructure in the US.
With the unobstructed ability to invest in fiber to the home the RBOC's will also have the best wireless service coverage. Yes it is true, fiber and wireless compliment each other and wireless actually does not work at the high broadband speeds and densities without it. FTTH was actually not just for movies in the home, but for FTTT for mobile cell arrays (LTE) on the "telephone poles" in every neighborhood. The RBOC's will rule in the home and out.
Now the only thing they'll need is the new long haul fiber to tie all of their markets together, but for that they will only need a dozen pairs of fiber or so each.